Accidents

Accidents can happen anywhere and can have devastating results. Even people just standing on the sidewalk can be knocked down and see their lives changed forever.
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Although an injury or death wasn’t intended, people and businesses may be legally responsible to accident victims. If another person or corporation is responsible for an accident that hurt or killed someone, Weitz & Luxenberg may be able to help you obtain compensation.

For example, airline passengers can receive compensation for injuries received during air travel and the air carrier doesn’t always have to be proven negligent.

When someone experiences a traumatic brain injury in an accident, he or she may need financial help to cope with medical and living needs.

Weitz & Luxenberg’s expert airline law attorney obtained a major settlement for a woman who was injured when a suitcase fell from an overhead bin in an airplane and hit her on the head. The firm also secured millions for a man who fell from an apartment building’s second-story walkway. 

Workplace

Thousands of workers are killed on the job every year — about 13 people a day in 2015, according to federal government statistics. That year, the government calculated 3.38 fatal work injuries for every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration keeps records of all reported on-the-job deaths. Some examples from 2016:

  • A worker clearing debris at a nursery in Louisiana was fatally stung by wasp.
  • A worker was killed in Buffalo, N.Y., when he was crushed by a falling crane boom.
  • A worker in Washington was struck and killed by a train when he was driving a truck over the tracks.
  • In Georgia, a worker installing an air conditioning unit fell through the roof and died.
  • A convenience store employee in Dallas was shot to death in a robbery.

Most fatal injuries at work involved transportation: 1,264 deaths in 2015, or 26% of all fatal work injuries. About half of these involved a semi, tractor-trailer or tanker truck. Another 703 people died in incidents of violence or other injuries caused by people or animals. There were 417 workplace homicides. Workers were fatally struck by an object or equipment 519 times.

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Workplace deaths can be caused in a myriad of ways, some very unexpected. For example, between 2003 and 2010, 83 people died on the job in incidents involving insects, arachnids, and mites. Most of these — 52 — were from bee stings. Four people were killed on the job in that timeframe in incidents involving ants and seven died from spider bites. Insects, arachnids, and mites are involved in thousands of workplace incidents every year that caused workers to miss days on the job.

Occupations with high numbers of on-the-job fatalities included manufacturing, construction, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters, as well as transportation and material moving, farming, fishing, and forestry. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction workers also experienced relatively high numbers of fatalities, with 120 deaths on the job in 2015.

Shopping

Supermarkets and malls can be hazardous to the public, and accidental injuries and even deaths can happen in those establishments if the proprietors aren’t careful in making their stores safe for customers.

Although no government agency tracks retail accidents involving the visiting public, there have been well-publicized incidents that demonstrate the dangers.

Accidents can happen in supermarkets and malls making them hazardous to the public.

In one eight-month period, for example, eight people were killed in Home Depot stores, demonstrating what ABC News described as the dangers of big-box stores, which stack merchandise high on shelves. In one instance, a 79-year-old woman was killed when a forklift operator knocked a heavy box off a high shelf, and the box struck the woman.

Even grocery store shopping carts pose a substantial hazard to children. One study found that more than 24,000 children younger than 15 were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2005 for injuries related to shopping carts, with 4% of those emergency room visits requiring hospital admissions. The vast majority of those children — 85% — were younger than five. Falls are the most common reason for these injuries, with carts tipping over being the second most common. The hospitalizations were most commonly for fractures. The majority of the accidents happened inside stores, but 16% were in parking lots.

An article in the Professional Safety journal of the American Society of Safety Engineers estimated that six million injuries happened in 2011 as the result of falls that occurred outside of homes and the workplace. The author said that statistics support enhanced safety measures in retail stores to address foreseeable injuries.

Among the recommendations:

  • Eliminate wheel stops, curbs, and speed bumps in parking lots where pedestrians will walk.
  • Promptly replace broken lights in the parking lot.
  • Inspect for and address trip hazards in parking lots, such as cracked pavement, potholes, and differences in elevation.
  • Promptly remove snow and ice, and apply sand and salt to make sure walking surfaces are safe.
  • Assign an employee during a storm to keep track of all driveways, parking lots, and walkways, checking at least hourly to make sure the surfaces are clear.
  • Make sure the walkway inside the store is slip-resistant or at least, kept dry.
  • Continuously inspect floors, particularly in areas where liquids are likely to spill — such as florists, self-service salad bars, self-service produce areas, and self-service ice dispensers — to ensure they are slip-resistant.
  • Create guidelines to ensure stacked items are safe. For example, anything over five pounds should be placed at waist height or below. Display items above the reach of customers should be secured in place. Shelves and floor displays should be tested for stability.
  • Floor displays should not reduce the width of aisles to less than required by building and fire safety codes. Floor displays must be taller than 24 inches to avoid becoming trip hazards.

Highways

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 96 people dies every day — one person every 15 minutes — in motor vehicle crashes.

In total, more than 35,000 people died and more than 2.4 million were injured in crashes in 2015, a 7.2% increase in fatalities and 4.5% increase in injuries over the previous year.

When you travel on any highway, you are trusting people you don’t know to exercise the same caution as you do so that everyone arrives safely at their destinations. But that trust isn’t always rewarded.

Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for children age 10 and for people aged 16 to 23 in 2015.

When you travel on any highway, you are trusting people you don’t know to exercise the same caution as you do so that everyone arrives safely at their destinations. But that trust isn’t always rewarded.

According to federal government figures, more than 4,000 people were killed and 116,000 injured in crashes involving large trucks in the United States in 2015. Most of those killed — 74% — were in vehicles other than the large trucks. Just 16% were in the trucks, while the rest were pedestrians and cyclists.

Although large trucks made up 4% of all registered vehicles, they accounted for 8% of vehicles involved in fatal crashes. They were involved in 9% of total vehicle miles traveled. Large truck drivers involved in fatal crashes were far less likely to have alcohol in their system than drivers of other vehicles involved in fatal crashes.

On the other end, motorcyclists make up 14% of fatalities, up from 11% a decade ago.

The federal government estimates motor vehicle crashes cost $242 billion in lost productivity, workplace losses, legal and court expenses, medical costs, emergency medical services, insurance administration,  congestion, and property damage.

Speeding contributed the most to that cost estimate at $52 billion, followed by alcohol impairment at $44 billion.

More fatal crashes — 48% — happened in rural areas than in urban areas, where 45% of fatal accidents happened. It’s estimated that 19% of the population lives in rural areas where 49% of traffic deaths happened.

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, December 16). Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm
  2. United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). Reports of fatalities and incidents for FY 2016. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/dep/fatcat/dep_fatcat.html
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, December 16). Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm
  4. Pegula, S. and Kato, A. (2014, August). Fatal injuries and nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving insects, arachnids, and mites. Retrieved from https://stats.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-3/fatal-injuries-and-nonfatal-occupational-injuries-and-illnesses-involving-insects-arachnids-and-mites.htm
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, December 16). Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm
  6. 20/20: Potential Hazards of Warehouse Stores. (2000, March 16). Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=124120&page=1
  7. Smith, G.A. (2006, August). Shopping Cart-Related Injuries to Children. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/2/e540
  8. Dodge, D. A. (n.d.). Best Practices. Mercantile Safety. Retrieved from http://www.asse.org/professional-safety/best-practices-0914/
  9. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2017, February). Traffic Safety Facts. Summary of Motor Vehicle Crashes (Early Edition) Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812376
  10. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2017, February). Traffic Safety Facts. Large Trucks. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812373
  11. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2017, February). Traffic Safety Facts. Summary of Motor Vehicle Crashes (Early Edition) Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812376
  12. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2017, April). Rural/Urban Comparison of Traffic Fatalities. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812393

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