In 2021, a worker died from a job-related injury every 101 minutes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released its annual "Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries," which contains troubling news – 5,190 workers lost their lives on the job in 2021. That's an increase of 8.9% from the year before and marks the highest fatal occupational injury rate since 2016.
"The data included in this report indicate workplaces have become less safe, and it is heartbreaking," said Lorraine M. Martin, the president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "Everyone deserves the chance to live their fullest life. This report shows our mission to save lives, from the workplace to anyplace, is critical, and NSC is committed to doing its part to curb this deadly trend and put an end to preventable workplace fatalities."
Some key takeaways
There were several key findings from the report:
- The fields of transportation and material moving saw the highest number of worker fatalities, with 1,523 deaths in 2021.
- Construction and extraction fields had the second most deaths, with 951.
- Fatalities in protective service occupations (such as police and firefighters) rose 31.9% to 302 from 229.
- Transportation accidents were the most frequent type of fatal event in 2021, accounting for 1,982 deaths.
- There were 464 deaths caused by unintentional overdose from nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol.
- The percentage of Black or African American workers among total fatalities rose from 11.4% in 2020 to 12.6% in 2021.
- Intentional injury deaths rose 21% for women and 9% for men, indicating workplace violence is still an issue.
- Suicides decreased 8.9% to 236, from 259 the year before.
The devastating impact of workplace deaths
When workers lose their lives as a result of a workplace accident, their loved ones are left devastated. Grief-stricken family members are left in mourning and need to figure out how to move forward with their lives after experiencing a profound loss. This can be even more difficult if their loved one was a provider.
Workers' compensation provides death benefits to family members. This includes payments to surviving spouses, children, and other dependents. It also includes reasonable burial expenses of up to $10,000.
If a third party, such as an independent contractor, was responsible for causing the death of a loved one, family members may be able to recover financial compensation. This includes compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
An experienced workers' comp lawyer can fight for you
But getting justice following the death of a loved one due to a workplace accident can be complicated. Employers and their insurance companies may dispute certain aspects of a death benefits claim. In some cases, they may even argue that a death was not from a work-related injury.
Negligent third parties may deny responsibility for what happened. Insurance companies may deny liability. Or they'll make a lowball settlement offer that doesn't come close to covering the damages a family suffered.
That's why getting legal advice from an experienced San Diego workers' compensation lawyer is important if you lost a loved one in a workplace accident. A lawyer can review the details of your loved one's accident, explain all of your legal options, and answer any questions you have.
At McLaughlin & Sanchez, our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience in workers' compensation law. We can help you navigate the legal process and recover the benefits and compensation you deserve. Learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Serving San Diego and all of Imperial County.