Claiming workers' compensation after an on-the-job death

An Oklahoma man was found dead at work from what were officially deemed unknown causes. Even though the authorities promised the man's wife that they would find out why her husband died, she is still waiting for the answer. Workers' compensation death benefits are typically applicable when an on-the-job accident or an illness suffered at work results in a fatality. Without a finding specifying the cause of death, the task of claiming benefits may be more difficult.

The oil industry truck driver was found dead at an oil well tank hatch. Authorities have surmised that a sudden blast of toxic fumes may have caused his death. When representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration examined the oil field, it was determined that the safety practices were unacceptable.

Crude oil typically gives off certain vapors, particularly shale oil. There have been other deaths related to crude oil vapors, which are sometimes released with force from a hatch. These vapors are capable of disrupting the rhythm of the heart or causing asphyxiation. When the details and circumstances of a work accident are murky, as they are in this case, common sense dictates that legal counsel be consulted. A lawyer can assess whether a valid claim exists and can gather the documentation and evidence needed. 

When a person dies while at work, the victim's spouse and children may be eligible for certain benefits through workers' compensation insurance. However, it can sometimes be difficult to claim deserved benefits for various reasons. The insurance system can be complicated and intimidating, but a successful claim is possible under circumstances similar to this case. An Oklahoma family does not have to face these difficult issues alone. 

Source:, "Okla. death shows lack of understanding of tank hazards", Mike Soraghan, Sept. 18, 2015

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