Texas truck drivers face many hazards when they operate on or close to construction sites. Temporary roads can be unstable, other heavy equipment may be operating when the trucks are on site, and structural collapse is always possible. Burns, however, are not on the list of common hazards. A recent accident at a highway construction site demonstrated that even this rare occurrence can cause serious injuries.
A new overpass was being built across Jacksboro Highway (SH 199) when a rock hauler delivered a load of dirt to the site. The truck backed up to the spot where the dirt was to be unloaded and raised the box of the truck. After discharging the dirt, the driver began to move the truck away from the spot of the dumping. Unfortunately, he appears to have forgotten to lower the box, and it struck some overhead power lines. The forward movement of the truck pulled down the lines, and the lines, still carrying electric current, fell across the truck. Both the driver and his passenger were badly shocked and received severe burns.
Both men were taken to a nearby hospital, but their condition is unknown. Doctors apparently gave reassuring evaluations, because one media report stated that the men “are expected to be ok.”
The local power company cut power to the site shortly after the accident occurred. The power lines were re-strung shortly afterward.
The actual extent of the workers’ injuries is uncertain. The burns alone could cost them many days of work. The electrical shock may cause neurological or brain injuries that may not be manifest for several days. The employer of the two men is not clear from media reports. If the employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, the two men will have the right to receive benefits. If the employer is a non-subscriber, the men will have a claim for damages against the employer.
Any employee who suffers a work-related injury may wish to seek compensation from the employer. Anyone who is wondering about their best course of action may wish to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for an evaluation of the facts and a recommendation about the speediest and most effective course of action.