How Do Workplace Accidents Affect Ohio Families?
We have been blogging about fatal workplace accidents all week, as the number of deaths in Ohio increased in 2014.
With this in mind, recently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer had an alarming story about how workplace accidents continue to take a toll on family members in Ohio. The newspaper interviewed, Shaun Houle, 28, of Stole, whose father Raymond was electrocuted in 2011 while repairing power lines in Canal Fulton.
Raymond had worked for FirstEnergy Corp. for 20 years prior to his death. “I was completely horrified when this happened. It didn’t make sense to me,” said Shaun, according to the Plain Dealer. “There’s no reason why that should have happened. It was a routine job and no complexity to it.”
Houle’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the utility company contending that Raymond’s death was the result of safety violations. The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) fined the company $21,000 following the accident for its role in the incident.
The lawsuit was settled before it went to trial and FirstEnergy Corp. contested the OSHA fines. Shaun said following the settlement, he began to learn more about how OSHA categorizes workplace accidents. He went on to discover that in certain industries, OSHA is not called in to investigate accidents, so data the agency releases to the public about accidents may not be correct.
Additionally, Shaun said in some industries, “it’s cheaper to pay up to $7,000 per offense in fines to OSHA if someone gets hurt, than it would be to spend a lot more on training and implementing safety procedures.”
My Family Member Was Killed in a Columbus Workplace Accident. Do I Have Legal Rights?
It is sad that so many families in Ohio are being impacted by fatal workplace accidents. Many family members are unaware that you can collect workers’ compensation death benefits following an incident. While no amount of money will bring a victim back, it may help a family recover financially by making up for his or her lost income.
In addition to death benefits, family members may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit or pursue third-party litigation following a workplace accident.
Our Columbus workers’ compensation lawyers provide compassionate counsel for grieving families following fatal workplace accidents. We have law offices in Columbus, Zanesville and Newark.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC – Columbus Workers’ Comp Attorneys