Five utility workers in Kansas City have been hurt in an explosion. While the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, it appears that a faulty switch may be to blame. If it is, the injured workers may be able to recover workers’ compensation as well as file a products liability lawsuit.
Explosion Hurts Five Utility Workers in Kansas City
The initial reports have indicated that the explosion happened at 9:30pm on Monday, May 25, 2020, near the intersection of North 9th Street and Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. Five workers for the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) had been underground to work on a cable. When they finished and exited the manhole, one of them flipped a switch to restore power to the area.
Instead of restoring power, though, the switch caused an explosion that sent sparks and hot oil out of the manhole. Some of the workers were splashed with the oil.
Firefighters responding to the scene rushed the workers to the hospital. Two were released quickly. Three others were seriously hurt, though they are expected to be released soon.
Workplace Injuries and Products Liability Claims
Generally, when an employee gets injured while on the job, they can recover workers’ compensation to cover some of their losses. This coverage, though, comes with a catch: The worker cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against his or her employer for any negligence that may have contributed to the accident. This trade-off of workers’ compensation means that it is easier for injured workers to get something for their losses without having to bring their boss to court. However, it means that they will not recover all of what they might deserve.
But there is nothing saying that injured workers cannot file a personal injury claim against someone other than their employer.
When a workplace accident was caused by a third party – like a company that defectively made a piece of equipment that broke and caused the accident and injuries – the victims can recover the workers’ compensation that they are entitled to receive, while also filing a lawsuit against the company behind the defective device.
This products liability lawsuit would claim that the device caused the injuries because it was defective. Things can be defectively designed or manufactured, or can have inadequate warnings that do not notify people of the dangers associated with using the product. If any of these defects was the root cause of the accident, the company responsible for the defect can be held liable for the injuries it caused.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
If the switch that the utility workers proves to be defective in some way – like if it was incorrectly assembled or improperly installed – it can be the grounds for a products liability claim.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph strive to legally represent injured workers in western Missouri, including in Kansas City. Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.