power linemen injury and death

What is the Death Rate for Power Linemen?

Being a power lineman is listed as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America. There are approximately 21 lineman deaths per 100,000 workers. This puts electrical power line installers and repairers at #9 on the top 10 workplace fatality rate list, right behind farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers. 

Doing electrical work in high places carries inherent risks that those in other occupations do not face, but the fatal injury rate among power linemen/utility workers is still much higher than it should be. Utility companies are giant entities with no competition in most areas of the country. Unfortunately, this means that these organizations are far too concerned about their bottom line at the expense of the safety of the workers they employ.

If you or someone close to you was injured or killed working as a power lineman, it is very important to speak with an experienced linemen injuries and death attorney, so you fully understand your legal rights and options. Utility companies have vast resources, and they can afford to retain armies of lawyers whose job is to mitigate their losses from incidents such as lineman deaths. This is why you need a strong advocate in your corner with the proven ability to recover maximum compensation – even in highly complex cases like these.

Why is Being a Power Lineman so Dangerous?

As we touched on earlier, climbing to the top of a utility line to perform electrical work is a risky job even under the best of circumstances. Throw in days when there are high winds, severe rainstorms, ice, snow, and other inclement weather, and you can see why being a power lineman/utility worker is not for the faint of heart.

Utility companies do not help matters when they choose to put profits over people. Here are just a few ways these companies cut corners to try to save a few dollars:

Minimized Staff

The root cause of most of the problems that lead to power linemen deaths is failure to hire an adequate number of utility workers to perform the work safely. Companies tend to do this so they can keep their benefits costs to a minimum. They are willing to pay overtime to workers when needed, because they still believe they can save money this way.

What many companies fail to consider is that staffing shortages lead to numerous other costly issues. For example, when there are not enough workers, it puts undue stress on those who are working. This can often mean 60, 70, even 80 hour or more work weeks. With overburdened workloads comes the tendency to work when you are tired and not as focused and as you should be. This can lead to critical mistakes on the job, some of which can be deadly.

Inadequate Training

Another common byproduct of being short-staffed is not taking the time to properly train new workers that are hired. It literally takes years to learn everything there is to know about being a power lineman, and much of this knowledge can only be acquired by being out there on the job.  But companies need to have more comprehensive training programs that provide a strong foundation for linemen/utility workers from which to build. In far too many instances, workers are thrown out there without the proper training to do the job safely and effectively.

Lack of Adequate Supervision

Staffing problems can also show up at the managerial level. Without enough employees to properly supervise utility workers, things are far less organized than they should be, and the required safety protocols are not always followed.

Not Using Proper Safety Gear

Utilities are a highly regulated industry with numerous governing laws and regulations, many of which spell out the tools and safety equipment workers are required to use. For example, utility companies are supposed to ensure that power line workers wear burn resistant clothing and the required helmets, gloves, and shoes to help perform the job safely.

Call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Help with Power Lineman Injury or Death Claims

If you or a loved one was injured or killed working as a power lineman, there are several potential avenues from which to recover compensation. These may include a workers’ compensation claim, a product liability claim, a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, or in some cases (depending on the state the incident occurred in), a lawsuit against the utility company.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we can meet with you to thoroughly assess your case, advise you of your legal rights, and sort through all of the options you may have. It is also important to note that we accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you never have to pay any upfront attorney fees. You only pay if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.

Call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

construction accident lawyers

The Importance of Expert Witnesses in Construction Site Accident Lawsuits

Construction is a dangerous profession that involves the continual use of hard objects and heavy machinery in a fast-paced environment. These conditions pose a constant danger to those working at the job site and even those who are passing by. Construction site accidents happen frequently, and when they do, those who are injured are usually eligible for compensation.

Recovering compensation in a construction site accident injury is a complicated process. There are several potential causes for the accident and multiple parties that could be at fault. As such, there are many possible avenues available to obtain appropriate relief. This may include filing a workers’ compensation claim with the employer, filing a personal injury or product liability lawsuit against a third party, or filing a deliberate intent lawsuit against the employer.

Some parties that may be responsible when a construction accident occurs include:

  • The injured worker’s employer;
  • The construction site owner;
  • An equipment, machinery, or product designer or manufacturer;
  • A subcontractor;
  • An architect or engineer;
  • A government agency.

To determine liability, an extensive investigation is required to find out how the accident happened and uncover the root causes. Once you find out the cause of the accident and who was responsible, you must also show that the accident resulted in compensable losses (i.e., damages) to the injured party. Throughout this process, expert witnesses can be invaluable in providing clarity regarding certain aspects of the case for which they have specialized knowledge.

What is an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses are professionals who have in-depth knowledge, education, training, and experience in a certain field, and can draw on this expertise to provide authoritative testimony to explain various facts and pieces of evidence that fall within their area of specialty. Unlike eyewitnesses, expert witnesses almost never witnessed the actual event. However, their testimony can carry a lot of weight with the court because they provide objective opinions that are viewed as highly credible by a judge or jury.

Expert Witnesses that are Used in Construction Site Accident Cases

Each accident case is unique, and the types of expert witnesses that are used will vary from case to case. These experts are chosen carefully by the plaintiffs’ legal counsel based on what aspects of the case are most critical for proving liability, causation, and damages.

