What are the Most Dangerous Jobs in America?

For many Americans, the idea of a “bad day at work” might be something along the lines of having to deal with difficult customers, getting reprimanded by their supervisor, or getting stuck in traffic on their way to or from the office. In most occupations, the idea of getting injured at work is usually far from their minds. Although it can happen, and it often does, a workplace injury is usually something that they think “happens to somebody else”.

In some occupations, however, workplace injuries are more the norm than the exception. These are jobs in which people go to work every day knowing that there is at the very least a moderate risk that they will suffer a serious injury. Last month, CNBC published their list of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America, based on numbers from 2018, the most recent year that we have full statistics for.

There were 5,250 workplace fatalities in 2018, which was a slight increase from the previous year. And many of these deaths were among workers from one of the following occupations:

10. Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Groundskeeping

CNBC lists first-line supervisors of landscapers, groundskeepers, and lawn service personnel as the 10th most dangerous job in the United States, with 20.2 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Those in this industry spend a lot of time traveling from one jobsite to another, putting them at a higher risk of transportation-related accidents.

9. Construction and Extraction Worker Supervisors

First-line supervisors of construction and extraction workers is listed as the 9th most dangerous occupation in America, with 21 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. About two-thirds of those who were killed in this industry were independent contractors, and most of these fatalities were transportation-related.

8. Structural Iron and Steel Workers

Coming in at 8th on the list of the top 10 most dangerous occupations with 23.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers are those who install iron and steel elements into building structures during construction. Those in this industry work regularly in high places, and slips, trips, and falls are the most common causes of death.

7. Agricultural Workers

Number 7 on the top 10 list with 24.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers are farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers. Farmers spend a lot of time working outdoors with dangerous machinery and equipment, and some of them travel from one farm to another, putting them at risk of transportation accidents.

6. Transportation Workers

Number six on the list is transportation workers; including commercial truck drivers, company delivery drivers, and traveling sales workers. Among these occupations, there were 26 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, and not surprisingly, the vast majority of these fatalities resulted from transportation-related workplace accidents.

5. Waste and Recyclable Materials Collectors

Another extremely dangerous transportation-related occupation is garbage or waste collector. These workers spend a large percentage of their day with a team traveling from one location to another collecting waste and recyclable materials. They also work year-round, with some team members having to work outside under hazardous weather conditions. There were 44.3 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in the waste industry, making it the fifth most hazardous occupation in the US.

4. Roofers

Roofing is the most dangerous type of construction occupation and fourth most dangerous overall with 51.5 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Roofers spend almost all of their time on top of residential and commercial buildings either installing or repairing roofs. They typically work multiple stories above the ground, making them highly susceptible to serious slip, trip, and fall injuries. Roofers also have to do a lot of hard physical labor, often in very uncomfortable weather conditions.

3. Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers

Pilots and flight engineers are third on the list of most dangerous occupations with 58.9 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Not surprisingly, the deaths and serious injuries that occur with this group result from plane crashes, and the majority of these crashes happen in smaller private planes.

2. Fishing Workers

Fishers and other fishing workers come in at number two on the list, with 77.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Fishers work long hours at sea doing hard, physical work, and they are also highly susceptible to slips, trips, and falls, sometimes even falling out of their boat.

1 . Logging Workers

Logging workers top the list of the most dangerous jobs in America. These workers deal with numerous risks; such as falling from high places, being hit by felled trees, and being injured by hazardous or faulty equipment. At 97.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers, the fatality rate among logging workers is 28 times higher than the all-worker average of 3.5 fatalities per 100,000.

Injured in a Workplace Accident? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance

If you or a loved one suffered a serious workplace injury or fatality, you may be entitled to compensation over and above workers’ compensation benefits. Some accidents are caused by parties other than the employer, such as a third-party subcontractor, another driver, or the maker of a dangerous or defective product. There may also be instances when a workplace injury is caused by the deliberate actions of the employer, in which case you might be able to sue them directly.

