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Resources For ​​Lineworkers And Utility Workers After Hurricane Ian

Resources For ​​Lineworkers And Utility Workers After Hurricane Ian

Resources For ​​Lineworkers And Utility Workers After Hurricane Ian 1080 1080 Panter, Panter & Sampedro

On September 28th, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall on the Southwest Florida coast as nearly a category five hurricane. In the weeks and months that followed, approximately 42,000  lineworkers from across the country arrived in Florida, traveling from as far as Ohio, to get devastated and powerless communities up and running again. 

As part of an intricate hurricane recovery system, lineworkers and utility workers are in particular danger as they work with electricity in wet and sometimes flooded areas to repair downed power lines, and damaged and destroyed transformers. Their work involves an inherent risk of injury. 

Two Utility Workers Injured in New Smyrna Beach, Florida

As recently as October 2nd, 2022, two lineworkers were injured while attempting to restore power to a New Smyrna Beach, Florida community. The utility workers were shocked while working to repair a damaged electrical box on the ground. One worker was flown to Orlando Regional Medical Center with serious injuries, while the other’s injuries were not life-threatening. 

What should a lineworker or utility worker do after being injured on the job? 

When a lineman or utility worker is injured while on the job, they should immediately seek medical attention. According to the Mayo Clinic, when an electrical current passes through the body, it may cause damage within the body, cardiac arrest, or other injuries. Electrocution may leave no visible outward signs, so it is important that emergency services be alerted to the accident right away. 

Bystanders should not touch an electrocuted person just after an accident occurs, as the electrical charge may pass from one person to another. Unless there is immediate danger, an electrocuted person should not be moved.

If possible to do so safely someone should turn off the source of electricity when possible. If electricity cannot be shut off, an individual may move the source of the electricity away using a non-conductive object made from plastic, wood, or cardboard. If the injured person shows no signs of circulation, such as coughing or movement, someone trained in CPR should immediately begin CPR. Helpers should also always follow the instructions of the emergency services operator. 

Workers’ Compensation for Lineworkers and Utility Workers Injured on the Job

A lineworker or utility worker should inform their employer of an injury as soon as possible. Typically, a worker has thirty days from the time of the incident to report it to their employer. The employer then has the duty to inform the company’s insurance company of the employee’s claim. Once the incident has been reported to the insurance company, the injured worker should receive an informative brochure within three days explaining their rights and responsibilities as well as information about the workers’ compensation law. The law may also be found here: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes. If an employer does not report the accident to the company’s insurance office, the employee has the right to contact the insurer directly. 

Who pays medical bills for injured lineworkers and utility workers? 

Lineworkers and utility workers who are injured on the job should seek immediate medical treatment from a medical provider authorized by the employer or the employer’s insurance company. Any medical bills incurred should then be submitted by the medical provider to the insurance company for payment. 

What happens if an insurance company does not pay fair compensation? 

When a person risks their life in a profession such as those working as lineworkers and utility workers, they expect that should they get injured, their insurance company or employer will act honorably and conform to the requirements of the law. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. An individual should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney should they feel as though their employer or employer’s insurer is not complying with their legal obligation. 

Can an employer be sued if a lineworker is injured on the job? 

Even though being a lineworker or utility worker is inherently risky, there are instances when an employee may bring a lawsuit against their employer. For example, an employee may receive broader damages from their employer if their employer engages in conduct that the employer knew, based on prior similar accidents or on explicit warnings specifically identifying a known danger, was virtually certain to result in injury or death to the employee.  The employee must establish that they were not aware of the risk because the danger was not apparent and the employer deliberately concealed or misrepresented the danger so as to prevent the employee from exercising informed judgment about whether to perform the work.  An individual should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney should they feel as though their employer or employer’s insurer is not complying with their legal obligation.

Call Panter, Panter, and Sampedro

For over thirty years, the dedicated personal injury attorneys of Panter, Panter, and Sampedro have been working one-on-one with clients to ensure they get the justice, recovery, and compensation they deserve. To speak to a lawyer about your individual case, call (305) 662-6178 for a free consultation. 













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