Working for a public transit authority can involve many risks. The potential for a work injury can rest in any number of areas, given the type and size of the vehicles, and even the need for late night shift to ensure that the vehicles are properly serviced and maintained.

Recently, a VTA employee was killed when he was hit by a bus in the maintenance yard. The 62-year-old man was a 22-year veteran employee who was working his regular late-night shift. He was cleaning and fueling buses when the accident occurred. Another VTA worker was driving the bus that hit and killed the man. After the accident, he was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Laws vary by state, but many workplace injuries are covered by worker's compensation. When an employee is injured or killed on the job, they may be entitled to those worker's comp benefits. Benefits typically include monetary compensation for replacement income and retaining, as well as medical expenses associated with treatment of the injury and compensation for any injuries that are deemed permanent. In an instance where a worker has been killed in a workplace accident, the surviving family members may be entitled to benefits. However, worker's comp generally does not cover damages for pain and suffering.


Following one's passions can come with many risks, including the uncertainty of whether the pursuit will be successful. Sometimes, that pursuit can also involve physical danger. However, while chasing a dream of working with animals can involve some physical risk, a work injury from an animal can still be a shocking, traumatic and potentially deadly experience.

Recently, a 24-year-old volunteer at a California zoo was killed by a lion while the volunteer was cleaning the enclosure. During the cleaning, the lion was inside its feeding cage so that the animal would be separated from the enclosure. However, investigators believe that it escaped from its cage, allowing it into the enclosure to attack the volunteer. Cal-OSHA is conducting an investigation in whether the intern was performing a task that placed her in danger, as well as whether there was proper instruction to employees about the dangers.

Generally, workers who have been injured in a workplace accident can get workers' compensation to cover their injuries. However, workers' comp statutes in many states exclude volunteers and casual workers from coverage. In a tragic situation such as this one, where a worker is killed in a workplace accident, the surviving family members may be able to bring a wrongful death action against the work place if the death was caused by the negligence of the company or entity.


Owning and riding a motorcycle is the dream for many people. Particularly in cities like San Jose, where the weather is temperate for most of the year, people may want to take advantage a longer riding season. However, with the increase in motorcycle riders, there is also an increase in risk for a motorcycle rider to be involved in a car accident.

A motorcyclist from Sunnyvale recently crashed into the back of a car on the highway and was killed. The rider was thrown from the motorcycle, and then the bike caught fire. Officials believe that the rider was lane splitting on the highway when the accident occurred.

Lane splitting, which is legal in California, is when a motorcycle straddles the dividing line between lanes for the purpose of moving though slow traffic. At the time of the motorcycle accident early in the evening, traffic had been slow moving.


Many workers, including construction workers and factory workers, face safety risks on the job. Even when factories and plants take all necessary precautions and follow all regulations, workers can still become victim to tragedies such as power equipment accidents and injuries or injuries involving other factory machinery. Any San Jose workplace attorney knows of these dangers.

Such a tragedy recently struck a California tuna processing plant. One employee was killed when he was locked inside the oven that cooks the tuna. The employee was a 62-year-old man who had worked at the tuna processing plant for 6 years. The company did not comment, but one of its competitors stated that it has a standardized procedure when cooking tuna that ensures that no worker is locked inside the oven. The tuna plant involved in this accident has not received any citations from the regulatory body, Cal-OSHA.

Food factories in California have enjoyed a relatively clear safety record in general. According to Cal-OSHA, there were 326 deaths related to workplace accidents in 2010, and of those, eight were in the food industry. However, industries like the construction industry have higher rates of injury and death.


A worker injured on the job can face a number of financial problems. Construction accidents, driving accidents and injuries from defective equipment can leave workers with medical bills and other expenses. The system of workers' compensation insurance is designed to protect workers in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the state from shouldering those high costs on their own.

For anyone who was recently injured or is currently seeking workers' compensation benefits in California, things just got more complicated, however. State legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill that revises the state's system by limiting lawsuits for workplace injuries and increasing disability benefits. Now, anyone injured at work must navigate a new process to in order to find financial relief.

Those who turn to the workers' compensation system may find that the payments they receive are not equivalent to their average wage. This is because workers' compensation is set up to provide benefits to people who sustain a work injury, regardless of whether an employer or the employee is at fault. The workers' compensation system was not set up to fully compensate an employee for all potential damages, as in a civil lawsuit, or to provide benefits for harm caused by a third party, such as the maker of a defective product or a subcontractor of the employer. Instead, compensation from third parties requires a separate legal claim.

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