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The Law Office of Alan S. Rubin
A Louisville attorney practicing since 1987

Workers' compensation: Parents lack answers to son's death

The Kentucky Occupational and Safety Health office exists to enforce work safety regulations and to conduct investigations of workplace accidents, especially of accidents involving serious injuries and fatalities. Parents of a killed 17-year-old worker, along with a county prosecutor, have accused the KY OSH office of an incomplete and sloppy investigation of the boy's fatal accident. Experts state that incomplete investigations such as this one can affect workers' compensation benefits to an injured worker or family of a deceased victim.

The young man had begun a part-time job at a farm supply business that neighbored his family's home. His accident occurred shortly after he began his job. Very few details are known about the accident, although five employees were on site when the accident occurred. At some point, the boy had hitched a ride with another worker who was driving a forklift. It is unknown how it occurred, but he ended up on the ground and under the wheel of the forklift.

The boy died that night from his injuries. Seeking answers, his parents requested to review KY OSH's notes of the investigation, but they received very little answers. A county prosecutor and federal labor officers also reviewed the notes and were appalled that no witnesses were interviewed, few notes were made and few photos were taken of the scene of the accident. The company was fined only $3,500 by KY OSH for the circumstances surrounding the boy's death. The company has since closed for business.

Workplace accidents can be complicated. There is an expectation of employers to adhere to safety regulations, provide safety training and to provide a safe work environment. When those items do not occur, workers are at risk for serious injury and/or death. Kentucky attorneys familiar with employment law and workers' compensation can advise victims or families of deceased victims of their rights to compensation benefits or the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.

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