New Government Report Finds 13 Workers Died Per Day in 2020
Construction Jobs Are the Most Dangerous Jobs in the U.S.
It is no surprise that workplace accidents are common. However, according to a recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the data is even more alarming than most realize. The BLS found that 4,764 American workers died in on-the-job accidents and other occupational hazards. That means about 13 people lose their lives in workplace accidents every day. While this is lower than in previous years, the figure still raises serious concerns when one considers that fewer people worked in 2020 due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BLS report also discusses some of the most common causes of fatal workplace accidents. For example, car accidents and other transportation incidents accounted for 1,778 fatalities, or a little more than a third of all work-related deaths. Additionally, more than 670 workers were killed after being exposed to harmful substances, which is the highest number of workplace fatalities since the BLS began tracking this data in 2011. Notably, the rate of worker deaths related to violence in the workplace actually decreased more than 16 percent from 2019 to 2020.
In terms of the riskiest professions, the BLS reports the following industries had the highest rates of fatal workplace accidents:
- Construction: 1,008 workplace fatalities
- Transportation and Warehousing: 805 workplace fatalities
- Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: 413 workplace fatalities
- Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting: 511 workplace fatalities
- Government Employment: 415 workplace fatalities
- Specialty Trade Contractors: 576 workplace fatalities
Can Families Recover Financially After Losing a Loved One in a South Carolina Workplace Accident?
In light of the recent report from the BLS, thousands of families are grieving the loss of a loved one killed in a workplace accident. For many families, it is unclear what their options are after a fatal job-related accident. However, it is imperative that families familiarize themselves with their options, because there is limited time to pursue a claim.
Families who lost a loved one in a workplace accident can pursue two distinct claims, although both may not be available in every situation. The first is a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation system is intended to provide injured workers and grieving families with an efficient way to obtain limited benefits after a workplace accident. To successfully bring a workers’ compensation claim, a family does not need to prove that anyone else was at fault for the accident leading to their loved one’s death; it is enough to show that the accident was related to their loved one’s employment.
However, the benefits available through a workers’ compensation claim are limited to the following:
- Medical benefits, which cover all healthcare expenses related to the accident; and
- A portion of the workers’ lost wages; and
- Burial expenses.
Thus, while a workers’ compensation claim is easier to prove and often results in a quicker recovery, the damages are limited. A grieving family’s other option is to pursue a wrongful death claim. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, wrongful death cases require a family to establish that someone else’s negligence led to their loved one’s death.
Additionally, under South Carolina law, the general rule is that a family cannot bring a wrongful death claim against their loved one’s employer, because a workers’ compensation claim is seen as their sole remedy. However, if a third-party was involved in or caused the death, the family may be able to pursue them in a wrongful death claim. For example, if your family member was killed in a South Carolina car accident while on the job, you could pursue a third-party wrongful death claim against the negligent driver.
While personal injury cases are more difficult to prove, they also open the door to more significant compensation. Most notably, a family can recover both the economic and non-economic damages stemming from their loss, which includes compensation for their pain and suffering.
Families who lost a loved one in a 2020 workplace accident should quickly consult with a personal injury or workers’ compensation attorney, because there are limited timeframes in which they can bring a case.
Speak to an Experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer About Your Case Today
If you tragically lost a loved one in a South Carolina workplace accident, contact the Steinberg Law Firm to learn more about your rights and options. At the Steinberg Law Firm, we have more than 90 years of experience aggressively pursuing full and fair compensation for our many clients. Over the past ten years, we’ve recovered more than $500 million for our clients and their families. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call the Steinberg Law Firm today at 843-720-2800. You can also contact us through our online contact form.