A construction worker suffered serious electric shock injuries and burns when a downed power line struck him at a job site in Alexandria, Virginia (VA). The nearly fatal workplace accident happened in the 700 block of Wythe Street on the morning of October 19, 2016.
According to witnesses and emergency responders, a crane knocked loose an overhead electric transmission wire. The cable essentially landed on the construction worker. Investigators continued working through the rest of the workweek to determine why the crane struck the wire.
Fatal electrocutions from downed power lines are common. It appears that the victim of this industrial accident in Alexandria will survive, but he will likely suffer long-lasting and disabling negative effects from getting shocked so badly. Loss of muscle control, persistent nerve pain, memory loss, and intellectual deficits often follow shocks with high doses of electricity. Electric shock victims can also experience upsetting changes in personality and have trouble controlling their emotions and thought processes.
Even if the construction worker hospitalized after being electrically shocked makes a full recovery, he will experience a short-term disability while regaining his health. Applying for workers' compensation benefits could help him cover medical care costs and replace lost wages, but worker's compensation benefits are very limited and are received in exchange for not making any sort of claim against one’s employer. Personal injury claims against one’s own employer are barred by Virginia's state workers’ compensation law.
On the other hand, the injured workers might have grounds for seeking compensation from the company that employed the crane operator if certain circumstances apply. If the injured worker and the crane operator were part of the same construction crew employed by the same company, no third-party negligence action would be allowed.
Consulting with a knowledgeable and dedicated Virginia personal injury lawyer who has experience handling negligence claims against third parties and electrical shock injury cases would help the injured construction worker understand his legal rights and options. Our law firm has handled cases involving electrical shock received after a crane contacted overhead power lines, as well as other serious electric shock claims. Experience matters here because injuries from overhead power lines involve state and federal regulations. Also, presenting evidence from physicians regarding shock injuries and resulting disabilities requires meeting special challenges.