Dying at Work

Charlotte Injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “What if I am unable to work following the accident, as a result of my injuries? Will I be able to recover my lost wages?”


Though it seems hard to imagine, thousands of people go to work each year and fail to make it home safely at the end of the day. These people are merely trying to earn a living and provide for their families, but due to some unexpected incident, almost always outside of their control, they end up losing their lives instead. Though it’s tragic this should occur at all, the hope is that it happens as little as possible. Unfortunately, a recent article in the New York Times indicates that fatal workplace accidents may actually be ticking back up, with final numbers from 2015 ranking highest since 2008.

Construction-worker-Charlotte-Injury-Lawyer-250x300According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,836 people died last year due to workplace injuries. This is the highest number in six years, dating back to when 5,200 people died in 2008. Experts say that though the rise is sad for those families who have suffered a loss, it isn’t totally unexpected. What possible reason could account for such a rise? The economy.


If you’ll remember, the last time numbers were this bad was 2008. When did the Great Recession begin? 2008. Those two things are more than mere coincidence. When the economy is bad people are out of work, homes aren’t getting built, not as many goods are being transported, fewer products are getting made. Though it’s not good from an employment perspective, it can be good from a workplace injury perspective. As things start to improve economically, more companies start hiring and more people find themselves back in harm’s way. That appears to be what happened in 2015.


So who are these people that are getting injured and killed at work? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a whopping 93 percent are men. To the amazement of many, only 7 percent of all workplace deaths last year happened to women. One reason for this tremendous gender imbalance is because men tend to dominate industries seen as dangerous. Trucking, manufacturing and plants with dangerous chemicals or hazardous materials are all places where men are likely to outnumber women.


Another interesting statistic is that 903 of those who died were Hispanic or Latino workers. Of this number, more than two-thirds were foreign born. The number of Hispanics who died in 2015 jumped dramatically, increasing to a level not seen since 2007. Again, the reasons likely have to do with growth in sectors that employ large numbers of Hispanic, particularly foreign-born, workers.


Older workers suffered disproportionately more than those in other age groups. Those who are 65 and older died at higher rates last year than their peers in any other age group. In fact, the 650 deaths of those older than 65 represents the second highest number of fatalities for this group since data was first collected back in 1992.


Finally, what are the industries or actions that most commonly result in workplace death? Though it may come as a shock, the number one cause of workplace fatality is transportation accidents, meaning simply getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. More than 2,000 people died in 2015 due to transportation incidents. Of this number, nearly 750 were drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers, meaning more people died driving trucks than in any other occupation. A distant second in terms of causes of workplace fatalities is falling, slipping and tripping, a category responsible for 800 deaths.


If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation, call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.


About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.





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