Workers Compensation Lawyers and Attorneys in Los Angeles on DWP Workers Critically Injured
Two workers with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) suffered serious injuries in an electrical accident while working near a subterranean vault near Echo Park. According to a news report on Patch.com, paramedics were called to the scene at 400 S. Hoover St. where they rescued the two workers and rushed them to a nearby hospital. Los Angeles Fire Department officials said one of the workers came in contact with energized electrical equipment and that the other worker suffered burn injuries.
Injuries Caused by Electric Shock
Electrical injuries often occur with catastrophic consequences. Whether in the construction business or other types of work, electrical injuries are often fatal. Three primary factors affect the severity of the shock a person receives when he or she comes into contact with an electrical circuit – the amount of current flowing through the body, the path of the current through the body and the length of time the body is in the circuit.
Other factors that may affect the severity of the injury include the voltage of the current, the presence of moisture in the environment, the phase of the heart cycle when the shock occurs and the general health of the individual prior to the incident. The effects of an electrical accident could range from a barely perceptible tingle to severe burn injuries and immediate cardiac arrest, severe internal organ damage and death.
Here are some of the most common types of injuries sustained in electrical accidents:
- Burn injuries: The most common injuries that occur in an electrical accident are burns. Burn injuries sustained in electrical incidents may be of three types. Electrical burns cause tissue damage and result from heat generated by the flow of electric current through the body. Electric burns are among the most serious injuries one can suffer and require prompt medical attention, treatment and care. High temperatures near the body produced by an electric arc or explosion cause what are known as arc or flash burns. These are also serious injuries that should receive immediate attention. Thirdly, thermal contact burns occur when the skin comes into contact with overheated electric equipment or when clothing catches fire in an electrical incident.
- Internal injuries: When excessive electricity flows through the human body, serious damage could occur to internal organs. Resulting medical problems include hemorrhaging or internal bleeding, tissue damage (or destruction), and nerve or muscle damage. These internal injuries may not be visible to the victim or observers. However, if left untreated, they could prove fatal.
- Involuntary muscle contraction: Normal muscle contraction is caused by very small amounts of electricity that are created within our bodies. However, when stimulated by excessive amounts of electricity, muscles tend to contract violently. This could cause damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments. It may even cause broken bones. If the victim is holding an electrocuting object, hand muscles may contract making it impossible to drop the object and prolonging contact with the current. Injury or death may also occur when violent muscle contractions cause workers to fall from ladders and scaffolds or inadvertently strike other objects.
If You Are Injured On the Job
There are several steps you can take if you are injured on the job:
- File an accident report right away. Make sure your supervisor is notified of your injury as soon as possible. If your injury or illness developed over time, report it as soon as you learn about it and believe it was caused by your job. Under California law, if you don’t report your injury within 30 days, you may lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
- If it’s an emergency, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away. Tell the medical staff that your injury or illness is job-related. If you are able to safely do so, contact your employer for further instructions. If you don’t need emergency treatment, make sure you get first aid and see a doctor.
- Your employer should give you or mail you a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1) within one working day after you report your injury or illness. Use this form to request workers’ compensation benefits. In this form, describe your injury completely and then give the form to your employer. Do this as soon as possible.
- Be sure to get good medical care. A doctor who understands your particular type of injury should treat you. Your doctor should prescribe the appropriate treatment and care, help determine when you can return to work, identify the type of work you can do safely while recovering, refer you to specialists and write medical reports that will help determine the benefits you receive.
- It would be in your best interest to preserve whatever evidence you can from the accident scene. Get contact information for any eyewitnesses such as bystanders or co-workers who saw you getting injured. Your attorney can help preserve any type of equipment that caused your injury.
- Contact an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer who can help protect your rights every step of the way and assist you with what can be a complex legal process.
Know Your Rights
Your employer cannot fire you because you suffered an injury on the job or because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. It’s also illegal for your employer to retaliate against a co-worker who testifies in your case. Under California law, an employer with 50 or more employees usually must let you take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks without losing your job, if you need time off for a serious medical condition. If you suffer a disability, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it illegal for your employer to discriminate against you because of a serious disability. You may also be able to get other benefits whether you have suffered temporary or permanent disability.
The experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyers at the ODG Law Group can help fight for your rights and assist you with getting the critical care you need to recover from your injuries and return to work. Call us at 818-230-2428 for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.