Dallas Law Firm Blog

An Increase in Worker Deaths in U.S. Warrants Concern

Deadly workplace injuries have soared recently, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finding a 7% increase over the number of workplace deaths in 2015. BLS also found the fatal injury rate rose from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time workers to 3.6 in 2016.

More employees were killed in transportation-related accidents in 2016, the federal agency found, accounting for approximately 25% of fatal work accidents. More troubling findings from the Dec. 19, 2017, BLS data include these:

  • Workplace violence injuries increased by 23%; this made it the second-most common reason for workplace death.
  • The number of drug overdoses on the job increased 32% in 2016.
  • The number of drug-related deaths on the job has increased by 25% per year since 2012.
  • Deaths among African Americans increased by 18.6%, to 587.
  • Deaths among Asian workers rose 40.4%, to 160 deaths
  • Fall, slip and trip accidents rose by 6%, for 849 deaths.
  • Homicides rose almost 20%, to 500 deaths in 2016 compared to 2015.

OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt stated that the fatality data indicates a rising trend, with the third straight increase in worker deaths  which was the highest since 2008. Sweatt noted that OSHA is working to find better ways for employees and employers to enhance workplace safety and health, but much improvement still needs to be done in the U.S.

Workplace fatalities are a problem Texas, as well. The Texas Tribune reported that the number of workers killed on the job increased in 2014 to 524, compared to 508 in 2013.

Fatal Work Accident Rights in Texas

Texas fatal work accident laws can be confusing even for many experienced personal injury attorneys. This is because the fatal work accident laws involve various aspects of several Texas laws, including:

  • The Texas Labor Code
  • The Civil Practices and Remedies Code
  • The Wrongful Death Act
  • Texas constitutional provisions
  • Various Texas Supreme Court rulings.

Work-related fatal injury cases are generally based on work injury law in Texas. Whatever the law states about a worker’s right to be compensated for an injury claim, the same will hold true for the wrongful death claim the family brings.

But it would be in error to think that all Texas workers have the same work injury rights. Texas law has an unusual type of insurance protection that an employer can buy. If it does so, the employer is part of a more protected class where they are immune from a work-injury lawsuit based upon negligence. So, if the company has this coverage, the family and worker have one class of rights. But if the company opts out of the coverage, the family and worker have completely different rights.

In some cases, work-related deaths in the Lone Star State will fall under workers compensation laws. Workers compensation benefits would be given to the family of the deceased; the family members are then prohibited from filing a wrongful death lawsuit. But if the employer lacks workers compensation insurance, the family can file a lawsuit directly against the employer.

It also is critical for the personal injury attorney to review all other possible sources of compensation that may be available through the Texas legal and insurance system. Workplace death cases in Texas are complex, and you should consult with an experienced attorney to obtain the financial justice you deserve.

Contact Guajardo & Marks for a Complimentary Legal Consultation

At Guajardo & Marks, we know a fatal work accident involving a loved one can leave you with emotional and financial devastation. If the company was at fault for the accident, we believe that they must be held accountable and pay for your pain and suffering, funeral costs, loss of consortium and more. Please contact our Dallas personal injury law office today at 972-774-9800 for a complimentary consultation about your workplace accident case.