Some of the experts that are frequently called upon in construction accident cases include:

  • Accident Reconstructionists: When the cause of a construction site accident is in dispute, the testimony of an accident reconstructionist can help to cut through the speculation and clarify exactly what happened. Accident reconstructionists review multiple pieces of evidence, including the accident report and photos of the job site, to put together a timeline of events and determine (with as much certainty as possible) what caused the accident.
  • Designers and Engineers: If the construction accident was caused by a faulty product design, equipment failure, or something related, a designer or engineer can help shed light on what went wrong and how the defect or failure contributed to the accident.
  • Medical Professionals: In almost all personal injury lawsuits in which the plaintiff sustained moderate to severe injuries, the testimony of the plaintiff’s primary physician and other medical experts is very important to show the extent of the injuries. Medical professionals can speak to areas such as the plaintiff’s diagnosis, treatment and recovery plan, future prognosis, and how their medical condition will affect their ability to work. Psychologists and psychiatrists may also be called on to speak to any trauma and other emotional damage that may have resulted from the injury.
  • Economists: When someone is injured in a construction site accident, there are likely to be major financial implications. An economist can explain the overall economic cost of the injury, such as the medical expenses (both present and future), lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity.
  • Vocational Experts: A vocational expert can provide some specific insights on the work the plaintiff was able to perform before the injury, and how the injury has affected their ability to continue working. And if the plaintiff is unable to return to his/her previous job, a vocational expert can explain why this is the case and help the jury understand what work (if any) the plaintiff is still able to perform after he/she reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI).

Injured at a Construction Site in West Virginia? Call the Experienced Attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

If you have suffered injuries from a construction accident, you may be eligible for compensation.  But as mentioned earlier, these cases are highly complex, and you need a seasoned attorney by your side to advocate forcefully for your rights and interests and to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over 40 years of experience successfully representing clients who have suffered all types of personal injuries in West Virginia. We work closely with our clients, putting our in-depth experience to work and calling on expert witnesses when necessary to help ensure that our clients recover every dollar of compensation they are entitled to.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our web contact form.

work zone fatality

Work Zone Fatalities on the Rise in Recent Years

Although many motorists complain about it, road construction is necessary to keep our roadways safe and well-maintained. This is especially important in states like West Virginia, where heavy snowfalls during the winter combined with below freezing temperatures put a ton of wear and tear on our roads. Come springtime, potholes litter the landscape, making it much harder to travel safely around the state.

To repair our streets, roads, highways, and bridges, construction workers are forced to put in hundreds of man hours throughout the warm months. Construction zone workers have a very dangerous job. They must work with heavy machinery and equipment, hard objects, and in tight and enclosed areas where vehicles are continually passing through. To top it all off, much of this work is performed after dark when there are fewer cars on the road and less disruption to traffic.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, hundreds of construction zone workers are killed and more than 20,000 are injured in road construction accidents each year. Many of these accidents are caused by employer negligence; resulting in workers being struck by objects, caught in-between construction equipment and machinery, being backed into or run into by a construction vehicle, and similar incidents. 

A large percentage of these injuries and fatalities are also caused by driver negligence. Some common ways motorists cause work zone injuries include:

  • Speeding
  • Aggressive/reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving

In West Virginia, speeding in a construction zone is a criminal violation, which is punishable with fines of up to $200 and up to 20 days in jail. Motorists who cause construction zone accidents may face other criminal charges as well, such as reckless driving or DUI. Unfortunately, the imposition of criminal penalties does little to comfort construction zone workers who suffer serious injuries or families of construction zone workers who are killed by the actions of negligent or reckless motorists.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., our lawyers have stood up for the working people of West Virginia for several decades. When we take a case, we thoroughly investigate the accident and the circumstances that resulted in the construction zone worker’s injury or death, and we fight hard for every dollar of compensation our clients are entitled to.

These cases can be highly complex, because they could potentially involve legal action against multiple potential parties. There are several regulations and industry safety standards which govern how highway work zones are set up. These include specific rules on signage, the distance from the work where the signage and warnings begin, the specific types and locations of barriers for the work zone, and the specific distances for notice of lane changes and lane closures.

There are situations where the company setting up the work zone may have violated governing regulations and standards. In those cases, workers injured or killed may have claims not only against the driver involved in the incident, but also against the company setting up the work zone.

This is why it is extremely important to work with attorneys who have in-depth experience with these types of cases, and the proven ability to successfully explore all potential legal avenues toward recovering damages. This not only ensures that victims and their families are fully compensated, but also that all responsible parties are held fully accountable. 

What is Driving the Increase in Work Zone Injuries and Fatalities?

As our infrastructure ages, more resources are being dedicated to fixing America’s roads and bridges. This means there are a greater number of road construction projects each year in West Virginia and throughout the country. This also comes at a time when our population continues to grow, and traffic congestion continues to increase. These conditions alone put more construction zone workers at risk of injury. 

There is another factor that is making things more dangerous for those who work in construction zones – distracted driving. Motorists have always had distractions, but our increasingly digitized society makes it more difficult for drivers to stay off of their cell phones.

Texting while driving and similar activities are especially dangerous, because they distract motorists in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. In other words, when a motorist is texting on their smartphone, this commands their entire focus and attention, which puts themselves and those they share the roads with in greater danger.

A recent study by the Strategic Highway Research Program found that distracted drivers are 29 times more likely to be involved in a work zone collision or near collision. This comprehensive nine-year study showed that drivers who spend any length of time distracted by a cell phone call, text, or another source when they are driving through a construction zone significantly increase their risk of a collision. In 2017, there were 799 work zone fatalities nationally, the highest number recorded in a decade.

Suffered a Road Construction Zone Injury in West Virginia? Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter

If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a road construction work zone accident that was caused by the negligence or reckless actions of another party, you deserve to be fully compensated. Call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.  today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys.