Workplace injuries can be devastating. They can result in serious and life-threatening injuries that haunt workers for the rest of their lives. In some situations, workplace accidents can be deadly. In those circumstances, families have to deal with the aftermath of losing their loved one immediately and for years. Losing a family member is never easy, but it can be even more difficult to deal with when the workplace accident could have been prevented.
Some industries are more dangerous than others. When a wrongful death accident occurs on the job in Atlanta, families may need a lawyer for wrongful deaths at work. These specific claims require a certain set of legal skills and specialized knowledge. Below are some basics regarding wrongful death claims at work in Georgia, including the industries most likely to have these types of claims.
Fatal Work Accidents in Georgia
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 187 fatal work injuries in Georgia in 2021. Thankfully, that number is down from 2020, but that is still 187 families and friends who lost a loved one.
The loss of a loved one can be even more devastating when it is unexpected. It can result in a sudden loss of income, unexpected costs, and more. A wrongful death claim may help address some of these more tangible losses following the death of a loved one.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim at Work in Georgia?
A wrongful death claim at work is not the same as benefits from workers’ compensation in Georgia. Workers’ compensation applies when a workplace accident is no one’s fault or due to the fault of an employee. In those situations, under Georgia workers’ compensation law, a worker who is killed at work should receive some benefits for their family. Those benefits are paid to a worker’s spouse or heirs.
A wrongful death claim arises because someone or something (other than the employer or fellow employees) caused the accident and the resulting fatality. For a wrongful death claim to arise outside of workers’ compensation, a third party may need to cause the fatality.
For example, imagine a warehouse worker was killed. A third-party contractor was in the warehouse to fix an electrical short. The contractor’s actions caused the worker to be electrocuted and pass away. In that situation, a wrongful death claim may arise against the contractor (or, more likely, his employer) because he caused the worker’s death.
Workers’ compensation benefits might also apply, but a wrongful death claim against the contractor may also be a viable option for the worker’s family. Wrongful death claims might also be available if a product or equipment malfunction caused the fatality.
Industries with The Most Work Fatalities in Georgia
Some industries are more dangerous than others. From 2020 to 2022, there were just 11 workplace fatalities in Atlanta, GA. Falls and crushing accidents were the most common reasons that fatalities occurred. Below is a summary of the work fatalities in Atlanta from 2020 to 2022, according to OSHA reports.
|Description of Accident
|Fall from bridge column
|Fall when scaffold tipped over
|Fall from roof
|Crushed between generator and panel form
|Struck by falling forklift load
|Electrocuted when concrete truck conveyor contacted a power line
|Struck by motor vehicle
|Electrocuted by an HVAC unit
|Struck by a falling tree limb
|Struck by a falling staircase
|Caught in machine
Below are the industries that are most likely to result in a fatality at work throughout Georgia.
In 2021, transportation accidents accounted for roughly 41% of all work-related fatal injuries. Transportation-related deaths extend far beyond the transportation industry, although that is where they are the most common.
Any time someone travels for work, they expose themselves to a dangerous situation on the road. According to information from the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 40,000 people die every year in auto accidents, so it would make sense that there is a significant risk for those working over the road.
Technically, the overall industry of “transportation and material moving” had the highest number of fatal workplace accidents in 2021 in Georgia. This occupation saw 41 fatal accidents, 32 of which were caused by motor vehicle operators.
Private Construction Accidents and Injuries
The private construction industry as a whole had the highest number of fatal work injuries in Georgia in 2021. Construction fatalities are often the result of the following:
- Slips and falls
- Falling from a height
- Falling debris or equipment
- Unsafe working conditions
- Electrical accidents
- Crushing accidents
Falls, slips, and trips are the fourth most common reason that deaths occur in the workplace. Because the construction industry often requires workers to do their job in locations where debris is nearby and underfoot, a slip or trip is more likely to occur. In addition, when workers are at a height, falling debris and equipment are more likely, and falls from a height that would cause death are more common.
Many construction areas also expose workers to dangerous substances. Exposure to harmful substances or environments is the third-most common reason that workplace accidents occur in Georgia. In 2021, this type of exposure caused 31 work-related deaths, both in and out of the construction industry.
Private Transportation and Warehousing
The private transportation and warehousing sector saw 33 fatal workplace accidents in Georgia in 2021. Although this number is down from 2020, this industry still has one of the highest incidents of fatalities of any industry in Georgia.
Freight trucking, included in the private transportation category, accounted for about 36% of this industry’s fatalities.
The Most Dangerous Jobs Across the United States
During 2021, the following industries are considered the “most dangerous” in the United States. Each of these industries had a high number of either fatalities or injuries, according to the National Safety Council.
- The construction industry had the most fatalities.
- Education and health service saw the highest number of injuries and illnesses that resulted in days away from work.
- Forestry, hunting, fishing, and agriculture had the highest fatalities per 100,000 workers.
- Transportation and warehousing had the highest number of injuries and sicknesses, resulting in days away from work per 10,000 workers.
Of course, these statistics were affected by COVID-19 so they may be slightly skewed compared to historical figures.
Get Help with Work Fatalities in Georgia
If you have lost a loved one, having a lawyer for wrongful deaths at work can be an extremely useful resource. They will be able to help families and other loved ones understand their rights and obligations after a workplace fatality. An attorney can be a helpful guide during an extremely difficult time.