Workplace accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. No job is immune to them but some professions, like construction and maintenance, are more prone to injury than others.
One dead and one injured
Three contractors and one city employee were recently performing maintenance on a 1.5 million gallon water tank in Lemoore, California. According to reports, the contractors were in the process of welding a new stopper into the tank when it failed. The tank ruptured and exploded, flying through the air and landing on its top.
One of the contractors was operating a boom next to the tank when it ruptured. The explosion threw him approximately 50 feet. Although the other contractors rushed to his side and performed CPR until emergency crews arrived, the man did not survive. Another man, employed by the city of Lemoore and part of the repair team, was also injured but is expected to recover.
Compensation for injuries can be complex
The story illustrates how dangerous workplace accidents can be. But it also illustrates how complex they can become. Every worker is entitled to be compensated for injuries sustained in the course of their employment. But what is the proper route to take to recover that compensation?
Workers’ compensation is often helpful. Employers must be insured to pay for employee injuries when they occur, including medical expenses, lost wages and death benefits. But insurance companies are not interested in paying employees the most they can; their primary goal is to pay the least they can.
Although California law generally prohibits employees from suing their employer for workplace injuries, a third party may also be liable for accidents. The manufacturer of the water tank that failed, for instance, may be responsible for building a defective water tank, contributing to the death and injuries.
It is crucial that employees understand their rights and the options available to them when they are injured. Making sound decisions, with an experienced professional, will ensure they receive the compensation to which they are entitled.