What happens if the cause of a Workers Death can not be determined?
Generally, the injured employee bears the burden of proving that the injury resulted from employment. But when an injury results in death and the cause of death can not be determined because it is unwitnessed, the burden of proof becomes difficult for a dependent. The most important witness to the accident, the deceased employee, is not available. In these mysterious death cases, there is a presumption or inference that the death resulted from employment.
In mysterious death cases, the applicant must at least produce prima-facie evidence that the death resulted from employment. If the cause of the employee’s death is unknown but the circumstances suggest an industrial relationship, the burden of proof shifts to the employer to prove that the death was not industrial.