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Thrift store worker dies when gun falls out of donated clothes

Certain Connecticut jobs are more dangerous than others. Construction workers, for instance, deal with heavy equipment and have to climb tall structures. Still, accidents - even fatal accidents - can happen at all kinds of workplaces. When they do, they leave the injured and their families struggling.

Recently, a worker was killed in a bizarre and tragic accident at work while sorting through donated clothes for a thrift store. According to police, the woman and a co-worker were going through piles of clothes when the co-worker found something inside a sock. The co-worker turned the sock upside-down to see what the object was and a handgun fell out, into the co-worker's hand, where it discharged. The bullet struck the woman in the chest. Police said they believe the shooting was accidental.

The woman's husband has said he thinks the company didn't do enough to ensure the safety of its employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident. A company spokesperson said it takes the safety of its employees very seriously, but has never experienced or anticipated an accident like this one.

When workers are injured on the job, they can be compensated for medical expenses and lost wages through workers' compensation benefits. In the case of a fatal workplace accident, the worker's family can typically receive compensation as well.

To collect benefits, injured workers or their families do not have to prove employer negligence or show that the company failed to address a safety hazard. However, those who collect benefits are generally barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit against the employer over the same accident. A Connecticut attorney can help injured workers or their families to get the benefits they deserve after an accident at work.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "The aftereffects of a tragic workplace accident," Barbara Brotman, March 17, 2014

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