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Workplace fatalities increase nationwide

Going to work is a part of West Virginians' everyday lives. As routine as it may seem, though, nearly every job poses some sort of risk to those who perform them. Far too often, workplace accidents leave employees with serious injuries that result in the need for extensive medical care. Making matters worse, many of these individuals are unable to work, meaning that they cannot earn a wage to help cover their medical expenses.

Those individuals who survive a workplace accident, though, can consider themselves lucky. According to a recently released Labor Department report, workplace fatalities increased in 2015. In fact, more than 4,800 workers were killed on the job in 2015, the most since 2008 with over 5,000 workplace deaths. Roadway accidents accounted for about a quarter of these deaths, and construction accidents accounted for 937 of these deaths.

The report highlights the need for safer work environments. Although state and federal regulations seek to ensure worker safety, employers often fail to adhere to them. Regardless of whether an employer has broken the rules, an individual who has been injured on the job, as well as those who have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, may be able to recover compensation for their losses via the workers' compensation system.

Pursuing a workers' compensation claim can be challenging, though. Oftentimes claims are denied, for a variety of reasons, necessitating an appeal. Those who fail to adequately prepare their appeal put themselves at risk of another denial, which could leave them with significant financial hardship for a long time to come. Therefore, before pursuing their claim, these individuals should ensure that their claim is thoroughly prepared with legal arguments that show how it meets the state's requirements. Those who want to learn more about how the workers' compensation system may benefit them, and how best to pursue a claim, can speak with a legal professional.

Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail, "Workplace deaths up nationwide in 2015, Labor Department report shows," Ken Ward Jr., Dec. 16, 2016

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