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Stray bullet causes fatal workplace injury to 'Cops' crew member

A recent fatality on a film set shows that workers in all industries face hazardous situations on a daily basis. Colorado residents may be familiar with "Cops," the reality TV show that has been portraying law enforcement as it happens since 1989. The production company responsible for filming these dangerous scenes may not be doing enough to protect the crew members against harm, and -- as in this case -- a fatal workplace injury. Upon completion of an accident investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration instructed the production company to implement proper training and improved safety procedures while filming.

The accident reportedly happened in August of last year while the crew was filming the progress of an armed robbery attempt in a neighboring state. Gunfire ensued, and one of the crew members was struck by a stray bullet that was fired by a police officer. Although the worker was wearing a bulletproof vest, the bullet missed the vest and caused a fatal wound.

OSHA recommended the production company pay particular attention to training workers in methods of filming from increased distances when gunfire is expected in the vicinity. The company was instructed to carefully consider the scenes it intends to film and avoid those that may threaten the lives of its workers. In addition, the agency suggested the removal of encouraging incentives for crew members who risk their lives in an attempt to capture scenes that will ensure more action on the TV show.

Colorado families who have had to deal with the untimely death of a loved one after a fatal workplace injury may pursue a claim for financial assistance to cope with unexpected expenses and the lack of an ongoing income. Workers' compensation insurance benefits will likely cover the end-of-life expenses and provide some level of wage compensation. However, in cases where a worker's death is caused by another party, unrelated to the employer of the deceased, a third-party claim may be filed in a civil court. Successful presentation may lead to a monetary judgment to cover documented financial losses.

Source: koaa.com, "Agency suggests changes after 'Cops' crewman's death", Kourtney Liepelt, Feb. 17, 2015

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