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Transportation Accidents Were the Leading Causes of Worker Deaths in 2021

Transportation Accidents Were the Leading Causes of Worker Deaths in 2021Workers in many professions and industries risk their lives every day. Police officers regularly run the risk of gunshots and other acts of violence. Firefighters risk severe burn injuries and smoke inhalation. Healthcare workers run the risk of contracting a deadly disease. Construction workers may fall from high heights. Warehouse workers may die when working with defective equipment and machinery.

According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the profession with the most frequent fatalities was the transportation industry. Of the 5,190 fatal work injuries in the US in 2021, 1,982 (about 38 percent) of the fatalities involved transportation workers. In addition, the number of work-related transportation fatalities increased by nearly 19 percent from 2020 – though that percentage is down from 2019 when 2,122 transportation workers died.

2021 work-related fatalities

Other areas that saw an increase in fatalities from 2020 to 2021 included:

  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments (resulting in nearly 800 deaths in 2021);
  • Falls, slips, and trips (resulting in 850 people deaths in 2021); and
  • Fatalities due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals (resulting in 761 worker deaths in 2021).

Other leading categories of work-related deaths in 2021 included:

  • Construction and extraction occupations
  • Protective service occupations (such as firefighters, law enforcement workers, such as police and sheriff’s patrol officers, and transit and railroad police)
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations
  • Fishing and hunting

Further, in 2021, 323 management workers died, 101 food service and preparation workers died, and 200 workers in personal care and service jobs died.

Transportation fatalities involved the following sectors:

  • Aircraft incidents
  • Rail vehicle incidents
  • Pedestrian vehicular incidents
  • Water vehicle incidents
  • Roadway incident involving motorized land vehicle
  • Roadway non-collision incident (like a jackknife or overturn)
  • Non-roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles (like a jackknife or overturn)

Why do transportation accidents happen in Atlanta?

Transportation accidents include head-on crashes, rear-end collisions, broadsides, intersection accidents, wide-turn accidents, underrides, cargo spills, blind spot accidents, and many other types of accidents. Leading factors contributing to workplace transportation deaths include driver distraction, speeding and other types of traffic violations, driving while tired, driving while intoxicated, and driving too fast for weather conditions.

Transportation accidents in Georgia may also be due to defective car parts, truck parts, or other defective parts. When the brakes don’t work, the steering locks, the electrical systems or hydraulic systems fail, the clutch doesn’t work, or other vehicle parts are defective; the driver can lose control of their car, causing a fatal accident. In addition, the vehicle’s occupants may die when seatbelts and airbags don’t function.

Your right to compensation when a loved one dies in a transportation accident

There’s nothing more tragic than when a loved one dies while helping to support themselves and their families. Our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers understand that no amount of money can ever compensate family members for the death of a parent, child, or spouse. Holding wrongdoers accountable for a worker’s death helps protect other workers. It helps to provide some measure of financial help for the family so they can mourn and go on to live the lives their loved one would have wanted for their family members.

When a truck driver, salesperson, first responder, or any other transportation worker dies, the family members may have the right to file a wrongful death claim and a survival action against the responsible parties. The right to file a wrongful death claim depends on whether the decedent was an employee or a contractor and whether the responsible party was an employer or a third-party, such as a manufacturer of a defective vehicle part. Depending on the accident, the defendants may include a driver, the driver’s employer, the vehicle’s owner, and other individuals and companies.

The right to file wrongful death and survival claims is outlined in Georgia law. This statute identifies which family members are entitled to benefits, how the benefits are divided among the family members, and how the compensation for any minor child is handled.

The damages include the full value of the plaintiff’s:

  • Economic losses – the income the decedent would have received and the value of any services the decedent would have provided the family member
  • Non-economic losses – the intangible value of the decedent’s life to the decedent
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Any pain and suffering the decedent experienced before dying and any medical bills

If the person who died was an employee, then the spouse and dependents should be able to claim workers’ compensation death benefits. These include funeral and burial costs up to $7,500, any outstanding medical bills, and two-thirds of the decedent’s average weekly wages. Some time limits and conditions may apply.

At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our Atlanta truck accident and wrongful death lawyers have obtained some of Georgia’s highest settlements and verdicts. In addition, we work with the police, witnesses, and others to help show how your loved one died and who is responsible. To discuss your right to compensation when a loved one dies, call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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