My Brother was Killed While Working in a Coal Mine



My brother was killed in a coal mine. The machine he was running proved to be faulty.
The company that makes the machine and the company that was allowing the employees to use the machine both knew about this danger.
My brother’s wife has filed a suit against these companies. My siblings and I have also retained lawyers (our parents are dead). What I want to know is will we be entitled to any of the money awarded? And how will that be determined?
–A.R. of West Virginia


I am very sorry for the tragic death of your brother. He worked a dangerous occupation. I hope you succeed against the manufacturer of the machine.
I can only tell you about Illinois law. In a third-party Jury case against the manufacturer of the product, if the decedent, your brother, was married, then the wife would be entitled to the compensation as well as his kids. They are the “Next of Kin” under Illinois law. Hence, I do not believe you would be entitled to compensation. If he was not married, then the siblings, including you, and the parents, would be entitled to benefits.
Since you are represented by a lawyer, he is in the best position to answer that question. If you don’t have trust or confidence in your lawyer, then get a new one. The laws do vary from state to state. Again, I am only referring to Illinois law.
I hope you will be okay in light of this tragedy.