Blog | June 2, 2023

How Many People Die In Fatal Workplace Injuries In Pennsylvania?

Across the United States, 5,190 people died as a result of workplace accidents in 2021. In Pennsylvania, the number of fatalities was 162. Pennsylvania has a high rate of both fatal and nonfatal workplace injuries leaving too many injured workers or grieving families.

If you have been injured at work or have lost a family member in a workplace accident, the workplace injury lawyers at Cohen Feeley Altemose & Rambo may be able to help. We can advise you on your rights under workers’ compensation statutes and personal injury laws to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. 

National Workplace Accident Statistics

Every year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases detailed information about workplace injuries. Full information has been released for fatal injuries in the year 2021 together with some information about nonfatal injuries. Complete information about nonfatal injuries and illnesses will not be available until November 2023.

The number of people killed in workplace accidents in the U.S. increased 8.95% from 2020 to 2021, with 4,764 workplace fatalities in 2020 and 5,190 in 2021. In the same year, the number of reported cases of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses decreased, with 2.6 million employer-reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2021. Trends in 2020 and 2021 were significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The decrease in 2021 was largely due to a drop in reported respiratory illness cases. In reality, the total reported injury cases actually increased 6.3% from 2020 to 2021 with 2.1 million cases reported in 2020 and 2.2 million cases in 2021.

Occupations with the highest number of fatal injuries in the country were transportation and material moving occupations, which includes delivery drivers, railroad workers, hand laborers, and even pilots and air traffic controllers. This sector reached a high of 1,523 fatal injuries in 2021. 

The most common type of fatal workplace injury in 2021 was a transportation incident, with 1,982 deaths, and accounting for over 38% of all workplace fatalities.

Pennsylvania Workplace Injuries

162 people died in workplace accidents in Pennsylvania in 2021, the highest number since 2018. Sadly, Pennsylvania has more workplace fatalities than many other states. The vast majority of victims of workplace injury in Pennsylvania, as in other states, were men (152), and all of the victims were at least 25 years old.

The occupations with the highest rate of fatal workplace injuries in Pennsylvania in 2021 were:

Transportation and material moving occupations: 51 fatalities

Construction and extraction occupations: 36 fatalities

Transportation and warehousing: 34 fatalities

The top causes of workplace fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2021 were:

Transportation incidents: 59 fatalities

Falls, slips, and trips: 30 fatalities

Contact with objects or equipment: 29 fatalities

Exposure to harmful substances or environment: 24 fatalities

The transportation and construction industries are high risk for workers and sadly result in too many workplace injuries and fatalities. When a worker is injured or killed, it can be catastrophic for them and their family, physically, emotionally, and financially.

What Damages Should You Get for a Fatal Workplace Injury?

When someone is injured at work, they are usually entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which compensate a worker for their lost wages and medical expenses. In some cases, an injured worker can file a third-party claim for additional compensation. You can find out more about this in our Workplace Injuries FAQs or by contacting one of the Workplace Injuries attorneys at CFAR. 

The workers’ compensation system also pays death benefits to the family members of a worker who loses their life in a workplace accident. This compensation is limited but does not require the family to prove that anyone was at fault in the accident in order to receive it. Workers’ comp will pay a portion of the wages that the deceased would have earned if they had not been fatally injured at work, medical expenses relating to the workplace injury or illness, and burial expenses of up to $3,000. 

Sometimes, a workplace accident is caused by the negligence or fault of a third party, such as when a worker is killed in a road accident caused by a negligent driver or when defective equipment leads to a fatal accident. If a third party is at fault, the deceased worker’s surviving spouse, children, or parents may be able to bring a third-party claim for wrongful death against the at fault party. A successful wrongful death lawsuit would enable the deceased’s family members to recover compensation for more of their losses as a result of the workplace accident, and hold the at fault party accountable. 

Types of damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim could include:

  • Full compensation for lost wages and benefits (not limited by workers’ comp regulations)
  • Pain and suffering of deceased before death
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of household services
  • Loss of guidance and support of a parent
  • Punitive damages (in rare cases)

A claim for compensation after a workplace injury, whether through the workers’ comp system or the legal system should not be delayed. Both types of claims require specific documents to be filed within legal deadlines. If a deadline or requirement is missed, you may lose your right to bring a claim.

Contact Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo for a Workplace Injury

If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, or if you have been injured at work, our workplace injury attorneys can help you fight for justice and compensation. To learn more about workplace injuries, see our Frequently Asked Questions About Workplace Injuries, and to find out more about how we can help you, contact our Pennsylvania workplace injury attorneys at (610) 490-8877 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us give you the help you deserve.

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