A tree trimmer was hospitalized Nov. 10 after he suffered a severe electrical shock while cutting branches near wires in the backyard of a Tustin home. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the incident occurred in the 11600 block of Marble Arch Drive. The man in his 30s had suffered a shock and became unconscious while tethered to a tree. The tree trimmer, who is employed with a private company, was working near electrical wires using a pole with a saw at the end of it when it touched a high-voltage power line causing the man to be shocked.
Severe Burn Injuries
The man was harnessed and tethered to the tree and therefore, did not fall after he received the electrical shock. He became briefly unconscious. He was helped down by coworkers who placed him on the grass in the backyard. Orange County firefighters and paramedics arrived, gave him pain medication and transported him to an area burn center.
The worker sustained burns to his hand, arm and the inside of his legs, officials said, adding that he was very fortunate to survive the incident. This is a time in Southern California when tree trimming is recommended because the high Santa Ana winds cause tree branches to come into contact with live wires and potentially start fires.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured worker. We are relieved to note that his injuries are not life-threatening and wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Compensation in Tree Trimming Accident Cases
According to the Tree Care Industry Association, there were 153 tree care related incidents in the calendar year 2016 nationwide of which 92 were fatal. The number of tree trimming deaths was higher in 2016 compared with previous years. There were 79, 81 and 87 deaths in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively. The median age of the victim was 39. The three major causes associated with tree trimming accidents are falls, struck-by and electrical contact incidents.
Tree trimmers who are injured on the job can seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employers, which typically cover medical expenses and a portion of the lost wages. However, in California, these benefits are woefully inadequate when it comes to compensating severely injured workers or families that have lost loved ones on the job.
In addition to workers’ compensation, injured victims and their families may be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than an employer. This might include a negligent property owner who failed to keep the premises safe or the manufacturer of a defective product that caused or contributed to the worker’s injuries. An experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer will be able to guide workers and families through their legal rights and options.