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Transportation Accidents Were the Leading Cause of Death for TN Workers

Transportation Accidents Were the Leading Cause of Death for TN Workers We often take for granted the safety measures that protect us at work. But in 2021, the most recent year that this data is available, Tennessee witnessed an alarming trend: transportation accidents claimed the lives of 54 workers, making it the leading cause of death in the state’s workforce.

In many cases, these accidents could have been prevented with proper safety measures or regulations. However, regardless of liability, families left behind by these tragic accidents may be entitled to worker’s compensation death benefits following the loss of their loved one.

Causes of transportation accidents among TN workers

Transportation accidents among Tennessee workers occur across various industries and encompass a wide range of incidents, from trucking accidents to those involving heavy machinery such as bulldozers or cranes. Some of the common causes of these accidents include the following.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Examples include activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting the radio while operating a vehicle.

Impaired driving

This involves operating a vehicle under the influence of substances like alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications that impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Impaired driving is a major contributing factor in transportation accidents, leading to impaired judgment, decreased reaction time, and poor coordination.

Fatigue and drowsy driving

The operation of a vehicle while experiencing extreme fatigue or lacking sufficient rest is another common culprit of transportation accidents. Tiredness impairs a driver’s ability to focus, react quickly, and make safe decisions. Long working hours and demanding schedules can contribute to the risk.

Inadequate training

This refers to situations where drivers or operators have not received proper instruction, education, or certification for the equipment they are operating. Incorrect operation of equipment comes with an increased risk of accidents.

Adverse weather conditions

Rain, snow, fog, or icy roads can create hazardous driving conditions. Weather-related accidents can occur due to reduced visibility and slippery roads, and drivers need to exercise extra caution in these conditions.

Equipment failures or malfunctions

This refers to situations where the vehicle or machinery being operated experiences a mechanical issue. Regular inspections, maintenance, and timely repairs are crucial in preventing accidents caused by equipment failures.

Other dangerous industries and workplace incidents

In 2021, 2.5 out of every 100 workers suffered an on-the-job injury. The risk of workplace death was about four out of every 100,000 workers, although various industries yielded very different numbers. While transportation claimed the most lives among Tennessee workers in the same year, a number of other industries and incidents also posed considerable risks to workers. Among the leading industries with the highest number of preventable deaths were construction, transportation, agriculture and forestry, fishing and hunting, mining, and warehousing. Some of the most prevalent types of fatal incidents include:

  • Falls, slips, and trips (23 Total): Whether due to uneven surfaces, lack of proper fall protection, or inadequate safety protocols, these incidents can result in serious injuries or fatalities. Falls from elevated heights account for the most workplace fall-related fatalities.
  • Violence or other injuries caused by persons or animals (21 Total): In some workplaces, the risk of violence or injuries caused by people or animals presents a significant threat, such as in farming, or correctional facilities where assault is commonplace.
  • Exposure to harmful substances (20 Total): Workers in various industries may face exposure to harmful substances, such as corrosive chemicals, toxins, or other hazardous materials. Without proper protective equipment or protocols for handling and disposing of these substances, workers face risks of acute or long-term health effects.
  • Contact with objects and equipment (14 Total): In industries where heavy machinery or equipment is used, contact with these objects carries significant safety threats. Some of the most dangerous equipment can crush, burn, impale, or cut, potentially causing devastating injuries or even death.

Workers’ compensation for fatal accidents on Chattanooga work sites

In cases where a worker loses their life, whether due to a transportation-related accident or another incident that occurred at work, workers’ compensation can step in to provide immediate financial relief to the surviving family members. Beyond the emotional toll, families often face practical considerations, including medical bills related to the accident and burial expenses. Workers’ compensation covers these costs, helping the family manage the financial repercussions of the tragedy.

Workers’ compensation also may include provisions for death benefits, which are designed to provide ongoing financial support to the dependents of the deceased worker. These benefits may encompass a portion of the worker’s wage, ensuring that the family can continue to meet their basic needs and maintain their standard of living.

Other legal options if workers’ compensation is not available or enough

In some cases, particularly if the death was a result of negligence by a third party (such as another driver), the surviving family may have grounds to pursue additional legal action in the form of a wrongful death claim. Workers’ compensation can work in conjunction with a claim to provide comprehensive support.

Pursuing a wrongful death claim can be a demanding and time-consuming process, necessitating a thorough investigation, gathering evidence, and presenting a compelling case. It is imperative for the surviving family to consult with our experienced Chattanooga attorneys  who have experience and knowledge in workers’ rights, workers’ compensation laws, and wrongful death claims. We can guide the family through the process and help you secure the maximum compensation they are entitled to receive.

Whether you were severely injured at work, or tragically lost a loved one due to a transportation or other workplace incident, you deserve justice and support during this trying time. To navigate through this legal maze as smoothly as possible, consider working with the dedicated workplace accident attorneys at Wagner Workers Compensation & Personal Injury Lawyers. We have years of experience in workers’ compensation claims and wrongful death cases, and can provide the guidance, support, and understanding you need. Contact us today at our Chattanooga office to schedule a free case review by calling our office or completing our contact form. We also serve the Cleveland and North Georgia areas.