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A look at workplace fatalities in Virginia and their impact

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, there were 4,251 worker fatalities in the U.S. during 2014. Of the number of lives lost in fatal workplace accidents during that year, 874, or 20 percent, were lost in the construction industry. The leading causes of workplace deaths attributed to the construction industry were falls, accounting for nearly 40 percent, followed by electrocutions, being struck by an object and being caught in between an object.

In Virginia during 2014, there were a total of 116 fatal workplace injuries. Fifty-two of those injuries were in the transportation industry. In addition, 18 fatalities were attributed to falls, slips and trips and another 19 were attributed to contact with equipment. Another 7 percent of the workplace fatalities in Virginia during 2014 were attributed to harmful exposures and an even smaller percentage was accounted for by workplace violence.

Fatal workplace accidents can be complicated, and liability and other concerns can be complex. Given this complexity, there are different legal options available to help families following a fatal workplace accident. Different options may be available through workers' compensation death benefits or, depending on the circumstances, a wrongful death personal injury action against a third party responsible for the accident may be appropriate. The remedies that may be available to the surviving family members of a lost loved one depend on the unique circumstances of each accident.

The compensation family members may be able to receive also depends on the circumstances and situation but generally will include compensation for the financial and emotional challenges that families of a lost worker will likely face following the accident, which is why it is always important for families to be familiar with all of the resources available to them.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Commonly Used Statistics," Accessed March 8, 2016

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