The best place to start is to speak with the experienced workplace injury lawyers at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. Over the past several decades, we have helped countless workers recover the just compensation they deserve, and we are happy to provide a free consultation to take a look at your case. To learn more, message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979. We look forward to serving you!

workplace injury

How Workplace Injuries Affect Families

Each year, thousands of individuals are killed and millions more are injured on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there was a total of 5,250 work-related fatalities in 2018, up 2% from the previous year. And the fatal injury rate in the U.S. is currently 3.5 deaths for every 100,000 full-time workers.

There are an estimated 8.5 million injuries in the workplace each year, and the economic cost of these injuries is staggering. Estimates vary, but according to an Economic Policy Institute report that was published a few years back, workplace injuries and occupational illnesses cost the U.S. approximately $250 billion annually.

The economic costs of workplace injuries only tell part of the story, however. There is also a major human cost that is often overlooked. Workers who get injured while on the job suffer major physical and emotional pain that can go on for months or even years. And in some cases, the effects of the injury can be permanent.

Imagine the physical pain and suffering an injured worker goes through on a daily basis. Being in pain all the time means problems sleeping, trouble moving around, and difficulty or inability to do the things they once enjoyed. And the prospect of having your life turned upside down like this and not knowing if it will ever be the same is something that can seem nearly impossible to live with. These are intangible costs that are very real, and it is impossible to put a price on them.

How the Human Cost of Workplace Injuries Extends to Families

A work-related injury or occupational illness is bad enough for the individual who is suffering from it, but the costs do not end there. Families also suffer deep emotional and financial pain because of a loved one’s injury. Children tend to be hit the hardest by these types of injuries as they are forced to deal with the reality of a parent who has a medical condition that renders them unable to go to work and put food on the table.

Some of these injuries also significantly change the family dynamic by reversing various roles. For example, a parent who suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) might be in need of continual assistance in order to get through the day. This thrusts the spouse and children into a caregiving role, which is something many people may not be emotionally ready to deal with.

The effect of workplace injuries on families in single parent households is even more devastating. When the one parent who the children depend on for everything suddenly gets hurt, finances are even tighter, and the duty to care for the injured parent may fall squarely on the children.

How does Workers’ Compensation Help Families of Injured Workers?

When someone suffers a work-related injury, they will usually look to their employer’s workers’ compensation policy for assistance. An injured worker can receive workers’ comp benefits to cover medical expenses and a percentage of gross wages for the time missed from work. These benefits are available regardless of who was at fault for the injury.

While workers’ compensation provides much-needed financial assistance, it does not reimburse an injured worker for all of their lost wages. With less income coming in, finances are much tighter and families in this situation are forced to significantly tighten their belts. The financial difficulties may also be a source of relational strife as the family is forced to make difficult choices about what they will have to do without.

To add insult to injury (literally), employers and their insurers often make it very difficult for injured workers to access the benefits they deserve. Insurance companies always want to pay out as little as possible to those who file claims, and they make the claims process overly complicated in an effort to frustrate workers. They will also look for any way they can deny a valid claim, even if they can do it on a technicality.

Can I Sue my Employer for a Workplace Injury?

Unfortunately, an injured worker who has workers’ compensation benefits available to them usually forfeits their right to sue an employer for reimbursement of noneconomic losses such as pain-and-suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. This is not always the case, however.

For example, in West Virginia and some other states, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against an employer if it can be shown that the employer’s deliberate actions caused the injury. That said, deliberate intent cases are complicated and difficult to prove, and for this reason, it is absolutely imperative to speak with an experienced workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible if you are considering going this route.

One final note about workplace injuries. Some such injuries may be the fault of a third party, such as a subcontractor or the maker of a faulty product. If a party other than your employer caused or contributed to your injury, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit directly against them to recover damages over and above your workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact the Skilled and Knowledgeable Attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

Workplace injuries take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families, and those who are injured often have great difficulty recovering the compensation they are entitled to. At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we understand what you are going through, and we are here to help. Our attorneys have over four decades of experience standing up for injured workers in West Virginia and in other states, and we are ready to go to work for you.

