A recent accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike is an important reminder of the risks road maintenance workers face on the job. The accident, which occurred earlier this month, involved a tractor-trailer which struck and killed an equipment operator and left a maintenance former with minor injuries. The crew had apparently closed off one lane of the highway for maintenance, but this wasn’t enough to prevent the crash.

An investigation was conducted following the crash, but sources didn’t mention what conclusions had been reached with respect to liability. From the sounds of it, the truck driver was upset by the incident. The surviving injured worker may or may not be eligible for workers’ compensation, depending on whether or not he is an independent contractor or an employee. 

In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation death benefits are available to dependent survivors of deceased workers, except in cases where the death was self-inflicted or caused by violation of a law on the part of the employee.

Even though injured employees and the surviving dependants of deceased employees have the right to receive benefits, employers do not always cooperate. If an injured worker or surviving dependants of a worker do not receive what is due to them after contacting their employer or the employer’s insurance carrier, one can file a petition with the state. It can be helpful, when doing so, to work with an attorney experienced in dealing with workers’ compensation disputes. Doing so ensures that one’s interest will be well represented and that the best possible outcome results in the case.

Source: Daily Local News, “Worker killed, second injured on PA Turnpike,” Tom Kelly, June 1, 2014.Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, “Workers’ Compensation & the Injured Worker,” Accessed June 27, 2014.