Indianapolis Fatal Work Injury Lawyer

Indianapolis Work-Related Wrongful Death Claims

Indianapolis Fatal Work Injury Lawyer

Every job poses risks. Federal and state agencies work to enforce safety rules to reduce or eliminate many on-the-job risks.

Even when a workplace follows safety standards, workers may still be at risk of sustaining a serious injury that leads to their death or pass away on the job. Wrongful death can not only be caused by the negligence of a coworker or supervisor but can also be caused by the negligence or recklessness of a third party.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one and you suspect that someone else’s negligence is to blame, talk to an experienced Indiana work-related wrongful death attorney today. The team at the Tabor Law Firm is here to quickly help and sort out the details of your unique matter.

Call (317) 236-9000 to speak to our experienced workplace wrongful death attorneys in Indianapolis today.

Work-Related Death Statistics in Indiana

Since 1992, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has collected data on fatal workplace injuries in Indiana and other states via the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). In the past thirty years, workplace deaths have seen a gradual downward trend in Indiana一but annual numbers began to spike once again in 2016. Between 2016 and 2021, higher numbers of on-the-job deaths were featured compared to the period of 2006 and 2015.

In 2021, the BLS recorded 157 workplace deaths in Indiana. This number represents a slight decrease from the 158 deaths recorded in 2020, but it is higher than 2019’s total of 146 deaths. In the past thirty years, 2012 and 2015 saw the lowest number of annual workplace deaths in Indiana, with 115 deaths apiece. By contrast, 1994 set a record with 195 total on-the-job deaths in Indiana.

BLS statistics demonstrate that while all jobs pose some risk of injury, certain industries see higher rates of workplace deaths than others. In 2021, the deadliest industries in Indiana included:

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting: 22 deaths were recorded in these industries in 2021. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting historically post the highest numbers of workplace deaths of any industry category in Indiana.
  • Construction: Construction jobs claimed 21 lives in 2021.
  • Transportation and warehousing: Transportation and warehousing companies set a grisly record in 2021, posting a total of 48 on-the-job deaths - a number nearly twice the industry’s typical annual average in Indiana.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing contributed 13 deaths in the workplace to Indiana’s annual totals for 2021.

Healthcare, retail, accommodation, and food services also tend to experience multiple on-the-job deaths each year. Even workers in traditionally low-risk jobs like finance and insurance are not immune. In 2016 and 2019, a worker in these industries lost their life on the job.

Workplace injuries and deaths can occur in many situations. For statistical purposes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes causes of death into a few broad groups. These include the following:

  • Transportation-related incidents. This category includes the largest number of workplace deaths suffered in Indiana each year. In 2021, 59 workplace deaths occurred as a result of transportation incidents. Most of these deaths occurred in private industry, while three were suffered by local government workers.
  • Violence from other people or animals. Violence by third parties or by animals was the second most common cause of on-the-job fatalities in Indiana in 2021. In total, 35 workers lost their lives due to violence, intentional injuries, or animal attacks. In ten of these cases, a worker was engaged in transportation or material moving tasks when they suffered fatal injuries.
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments. In 2021, 25 people died on the job due to exposure to harmful substances like toxic vapors or harmful environments like excessive heat or cold. In 19 of these instances, a worker was exposed to chemicals or chemical products.
  • Contact with objects and equipment. In 2021, 20 Indiana workers lost their lives due to contact with objects or equipment. These cases ranged from being struck by a vehicle at work to falling into or coming into contact with heavy machinery. Most of these deaths occurred in agriculture, with workers dying as a result of contact with machinery and vehicles.

Regardless of the cause, an on-the-job death places immense emotional turmoil and new burdens on loved ones. The weight of grief is only one of the life-altering consequences that a family must face. Figuring out the next best course of action can seem confusing and overwhelming. Contacting our team of attorneys can help alleviate the stress surrounding your loved one’s death.

Workers’ Compensation and On-the-Job Fatalities in Indianapolis

Workers’ compensation insurance pays for certain costs associated with on-the-job injuries in Indiana. The state requires most employers to have workers’ compensation coverage.

Workers’ compensation allows payment towards the following:

  • Medical bills associated with the diagnosis and treatment of on-the-job injuries,
  • Wage benefits to help replace a portion of an injured person’s earnings if they are unable to work temporarily or permanently as a result of their injuries, and
  • Death benefits if a workplace injury proves fatal.

Workers’ compensation benefits include death benefits for the families of workers who lose their lives as a result of a work-related injury. For the period between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2023, the maximum compensation for any combination of temporary total, permanent partial impairment, impairment, permanent total disability payments, and death benefits was $390,000.

Many factors can affect how these benefits are calculated and paid, however. The Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana recommends that injured workers or their families talk to an attorney if they are thinking about disputing a workers’ compensation claim or if they suspect that they are not being treated fairly in the workers’ compensation process.

Wrongful Death Claims Connected to Workplace Injuries

Workers’ compensation provides a basis for coverage and support if an on-the-job injury prevents someone from working or claims a life. Yet workers’ compensation is not the only source of compensation available in many Indiana workplace death situations.

Indiana law also allows a personal representative of an estate to bring a claim for wrongful death “...when the death of one is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.” A wrongful death claim may be available if a fatal workplace injury was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of a party other than the deceased person or their employer.

Examples of situations in which a work-related wrongful death claim may be available include:

  • While working as a delivery driver, a person is struck by a drunk driver in another vehicle, causing death.
  • A worker is crossing a street to run an errand for their employer when they are hit by a vehicle.
  • A construction worker is killed by an explosion that occurred because certain chemicals used on the job site were not packaged correctly.
  • A warehouse worker dies when a third party making a delivery fails to secure a load properly, causing the load to fall on the worker.

Like other Indiana wrongful death claims, a claim involving a workplace death must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or death. Several factors can affect how courts calculate this two-year limit, however. Talk to an experienced attorney if you have questions about how the two-year limit should apply in your case.

A wrongful death case can be used to recover compensation for losses that workers’ compensation death benefits do not cover. Common types of losses addressed in wrongful death claims include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • The total amount of lost wages that the deceased person would reasonably have been expected to earn if they had lived.
  • Medical expenses related to the injured person’s final medical needs.
  • Pain and suffering the deceased person suffered before death as a result of their fatal injuries.
  • The loss of the care, comfort, and companionship of the deceased person to their family, including the loss of the services they would have performed at home if they’d lived.

While workers’ compensation may contribute to covering some of these costs, it rarely covers the entire financial impact of the loss to a deceased person’s family. A wrongful death claim can make up the difference. A wrongful death claim can also hold a negligent party accountable for the harm their actions have caused.

The relationship between workers’ compensation claims and these wrongful death claims can be complex to navigate. In many instances, a family may have both a workers’ compensation claim for death benefits and a wrongful death claim against a third party responsible for their loved one’s death. It’s essential to speak to an experienced Indiana wrongful death attorney to understand how these laws may affect your legal rights and those of your family after a loved one’s workplace death.

What to Do If You’ve Lost a Loved One Due to an Indianapolis Work Accident

Few challenges in life are harder to bear than the loss of a loved one, especially when that loss was unexpected and your loved one couldn’t have prevented it. As you work to carry your grief from day to day, you may also worry about how to support your family or care for your household without your loved one’s efforts.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Talk to the legal team at the Tabor Law Firm today. Our experienced Indiana wrongful death attorneys can help you understand your legal options and choose a path forward. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Submit an online contact form or call us at (317) 236-9000 to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.

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