Call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.

workplace accident attorney

Common Workplace Injuries in WV

Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for all of their employees. Individuals spend a large percentage of their lives at work earning a paycheck and putting food on their table, and while they are there, workers deserve to have an environment where they feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, many employers fail to live up to this responsibility, creating hazardous work conditions that can result in serious injuries and in the worst cases, fatalities.

Each year, there are thousands of workplace fatalities throughout the nation, and hundreds of thousands are severely injured on the job. Some industries are more dangerous than others, particularly those that are fast-paced, labor-intensive, and involve potentially hazardous equipment. In industries like these, it is all the more important for employers to follow all government regulations and implement best safety practices to keep their workers from getting injured.

What are Some of the Most Common Injuries that Happen in the Workplace?

A workplace injury is defined as any occurrence during the course of work that causes an employee to become physically or mentally injured or ill. This may include any of these scenarios:

  • A work-related injury or illness that requires medical care;
  • A work-related injury or illness that causes the employee to lose consciousness, miss time from work, require restricted/limited work, or cause the employee to be transferred to another position;
  • A diagnosis of an irreversible occupational disease;
  • A work-related event or exposure that “significantly aggravates” a pre-existing illness or injury;
  • Any work-related fatality.

There are numerous ways a worker could be injured on the job. Here are some of the most common workplace injuries that happen in West Virginia and throughout the country:

  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: Many jobs require employees to regularly work on slippery surfaces and/or in high elevations. These and other hazards can result in slip, trip, and fall injuries.
  • Overexertion Injuries: There are several industries where there are labor shortages, forcing workers to put in longer hours doing heavy work such as lifting, pushing, pulling, etc. This can cause employees to overexert themselves while on the job and sustain injuries.
  • Hazardous Exposure: At some job sites, workers are repeatedly exposed to toxic substances. This is especially true in industries like coal, where employees regularly work in enclosed underground areas, greatly increasing the risk of respiratory conditions such as black lung disease.
  • Being Struck By/Struck Against Hard Objects: Falling objects such as tools, equipment, and debris are common on some job sites, such as in construction. When a worker is struck by or struck against a hard object, it can cause serious injuries.
  • Being Caught In-Between: Employees who work in enclosed spaces (like the coal mines we referenced earlier) run a risk of getting trapped in areas where they can’t get out. A worker could also get closed in or entangled by machinery/equipment that is malfunctioning or being misused.
  • Burn Injuries: Employees can end up with severe burn injuries from explosions and fires that happen in the workplace.
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries: Employees who perform repeated actions regularly on the job are susceptible to repetitive motion/repetitive stress injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome from continual computer use or constant use of hands and arms on an assembly line is a common injury that falls in this category.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of on-the-job injuries in workplaces where materials are transported regularly from one site to another. Oil and gas/fracking, coal, timber, and construction are just a few examples of industries where this is especially common.

Can I Sue an Employer for a Workplace Injury?

Most of the time, the answer to this question is “probably not”. When an employee suffers a workplace injury, the first place to go to get their medical bills and lost earnings reimbursed is their employer’s worker’s compensation policy. Most employers in West Virginia are required to carry worker’s comp. insurance, and an injured employee should be able to recover benefits through their policy. This is not always the case, however. Some employers put up unnecessary roadblocks to try to frustrate employees into giving up on the benefits they are entitled to. If you are having any trouble getting worker’s compensation benefits, be sure to contact our office for assistance.

There are some limited cases when an employee may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against an employer in West Virginia. This could be done through the legal theory known as “deliberate intent”, which is used when the deliberate actions of an employer cause an employee to get injured. These types of cases are very complicated, however, and you will need to show definitive proof that your employer acted deliberately in a way that caused you harm.

It is important to note that, even if you are not able to sue your employer because of your workplace injury, you may have a viable claim against a third party (other than your employer) if that party contributed to the injury or illness. This could be a third-party subcontractor, a motorist that causes a work-related vehicle accident, the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a dangerous or defective product (that contributed to your condition), or any other outside party that might hold some responsibility for what happened. To find out what legal options may be available in your case, it is best to talk with an experienced workplace injury attorney.

