According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation accidents related to work activities are the leading cause of worker deaths while on the job in Illinois. In 2014, the BLS reports that 163 people died in Illinois while they were on the job. Out of that number, 58 were killed in transportation accidents, representing nearly 36 percent of all of the deaths that happened. In the United States, transportation incidents accounted for 40 percent of all work-related fatalities in 2014. When a worker is killed in a transportation incident while on the job, an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney may help the worker’s family to seek recovery of benefits.
Four Largest Categories
The BLS reports that the four biggest categories of workplace deaths accounted for 92 percent of the total workplace fatalities in 2014. In addition to transportation deaths, the other three largest categories leading to workplace fatalities in Illinois in 2014 included the following:
- Transportation accidents – 58 deaths
- Trauma from other people or from animals – 31 deaths
- Contact with equipment or objects – 31 deaths
- Slipping, tripping, and falling – 30 deaths
Among the reported transportation-related deaths, 33 happened in accidents on the roadway. The industry sector with the highest number of workplace fatalities during the year was the warehousing and transportation industry.
What Travel Activities Are Work-Related?
A common issue that sometimes arises in a case reviewed by an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney is determining whether or not a transportation incident was work-related. Under the law, a person who is traveling to work from home or returning home from work when he or she is involved in a fatal car accident is not considered to be engaging in work activity at the time. This means that going to and from work is not covered by workers’ compensation law. However, if an accident that happens when a person is traveling to work or home from work is one that is caused by the negligence of others, the person’s family may have recovery rights via wrongful death civil lawsuits.
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Some travel activities are obviously work-related. For example, truck drivers who work for trucking companies and who are engaged in transporting goods should be covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance policies if they are injured in accidents while they are engaged in driving. Other transportation incidents may not be as clear, however.
When a worker is required by his or her boss to go run errands for the boss or the company, it is considered to be work-related travel. For example, if a person’s boss asks a worker to stop on his or her way to work to grab bagels for the office, the time spent driving from the bagel shop to the office should be considered to be work-related and thus compensable under workers’ compensation rules if an injury or fatality accident happens. An Illinois workers’ compensation attorney might evaluate the facts of what happened in order to provide an honest assessment about whether or not a worker or his or her family may be compensated by workers’ compensation benefits.
Possible Benefits For Families of Workers Who Are Killed
When a worker is killed in a transportation incident that is related to his or her job, the worker’s family members may be eligible for benefits via the workers’ compensation system. The potential benefits that a family might receive include the reasonable burial and funeral expenses that the family incurs. They may also include the payment of any medical expenses that their loved one incurred before succumbing to his or her injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits may also be available to replace a portion of the lost loved one’s income through monthly payments. An Illinois workers’ compensation attorney may be able to explain the potentially available benefits that a family might receive, depending on the relevant facts and circumstances of what happened.
The statistics for workplace fatalities in Illinois underscore the need for improvements in workplace safety protocols. Workers’ compensation laws are in place in order to provide help for workers and their families in the event of a workplace injury or fatality incident. For people who are injured on the job, it doesn’t matter if they were partly to blame for the injury or fatality incident. All employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage to provide for workers and their families in the event the worst happens.
Unfortunately, employers and their insurance carriers will sometimes attempt to dispute their liability for injuries, illnesses or fatalities that result from work-related incidents. Part of the job of an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney is to help his or her client with gathering the needed evidence to support his or her claim for benefits. An attorney may litigate the matter for his or her client through administrative hearings in an attempt to help him or her to recover the maximum amount possible.