Power linemen provide a valuable service to communities across the country by ensuring that electricity is transmitted to nearby hospitals, stores, homes, schools, government buildings, and other structures. In doing so, they are subject to considerable risks. Linemen who are injured while on the job are typically covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation policy which allows them to recuperate a part of the cost of medical bills and lost wages.
Although a power lineman would not be required to provide evidence of their employer’s negligence or their own lack of negligence in order to secure workers’ compensation benefits, they still need to demonstrate the validity and value of their damages and can encounter difficulties obtaining compensation. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Dolman Law Group are trusted by utility workers across the country to help them understand and navigate the workers’ compensation process with success. The offices of Dolman Law Group can be reached at (727) 451-6900 or through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Table of contents
- Occupational Hazards of Working as a Power Lineman
- Common Types of Injuries for Linemen
- Overview of the Workers’ Compensation Process for Injured Power Lineman
- Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent You in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
- Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Occupational Hazards of Working as a Power Lineman
In addition to construction labor, power line work is considered one of the most dangerous jobs, as reflected by rates of workers’ compensation claims among linemen. Linemen are tasked with installing, maintaining, and repairing powerlines that carry high-voltage electricity through a system of towers, conductors, and power lines. Power line workers are often called upon in the aftermath of a serious storm to clear debris and repair lines, which can increase their risk of injury. The two primary methods of injury for power linemen are exposure to high-voltage electricity and falling from a significant height.
In urban and rural areas, the average power line transmits over 1,000 volts of electricity, which is more than 8 times the voltage supplied by an outlet in an American home. Life-threatening electrical injuries have been reported with exposure to as low as 42 volts of electricity. Line workers can absorb dangerous levels of amps in an electric shock, resulting in burns, cardiac issues, and nerve damage. Electrocution can cause the body’s muscles to contract, preventing a line worker from releasing their grip and prolonging exposure.
Keep in mind that much of a line worker’s job is conducted at least 15 feet in the air from a bucket attached to a truck. If a power lineman sustains an injury from exposure to electricity, they may lose their balance and fall to the ground. Even without an electrical injury acting as a catalyst, linemen can still lose their footing. A lineman may overextend themselves while stretching to reach a pole, become dizzy from the heat, or be struck by tree branches and other debris, leading them to fall out of the suspended bucket.
Common Types of Injuries for Linemen
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 26 electric power line workers are killed each year. An average of 2,330 power line workers sustain non-fatal injuries annually, consistently placing electric power line work as one of the top professions for both fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. Even the most knowledgeable and experienced line workers can sustain life-threatening injuries, particularly if they fail to utilize personal protective equipment and follow safety protocols.
The most common power line worker injuries include:
- Electrical burns
- Nerve damage
- Cardiac arrest
- Respiratory distress
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Powerline Worker Electrical Injuries
Relatively superficial electrical burns are usually considered a typical hazard of the job for power line workers, but not all electrical injuries can be treated with a first aid kit. Severe electrical burns require immediate medical treatment, which may include surgery for skin grafts. After a serious electrical shock, there is also a significant risk of extensive internal damage to the body.
As the electrical current travels through the body, it can disrupt the heart’s rhythm, burst blood vessels, damage organs, and induce dangerous levels of swelling. Amputation, organ transplant, and other surgical interventions may be necessary. Power line workers are also vulnerable to catastrophic injuries to the back and head when they fall from great heights. This can temporarily compromise their mobility and function, or result in permanent deficits.
Overview of the Workers’ Compensation Process for Injured Power Lineman
If you have been injured on the job while working as a power lineman, you will likely have the option of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Make sure that you alert your employer about your injury immediately and get medical assistance as soon as you can. Insurance companies may be hesitant to offer compensation for your damages if you wait to get medical care because that can make it seem like you exaggerated your injuries to secure additional benefits.
It is not necessary to address fault in a workers’ compensation claim, either yours or your employer's. This stipulation helps expedite the process of securing benefits. In a workers’ compensation claim, your employer’s insurance carrier provides compensation for a percentage of your lost wages, medical bills, and economic costs like funeral expenses if the injury proves fatal. Injured employees are not eligible to recover compensation for non-economic damages in a workers’ compensation claim.
In rare instances, an employer may be subject to a personal injury lawsuit instead of a workers’ compensation claim. To justify forgoing the workers’ compensation claims process in favor of a civil lawsuit, the injured worker would need to have substantial evidence that their employer’s negligence was egregious and directly responsible for the power line accident that caused their injury or perhaps was even intentional. Personal injury lawsuits reimburse plaintiffs for economic and non-economic damages but demand significantly more from the injured party.
Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent You in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim and hoping that your employer’s insurance carrier treats you fairly is an unreliable strategy for recovering the benefits you are owed. At Dolman Law Group, we have protected the rights of injured workers for many years as they navigated the workers’ compensation claims process. Our team will work tirelessly to secure the full benefits you are entitled to, as we have done for countless other injured clients.
At Dolman Law Group, we make it a point to go above and beyond to negotiate fair resolutions for our clients’ workers’ compensation claims because we understand how important it is to offset a lost income stream and mounting medical bills so you can recover. We can also help you appeal a denied claim, check the status of your workers’ compensation claim, and seek permanent disability benefits if your injury becomes worse. Injured power line workers can benefit from our considerable resources, relentless work ethic, and lauded expertise in a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Utility workers are essential to keeping critical services operational, not to mention making the lives of everyday Americans safer and more comfortable. They also encounter numerous hazards in the course of their work that dramatically increase their risk of severe injury. At Dolman Law Group, our team of workers’ compensation attorneys proudly advocate on behalf of injured power linemen and their families.
It is a misconception that the workers’ compensation process is easy simply because you do not need to prove the other party’s negligence, as insurance companies want to justify the minimum amount of benefits possible. You may face significant resistance even if your claim is supported. Our team at Dolman Law Group is equipped to take on even the most challenging of claims.
You can reach out to our team at (727) 451-6900 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a respected workers’ compensation attorney. We will provide additional detail about what to expect from the workers’ compensation claims process, explain the damages available to you, and describe the legal services we offer as workers’ compensation lawyers.