A California man has died in a horrific work place accident. According to reports, Jose Melena died after being cooked in an oven in an industrial accident at the Bumble Bee Foods plant in Whittier, California. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOsha) has launched an investigation into the circumstances of this work related accident.
Coroner’s documents describe the man as being fatally injured while being inside a “steamer machine.” How Melena ended up in the cooker is unknown.
The vice president of human resources at Bumble Bee Food sent his condolences, stating, “The entire Bumble Bee Foods family is saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Melena family.” “Operations at Bumble Bee Foods’ Santa Fe Springs processing plant have been suspended since yesterday morning to allow for a thorough investigation.”
Pursuant to OSHA policy, the investigation into the accident will take 6 months and will include many visits to the tuna-canning plant, extensive interviews and a review of company safety documentation. “Once all of the facts are gathered CalOsha will make a determination if any California health and safety regulations were violated.” A finding of violations would result in civil penalties assessed against the employer. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office will determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
For individuals injured in work place accidents and their families, several options exist for recovering compensation.
Depending on the circumstances, an injured party may file a California workers compensation claim or civil negligence lawsuit. Where an accident results in a fatality, it may be possible to bring a civil wrongful death lawsuit. California Workers’ Compensation laws allow for recovery without a trial and regardless of fault. This means that you or your dependents may recover benefits including:
- Medical costs – such as surgery, nursing care, hospital costs, dental work, crutches and orthopedic devices, hearing aids, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and prescribed medications
- Limited payments to replace lost income
- Vocational retraining
- Permanent disability compensation
- Death benefits
However, if you’ve incurred a serious personal injury, these benefits can easily be much lower than what you’d be entitled to under tort law. The laws concerning the type of recovery an individual or his or her family may recover can me confusing, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a Sacramento work related accident attorney if you have been injured at work.
In limited circumstances it may also be possible to bring a civil lawsuit. Filing a civil injury claim may allow you to recover significantly more in damages than provided under workers compensation laws.
A civil personal injury lawsuit may be filed where a “third party” [someone other than your employer] is responsible for your injuries. In these situations, it may be possible to recover typical tort law damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.
Work related accidents can be confusing, and the best approach to recovering the damages you deserve may not be clear. Contact an experienced Sacramento work place accident lawyer and personal injury lawyer at Sette Law Office right away if you’ve been hurt so we can get to work for you.