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Workers' compensation possible after California worker killed

When skiers take to the slopes in California, they do so with the expectation of having fun while getting some exercise, but many may be unaware of the effort that goes into ensuring that slopes are safe. Unfortunately, one man recently lost his life while attempting to make the slopes safer for skiers. To help ease the financial burden potentially created by his death, his family will likely qualify for workers' compensation insurance benefits.

The incident occurred one morning in January, before the slopes were opened for the day. A 42-year-year-old man was working with another employee as they performed avalanche control activities. The team was detonating explosives to release avalanches before skiers accessed the slopes.

While the details of the fatal accident are unclear, the man died in an explosion. At the time of his death, he had an unknown amount of charges containing ammonium nitrate in his possession. Workers attempting to retrieve his body also had to ensure that the undetonated charges were also retrieved, making the operation lengthy. Multiple agencies responded to the incident, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and local police and fire departments.

The man reportedly leaves behind a wife and child, and while the community has rallied around them, initiating a fundraiser on their behalf, the financial consequences that follow an unexpected death are often overwhelming. Because of this, California requires that employers provide workers' compensation insurance benefits for their employees. In the event of a fatality such as this, these benefits can extend to certain family members. When grieving loved ones have less stress regarding how they will pay their bills, they can fully focus on their emotional recovery. An attorney with experience with the process can help these family members seek fair compensation.

Source: rgj.com, "Squaw Valley ski patroller called 'best of the best' killed in explosion", Benjamin Spillman, Jan. 24, 2017

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