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Flash fire leads to workers' compensation and 3rd-party claims

When an employee in New Jersey suffers serious occupational injuries or dies in a workplace accident, financial relief is available. Injured workers or surviving family members of those who lost their lives are entitled to claim benefits from the workers' compensation insurance program. However, if there is evidence of gross negligence by the employer or defective equipment, third party claims may be filed.

An example of such a case is playing out in another state after the June death of a 39-year-old worker at a car dealership. The deceased man's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in which the defendants include the employer and several manufacturers of equipment that allegedly malfunctioned and caused a flash fire. The employee was working with the equipment at the time, and he succumbed to his burn injuries on the day following the incident.

Court documents indicate that, although the products were used in a predictive manner, they lacked reasonable safety. The claim alleges that the equipment was unreasonably dangerous, and defects could harm the individual operating them. Further claims state that the defendants were aware, or should have been aware, of the hazards posed by the products. Two other workers also died from their injuries in the days following the flash fire.

Any New Jersey family who has lost a loved one under similar circumstances may pursue financial relief by filing a wrongful death claim in a civil court. At the same time, a benefits claim for workers' compensation can be filed. However, any workers' comp benefits may have to be repaid if there is a monetary judgment entered in the civil lawsuit. Navigating both of these claims can be complicated and might be best accomplished by an attorney with experience in both fields of the law.

Source:, "Wrongful death lawsuit filed in deadly Carl Cannon flash fire", Carol Robinson, July. 12. 2017

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