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Family of deceased man may qualify for workers' compensation

Fans in Illinois and across the country excitedly await the start of the college football season every year. When the time arrives, they don their team colors and head in droves to stadiums. As a result, many colleges continue to build and modify their stadiums in order to accommodate their growing fan base. Unfortunately, one man's family are likely more concerned about workers' compensation benefits after an accident at a construction site for a new football stadium took the life of their loved one.

The accident occurred in late January. A 55-year-old man and a coworker were strapped onto a piece of construction equipment on a barge as they worked on a pedestrian bridge that will lead to the stadium. As they worked, the equipment they were strapped onto fell into the river. Only one of the men was able to free himself.

Unfortunately, the other man died as a result of the accident. His body was recovered by divers approximately four hours later. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation, but has yet to release any findings. The man's family still has many questions regarding their loved one's death. Recently, a judge ordered that the construction company preserve any materials that could indicate what happened to the man or caused the accident, as well as allowing a representative for the family to inspect the site at Baylor University.

As a result of the workplace accident, the man's wife and two daughters are likely concerned about their financial future. While coping with their grief, they must also wonder about funeral expenses and the loss of the man's income. Most states, such as Illinois, require that employers provide workers' compensation coverage to their employees. These benefits generally extend to the worker's dependent family members in the event of a fatality. However, many people have found the path to compensation to be complicated and confusing and have sought assistance from those with experience in such matters.

Source: Waco-Tribune Herald, Baylor, contractors ordered to preserve evidence in fatal accident case, Tommy Witherspoon, Feb. 20, 2014

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