In 2013, 385 California workers lost their lives on the job. If you lose a loved one while that person is working in southern California, as difficult as it may be for you, it’s important to speak immediately with an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney. Your family may qualify to receive workers’ compensation death benefits. The California Supreme Court decided last month that the family of one injured worker who died from a prescription drug overdose will receive the workers’ compensation death benefits they need.
Brandon Clark, 36, was a carpenter for South Coast Framing, Inc., in Costa Mesa. According to court records, Clark fell from a roof while working in 2008 and suffered back, head, neck, and chest injuries. Clark’s workers’ comp physician prescribed Elavil, Neurontin, and Vicodin. When Clark developed anxiety and a sleeping disorder, his personal doctor prescribed Xanax and Ambien in January 2009. According to medical records, Clark died in July 2010 from the combined effects of the drugs.
Clark’s family filed for workers’ compensation death benefits. A workers’ compensation judge originally awarded benefits to the family because the workers’ comp prescriptions contributed to the death. However, South Coast Framing and its workers’ comp insurance carrier, Redwood Fire & Casualty Insurance Company, appealed the award to the California Fourth District Court of Appeal. In 2013, that appeal was successful, but the California Supreme Court unanimously overturned that ruling in May, and the family will finally now receive benefits.
Brandon Clark’s case is a lesson for all California families. Without representation from a good workers’ comp lawyer, survivors can lose the workers’ compensation benefits they need and deserve. If you or anyone you know needs to apply for workers’ compensation death benefits in California – now or in the future – or if you have any concerns or questions about workers’ compensation or about your eligibility for benefits, speak immediately with an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney.