Industrial accidents usually trigger eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits if the necessary conditions are met, but occasionally, such accidents can present significant complications to an injured worker or the family of a deceased worker. A recent death on the property of Progress Rail near the city limits of LaGrange is just such a case.
The details of the accident have not been disclosed, but the outlines are clear. The worker was an employee of Kato Engineering, a firm located in Mankato, Minnesota. According to a representative of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the worker was killed when he was struck by a “machine part.” Progress Rail manufactures railroad locomotives, and it uses many parts that are extremely heavy. Under Illinois workers’ compensation laws, the worker’s family is entitled to death benefits based upon the worker’s wages at the time if he was engaged in the duties of his employment and if his death was the result of his employment.
The case becomes complicated because the worker was employed by a firm located in Minnesota, not Progress Rail. A worker’s compensation claim can only be made by an employee against an employer. Thus, the dead worker’s family can only seek workers’ compensation benefits from Kato Engineering, not Progress Rail. However – and this is a very important “however” – the family may be able to recover damages from Progress if a Progress employee was at fault for the accident. A similar claim may be made against any other firm involved in liability for the workers’ death.
Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one under similar circumstances may need the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate the evidence and provide an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages beyond workers compensation benefit.