Trenches are some of the most hazardous places to work. A significant number of workers’ compensation claims in New Jersey and elsewhere follow injuries or fatalities that involve cave-ins. The husband of a pregnant woman in New Jersey recently lost his life when a trench in which he was working collapsed.
The fire department and medical examiner of Jersey City were called to the scene, which is a parking lot where workers were busy with excavating a trench as part of a water line replacement project. Reportedly, the emergency call for first responders was received at about 9:30 a.m. on a recent Thursday. Firefighters arrived to find a 35-year-old worker trapped in the collapsed trench.
Rescuers say mud, debris and dirt were up to the chest of the trapped worker. Firefighters had to secure the trench walls to prevent further cave-ins that could threaten more lives during the rescue. The process to free the trapped worker took about five hours, by which time the victim had succumbed to his injuries, and the rescue attempt changed into a recovery operation instead.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates the cause of the trench collapse, the surviving family of the deceased worker may pursue death benefits through the state-regulated workers’ compensation insurance program. The prospect might seem daunting, but it could be simplified by the support and guidance of an attorney who is experienced in dealing with workers’ compensation claims in New Jersey. Survivors’ benefits typically include compensation to cover the costs of a funeral and burial, along with a wage replacement package to cover daily expenses and other financial obligations.