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Legal News in Minnesota

America’s 10 Most Dangerous Occupations and How Work-Related Fatalities are Treated by the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics December 16, 2016, Economic News Release, there were a total of 4,836 recorded work injuries that resulted in death in 2015, which amounted to an overall rate of fatalities of 3.38 per 100,000 full-time workers. While there are multiple contributing factors, like workers’ age, training and experience, based on the government statistics, your chances of getting killed on the job are much higher if you work in the following occupations:

1. Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations – 25.3 (deaths per 100,000 workers)
2. Supervisors of construction and extraction workers – 16.1
3. Grounds maintenance workers – 15.0
4. Transportation and material moving occupations – 14.7
5. Construction and extraction occupations – 12.5
6. Equipment and vehicle installation, maintenance, and repair occupations – 7.6
7. Protective service occupations like firefighting and law enforcement workers – 6.2
8. Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations – 5.8
9. Production occupations – 3.0
10. Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations – 2.4

For more information, see fatal occupational injuries counts and rates for selected occupations, 2014-15.

In Minnesota, in tragic cases involving fatal accidents or severe injuries that result in death, regardless who is at fault, the surviving family members have several remedies and benefits available under the workers’ compensation statute. Those benefits include burial expenses of up to $15,000.00, dependency benefits to the persons who were wholly or partially dependent on the deceased worker, and vocational rehabilitation services for a dependent spouse. In cases where dependency benefits are payable, the minimum amount is $60,000.00. That amount could be payable to the dependent wife, child, husband, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, sister, brother, mother-in-law and father-in-law, in various combinations, but generally in that order.

Because the statute establishes different priorities for who can receive dependency benefits, when, and in what amount, the math can become fairly confusing for a grieving family. Things can get even more complicated when Social Security Survivor’s Benefits come into play. As a result, in some circumstances, the workers’ compensation insurance company may interpret the situation differently and either question or deny either part or whole payments to eligible individuals.

If you find yourself in a similar position, or if you have any other questions concerning dependency benefits, you should contact Yuri Jelokov at Farrish Johnson Law Office for a free consultation.  Call 507-625-2525.