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Oregon workers' compensation: Survivor benefits a possibility?

The Port of Tacoma in Oregon has seen what may appear to be an inordinate amount of worker deaths over the past few weeks. Not just one but two longshore workers have died in two separate accidents since March 12. Both men were evidently employed by the same company, Pacific Crane Maintenance Co. When fatal work accidents like this occur, surviving family members may discover that they can file for workers' compensation death benefits. It is not yet clear whether that will prove to be the case in these two accidents.

The first took place back on March 12, when a worker carrying out duties on a container crane at Pierce County Terminal was fatally injured. In the more recent incident, few specific details have been released. It was reported that a longshore worker died after the accident, which took place at approximately 8 a.m. on Monday, March 25.

Reports indicate that the man died in what was termed an "industrial accident," although no other specifics were detailed. What is known, however, is that the port will shut down operations for at least 24 hours. This is customary when longshore union workers suffer from a work-related death at Oregon ports. Investigations will be conducted into both the earlier accident, as well as the more recent death.

A workplace death can prove devastating for family members left behind, not just emotionally but also financially. Some may find themselves wondering how they will cover a loved one's final costs, such as funeral expenses. Others may be struggling financially to make ends meet without a loved one's income being contributed. This is one reason that Oregon law provides such surviving relatives the chance to claim workers' compensation death benefits in certain cases. No family should have to struggle to make ends meet while also mourning a loved one's on-the-job death.

Source: The Oregonian, "Port of Tacoma shuts down again after worker dies in accident," March 25, 2013

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