Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Increased Fatal Work Injuries in Minnesota in 2010

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, in 2010, there were 69 fatal work injuries in Minnesota, compared with 60 fatal work injuries in 2009, and 71 fatal work injuries in 2008. The average number of work-related fatalities between 2005 and 2009 was 73 cases per year. 

The industries with the highest number of fatalities were agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, with 29 work-related deaths, which were most commonly caused by either contact with objects and equipment or transportation incidents. There were nine workers killed in the construction industry in 2010, which was the second highest fatality rate. Retail trade had the third-highest number of fatalities in 2010, with seven cases.

Transportation incidents accounted for 25 fatalities, and it was the most frequent fatal work-related event. Contacts with objects and equipment accounted for 17 fatalities, and the most common types of injury included being struck by a falling object or getting caught in or crushed in collapsing materials. There were 13 workplace fatalities in Minnesota due to assaults and violent acts in 2010, and there were 10 fatalities resulting from falls.

Men accounted for 63 of the 69 worker fatalities in Minnesota in 2010. Workers over the age of 55 accounted for 24 work-related fatalities in 2010. Self-employed workers accounted for 23 fatalities in 2010.

Dependents of deceased workers who died as the result of a work-related injury or illness may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, dependents include 1) spouses, 2) children under the age of 18, 3) children under the age of 25 who are full-time students, and 4) children over the age of 18 who are deemed to be physically or mentally incapacitated from earning. Other family members, including the deceased worker’s mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, mother-in-law, or father-in-law, may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if the family member was wholly or partially supported by the deceased worker.

Dependents of workers who die as the result of a work-related illness injury may be entitled to burial expense benefits of up to $15,000.00.

Dependents may also be entitled to dependency compensation based on the deceased workers’ average weekly wage at the time of the injury which resulted in the employee’s death.

In addition to dependency benefits, a deceased workers’ survivors may also be entitled to any workers’ compensation benefits that would have been available to the injured worker, such as wage loss benefits, including temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits, or permanent total disability (PTD) benefits, or permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.

If your loved one died as the result of a work-related injury or illness, you should strongly consider contacting a workers’ compensation attorney to make sure you and your family receive the workers’ compensation death and dependency benefits you are entitled to.

The law in this area of Minnesota workers’ compensation has changed frequently over the years, and it is very complex. You’d be well advised to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side to make sure you get all the benefits you are entitled to. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email.


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