Legal Options for Electrocution Victims

by | Sep 5, 2022 | Construction Accidents, Injuries

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, electrocution is one of the most common, and most preventable, fatal injuries at construction sites in Kentucky. A few dollars could mean the difference between profit and loss on a new construction, renovation, or other building project. To many bosses, simple precautions, like ground-fault circuit operators and maintaining a safe distance from power lines, are unnecessary costs.

Electrocutions cause two major kinds of injuries. The extreme heat that travels through an electric wire often triggers an involuntary muscle contraction, known as the “no-let-go” response. Therefore, these victims are exposed to heat that’s hotter than the temperature of the sun for several seconds. Additionally, electrocutions often cause arc blasts that propel victims through the air.

Serious burns often require extensive, and costly, treatment at regional burn centers. Blast-related falls usually cause serious injuries as well, especially since these victims are usually working several stories above ground at the time of contact. A Lexington personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for these medical bills, as well as other losses. As outlined below, several options are available, depending on the facts of the case.

Workers’ Compensation

Frequently, the no-fault benefits available through state workers’ compensation insurance are available. These benefits include lost wage replacement and medical bill payment. Although injured workers need not prove employer fault or negligence, these cases often have significant issues.

The wage replacement benefit is usually two-thirds of the victim’s Average Weekly Wage. To determine the AWW, insurance adjusters often just use a calendar and a calculator. But in most cases, it’s more complicated than that.

Taking the average of prior paychecks isn’t enough. Many workers receive non-cash or irregular compensation, like per diem, expense reimbursement, overtime pay, and bonuses. The AWW must include all these items. Furthermore, the AWW isn’t just backward-looking. It’s also forward-looking. For example, if Steve is hurt just before he’s due to receive a bonus, his AWW must include that bonus payment.

Insurance adjusters often dispute the reasonableness of medical expenses as well. Many insurance companies use boilerplate tables to determine what’s reasonable (e.g. a broken arm is X dollars and Y number of physical therapy sessions). But not all breaks are the same, and not everyone responds to physical therapy in the same way.

On a related note, job injury victims in Kentucky may choose their own doctors. Job injury victims in most other states must see the company doctor.

Nonsubscriber Claims

This N-word is a Legalese term that describes employers who don’t have workers’ compensation insurance, even though the law requires it.

Some nonsubscribers openly flaunt the law. They believe it’s cheaper to be uninsured and risk getting caught than it is to pay insurance premiums. In many cases, that assessment isn’t far from the truth. Workers’ compensation insurance is costly, especially for construction and other high-risk businesses. Furthermore, if inspectors catch the noncompliant company, which is a big “if,” the penalty is usually a fine that may barely exceed the money saved.

Other nonsubscribers make false statements on insurance forms. For example, up to 30 percent of companies misclassify employees as independent contractors. When insurance company auditors determine the truth of the matter, they usually deny coverage.

If workers’ compensation doesn’t apply, a Lexington personal injury attorney may file a civil claim. The law prohibits nonsubscribers from using some of the best defenses, like comparative fault. Therefore, it’s easier to prove negligence, or a lack of care.

Extreme Negligence

Workers’ compensation only applies to unintentional or non-malicious workplace injuries. It doesn’t apply to intentional or malicious work-related injuries.

Mostly to keep the project running on time, some bosses knowingly send workers to unsafe areas. Other bosses refuse to provide protective equipment, like asbestos protective suits to renovation or demolition workers.

Malicious work injuries aren’t quite as common, but they happen. Some bosses send workers to dangerous areas as a form of punishment or to “send a message” to others.

In both nonsubscriber and extreme negligence claims, victims are entitled not only to economic losses, but also to compensation for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. After-hours, virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.