Workers' compensation claims and deaths down in 2014

According to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal workplace accidents declined again in 2014, reinstating a trend that has been ongoing for the last 12 years, with the exception of 2012. That being said, the rate of serious injury and illness on the job in 2014 was tallied at three million workers.

The types of injuries and illnesses experienced by those three million workers vary considerably, of course, ranging from back injuries to amputations. In some cases, workers who suffer from serious injury may be unable to return to work for a significant period of time, or even permanently.

Typically, workers' compensation claims preclude the possibility of tort litigation. The idea is that workers exchange more certainty of compensation in the event of injury for limited ability to sue an employer in tort. Unfortunately, in cases of permanent workplace injury, workers' compensation is often not adequate to cover losses. Fortunately, the ability to pursue tort litigation is available in some cases.

Workers who are injured on the job because of the negligence of a third party, such as a property owner, subcontractor or product manufacturer, may be able to pursue that party for personal injury damages in court. In these cases, a worker may be able to obtain a damages award more in line with the losses they suffer as a result of permanent workplace injury.

It is important to work with an experienced attorney when pursuing such a claim, though, both to ensure that one has guidance navigating the court system and the law, but also to provide zealous advocacy of one's interests.

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