When an employee has been electrocuted at work or suffered an electric shock, they or their family may have a case for Worker’s Compensation benefits against the person’s employer and a case for pain and suffering compensation against other responsible third parties. Independent contractors may also sue.
Electrocuted at work versus suffering an electric shock
There is a difference between being electrocuted at work and being injured as a result of an electric shock. When a person is electrocuted, the tragic result is death. When a person suffers an electric shock, the result is an injury – often a very serious and potentially life-altering injury – but the person lives.
Worker’s Compensation benefits
The family of the deceased will likely have a case for Worker’s Compensation death benefits from the employee’s employer. Those benefits will generally cover lost wages that the employee’s dependents would have relied on for support. Benefits may also cover funeral expenses.
If the employee suffers a non-fatal injury caused by electricity, then he or she will have a case against his or her employer for Worker’s Compensation benefits to cover medical bills and lost wages.
Worker’s Compensation benefits when an independent contractor is electrocuted at work
When an independent contractor has been electrocuted at work, his or her family will generally NOT have a case for Worker’s Compensation benefits from the person or business that hired him or her to do the job. In most states, only employees and the families of employees are entitled to Worker’s Comp benefits.
Wrongful death lawsuit
The “exclusive remedy” provisions of most states’ Worker’s Comp laws prevent the employee’s family from suing the employer for wrongful death. However, a wrongful death case can generally be brought against third parties who are not the employer or co-worker.
“Exclusive remedy” provisions are rules in most states’ Worker’s Compensation laws that limit an injured employee’s ability to sue their employers for injuries they suffer on the job, i.e., personal injuries that arise out of and in the course of their employment.
Wrongful death lawsuit when an independent contractor is electrocuted at work
When an independent contractor is electrocuted at work, his or her family will generally be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against both the business that hired the independent contractor and any responsible third parties.
Because independent contractors are generally not covered by states’ Worker’s Compensation laws, they are not subject to those laws’ “exclusive remedy” provisions. As a result, independent contractors are not restricted from suing the businesses or people who hired them to work for injuries they suffered on the job.
Pain and suffering claim
If the employee’s injuries are not fatal most states’ Worker’s Comp laws prevent the employee from suing the employer for pain and suffering compensation. However, a case can generally be brought against responsible third parties other than the employer or a co-worker.
Pain and suffering claim for an independent contractor
When an independent contractor is electrocuted at work, but the injuries do not result in death, he or she will generally be able to bring a lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation and other economic damages against both the business that hired the independent contractor and any other responsible third parties.
Unlike “employees” whose ability to sue their employers is limited by most states’ Worker’s Comp law, independent contractors are not covered by Worker’s Comp and, thus, they are not restricted in their ability to sue for personal injuries suffered on the job.
Are third parties liable?
Third parties – other than an employer or a co-worker – who may be deemed responsible for an electrocution at work that results in death or injury may include:
- Companies and/or contractors who were involved in the inspection, maintenance and repair of utility power lines, utility poles, utility pole tops and utility pole top facilities (such as devices, hardware, attachments, braces, insulators, pins, insulator ties, crossarms and transformers)
- The manufacturer, seller or distributor of the power line at issue
- The company that designed or manufactured a defective component on a utility line, pole or structure
Need help from an experienced electrocution lawyer?
If you or someone you love is a victim of serious personal injury or death caused by electricity, you can call and speak with Jeff Feldman, perhaps the nation’s most experienced electrocution attorney. Jeff has litigated cases involving low hanging power lines and against utility companies in states throughout the country. You can call toll free at (800) 548-0043 for a free consultation.