Contact Our West Virginia Occupational Disease Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one was injured or became ill on the job, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help! Our attorneys have stood up for working people for nearly five decades, and we have a successful track record taking on some of the most powerful industry giants here in West Virginia and throughout the country.

Call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online to schedule your free consultation with a member of our legal team.

work zone fatality

Work Zone Fatalities on the Rise in Recent Years

Although many motorists complain about it, road construction is necessary to keep our roadways safe and well-maintained. This is especially important in states like West Virginia, where heavy snowfalls during the winter combined with below freezing temperatures put a ton of wear and tear on our roads. Come springtime, potholes litter the landscape, making it much harder to travel safely around the state.

To repair our streets, roads, highways, and bridges, construction workers are forced to put in hundreds of man hours throughout the warm months. Construction zone workers have a very dangerous job. They must work with heavy machinery and equipment, hard objects, and in tight and enclosed areas where vehicles are continually passing through. To top it all off, much of this work is performed after dark when there are fewer cars on the road and less disruption to traffic.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, hundreds of construction zone workers are killed and more than 20,000 are injured in road construction accidents each year. Many of these accidents are caused by employer negligence; resulting in workers being struck by objects, caught in-between construction equipment and machinery, being backed into or run into by a construction vehicle, and similar incidents. 

A large percentage of these injuries and fatalities are also caused by driver negligence. Some common ways motorists cause work zone injuries include:

  • Speeding
  • Aggressive/reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving

In West Virginia, speeding in a construction zone is a criminal violation, which is punishable with fines of up to $200 and up to 20 days in jail. Motorists who cause construction zone accidents may face other criminal charges as well, such as reckless driving or DUI. Unfortunately, the imposition of criminal penalties does little to comfort construction zone workers who suffer serious injuries or families of construction zone workers who are killed by the actions of negligent or reckless motorists.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., our lawyers have stood up for the working people of West Virginia for several decades. When we take a case, we thoroughly investigate the accident and the circumstances that resulted in the construction zone worker’s injury or death, and we fight hard for every dollar of compensation our clients are entitled to.

These cases can be highly complex, because they could potentially involve legal action against multiple potential parties. There are several regulations and industry safety standards which govern how highway work zones are set up. These include specific rules on signage, the distance from the work where the signage and warnings begin, the specific types and locations of barriers for the work zone, and the specific distances for notice of lane changes and lane closures.

There are situations where the company setting up the work zone may have violated governing regulations and standards. In those cases, workers injured or killed may have claims not only against the driver involved in the incident, but also against the company setting up the work zone.

This is why it is extremely important to work with attorneys who have in-depth experience with these types of cases, and the proven ability to successfully explore all potential legal avenues toward recovering damages. This not only ensures that victims and their families are fully compensated, but also that all responsible parties are held fully accountable. 

What is Driving the Increase in Work Zone Injuries and Fatalities?

As our infrastructure ages, more resources are being dedicated to fixing America’s roads and bridges. This means there are a greater number of road construction projects each year in West Virginia and throughout the country. This also comes at a time when our population continues to grow, and traffic congestion continues to increase. These conditions alone put more construction zone workers at risk of injury. 

There is another factor that is making things more dangerous for those who work in construction zones – distracted driving. Motorists have always had distractions, but our increasingly digitized society makes it more difficult for drivers to stay off of their cell phones.

Texting while driving and similar activities are especially dangerous, because they distract motorists in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. In other words, when a motorist is texting on their smartphone, this commands their entire focus and attention, which puts themselves and those they share the roads with in greater danger.

A recent study by the Strategic Highway Research Program found that distracted drivers are 29 times more likely to be involved in a work zone collision or near collision. This comprehensive nine-year study showed that drivers who spend any length of time distracted by a cell phone call, text, or another source when they are driving through a construction zone significantly increase their risk of a collision. In 2017, there were 799 work zone fatalities nationally, the highest number recorded in a decade.

Suffered a Road Construction Zone Injury in West Virginia? Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter

If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a road construction work zone accident that was caused by the negligence or reckless actions of another party, you deserve to be fully compensated. Call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.  today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys.