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Despite the growing list of U.S. Department of Labor mandates regarding the compulsory use of safety equipment in the workplace, American employees continue to suffer crippling injuries and worse.
In fact, the number of workplace fatalities recorded in 2014 increased by 5% from the previous year to more than 4,800 deaths in the United States, the largest tally in six years, the agency said.
In New York state, where the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg is based, there were 241 workplace fatalities in 2014, which ranked third nationally behind only Texas (531) and California (344).
Of course, not all work-related trauma results in death, but any employee who is injured or becomes ill as a result of employer negligence should immediately consult an attorney to consider his or her legal options.
As a nationally recognized personal injury law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg is dedicated to helping people who have been injured at work and assisting family members whose loved ones were killed on the job. Let our skilled attorneys help you get the compensation you deserve.
Nearly Three Million Injured in 2015
We examine every case carefully, ensuring all negligent parties — not just your direct employer — are held accountable for what they did or failed to do.
If a subcontractor at a construction site has an injured worker, for example, there may be opportunities to seek compensation from the property owner, general contractor, or even other subcontractors. Laws vary by state, so consult with our experienced attorneys to determine your options.
Weitz & Luxenberg has been fighting for the rights of injured and ailing workers since 1986 and has generated $17 billion in settlements and awards for clients across a variety of lawsuit types, including workplace-related cases.
Among other types of compensation, a civil lawsuit in many instances can result in payment to the injured parties for pain and suffering, medical bills, and losses in past and future wages, and may include punitive damages in instances where companies acted with reckless disregard for worker safety.
Despite multiple safeguards required by entities such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and labor laws of many states, injuries and deaths in the workplace show no signs of significantly slowing anytime soon.
There were 4,821 occupational fatalities in 2014. Statistics show:
- 41% died in transportation-related incidents.
- 17% died in falls, slips, and trips.
- 16% died from violent injuries caused by people or animals.
- 15% died from being struck by objects or equipment.
- 8% died from exposure to harmful substances or environments.
- 3% died in fires and explosions.
“More fatal work injuries resulted from transportation incidents than from any other event in 2014,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a report. “Roadway incidents alone accounted for nearly one out of every four fatal work injuries.”
The bureau said there were 660 fatal falls in 2014, up 11% from the year before. The height of the fall was known in 545 cases. Of those, roughly 66% were fatal falls from 20 feet or less.
According to the agency, there were 2.9 million nonfatal injuries reported in 2015, or approximately three injuries for every 100 full-time employees in the U.S. workforce.
In New York’s private-industry sector, more than 149,000 nonfatal workplace injuries or illnesses were reported in 2014, or roughly 2.5 cases for every 100 full-time workers, the Labor Department said.
Of those, 86,800 cases were considered severe, requiring days away from work, job transfers, or work restrictions.
Attorneys Maximize Benefits
Serious workplace injuries often are life-changing events that cost the injured party their accustomed quality of living for months, if not forever. While worker compensation payments can offset some of the lost wages while an employee is recovering from an injury, they usually do not begin to cover the true costs of a workplace mishap, especially in the event of serious physical issues.
Often, there are complications with insurance companies and employers when worker compensation claims are filed, underscoring the value of an experienced attorney who can help maximize the benefits to which the injured parties are entitled.
It doesn’t always take much for workers to become disabled, temporarily or permanently. While heavy industry accounts for many serious injuries related to lifting and moving freight and other items, sometimes injuries result from the smallest sources, like a slippery floor or wobbly ladder.
Possible work injuries include:
- Electric shocks
- Eye injury, including vision impairment or blindness
- Hearing impairment or loss
- Broken bones
- Skin diseases or disorders
- Respiratory conditions
- Knee and ankle injuries
- Neck, shoulder, or back injuries
- Falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds
- Trauma from falling or flying objects
- Wounds or amputations from being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between two or more objects, or between parts of an object
Sometimes, serious medical issues are directly related to improperly serviced equipment, breakdowns of machinery, and mistakes made by co-workers or customers.
The national injury and illness rate was highest at mid-sized companies employing between 50 and 249 workers — workplaces that account for tens of millions of jobs. Illnesses account for 4.8 of the cases reported across the U.S., though the Labor Department thinks that long-term illness numbers are under-reported.
Injured Workers Face Mounting Costs
Whatever the cause and whoever was at fault, the common thread is that those injured in the workplace should strongly consider seeking compensation for their injury, illness, and financial losses. Moreover, some workplace lawsuits also address the emotional issues created by an employer.
In some cases, successful workplace personal injury cases have helped injured or ailing employees recover compensation to help cover a broad spectrum of costs, including payment for past and future medical bills, medical devices, past and future lost income, expenses related to travel for medical purposes, debt or penalties accrued as a result of lost income or missed payments, pain and suffering, and any decrease in quality of life as a result of permanent injuries.
It’s important to understand that legal deadlines for filing cases, called statutes of limitation, vary from state to state and that time is sometimes a crucial element in pursuing compensation. Rest assured, the attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg can handle the legal research and wrangling while injured clients recover from their injury or illness. The firm handles the deadlines while clients concentrate on recovering.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Fatal occupational injuries by selected characteristics, 2003-2014. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/all_worker.pdf
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016). Number of fatal work injuries, 1992–2014. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0013.pdf
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, December 16). (2016, December 16). Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in New York – 2015. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/regions/new-york-new-jersey/news-release/workplaceinjuriesandillnesses_newyork.htm
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, October 27). Employer-Reported Workplace Injury and Illness Summary. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/osh.nr0.htm