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City Worker Dies After Being Electrocuted in a Cherry Picker: Injured Workers in the News #69

A sad story comes out of Houston, Texas.  During election season, a Parks and Recreation Department Worker suffered a work-related injury- electrocution-  and died.

News reports offer sparse information.   Thus, we will create a hypothetical and assume that the electronic voting system was the source of the electrocution.  The death, in an of itself, would likely trigger an OSHA investigation to determine the cause of the death.

Assuming the hypothetical fact pattern that the Parks Worker was working on election issues and that the voting machine caused their death, we will discuss the issues that would arise.

What Type of Claims Can Be Brought in This Circumstance?

Under California Law,  since the employee passed away, his or her dependents would be eligible to claim dependency death benefits.  Likewise,  they would be eligible to received up to $10,000.00 relating to burial expenses.  The dependency analysis involves marital status, the age and health of children, and the amount of support that the deceased provided to any claimed dependent.   Also, for spouses earning less than a certain amount and for minor children, there are presumptions that may be employed to claim dependency may be employed.

For the Purposes of Workers’ Compensation, Who Was The Deceased Worker’s Employer?

Elections can involve multiple government agencies.  Employees from one government agency could be placed on loan to others. Thus, a question can be raised as to “who was this person’s employer at the time of death? ”

Why Is The Employer Determination Important?

In this matter, the determination of the employer is important.  First, this knowledge will inform the dependents to place in a claim,  Likewise, the determination may establish the possibility of a third party case.   Hypothetically, if the electrocution occurred as a result of defective election equipment, it is possible that the owners of the equipment and the manufacturers of the equipment may have some liability.  Also, if the employee was considered to work for the City of Houston, they could potentially sue the County which was responsible for the running the election and for the election machines.

What if I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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