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Workers' compensation: Will it cover deceased circus performer?

When a life is lost in a Florida workplace, the surviving family members are typically entitled to seek financial relief. This is done by filing a workers' compensation death benefits claim. However, in some cases, such claims can be extremely complicated, especially if the deceased worker was employed by an entity from another state -- or even another country.

One such case may follow the death of a circus performer. Reportedly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into this fatality that occurred at a recent Cirque du Soleil performance. Police say an aerial artist who had been in the employ of the entertainment company for longer than 15 years fell a distance of 15 to 20 feet to the hard surface below.

Investigators will likely unearth more details, but until then, it is believed that the performer's hand slipped while he was suspended from two rings. The stage below had no padding, and there was no safety net. Authorities say the man was rushed to a Tampa hospital with neck injuries and head trauma to which he succumbed later. It will have to be determined whether protection should have been provided by the owners of the venue or his Canadian employers.

The deceased performer's surviving family members will have to cope with the high costs of end-of-life arrangements and also the loss of income. However, the legalities may be challenging to navigate. The most appropriate step for them might be to consult with an experienced attorney in Florida who deals with workers' compensation and personal injury. Such an attorney can assess the options and suggest the best way to proceed in pursuit of damage recovery.

Source: bna.com, "Cirque du Soleil Death in Florida Under Federal Investigation", Chris Marr, Bruce Rolfsen, March 19, 2018

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