Taking place near Northridge, CA, a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worker found themselves in intensive care after becoming severely injured while restoring power throughout the San Fernando Valley on a Saturday (February 25th, 2023). Outages caused by extreme weather were affecting thousands of people, with the LAWDP reporting that around 49,000 people were still out of power the following day.
However, since the storm on Friday, crew members successfully restored power for 98,000+ customers. The hardest hit communities included:
- Glassell Park
- Hancock Park
- Woodland Hills
- Green Meadows
- Studio City
- Sun Valley
- Mission Hills
- North Hollywood
It’s unclear what type of injuries the DWP worker suffered, but working with electrical systems following a storm or flooding poses plenty of hazardous risks. Depending on the power source, crew members often need to climb to power poles and clear out trees to get to the respective power lines. For underground electrical systems, flooding is an issue. LAWDP General Manager Martin Adams issued a statement acknowledging that the safety of their customers and employees remains their highest priority.
In a situation like this, a DWP worker might be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, certain workers, like contractors, might not qualify for workers’ compensation. Depending on the situation, it’s possible to file a personal injury claim. For there to be a personal injury claim, there needs to be evidence that one party exhibited negligence.
Since the DWP worker worked with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, most likely, they’re a W2 worker with benefits. Private energy companies may not always provide certain benefits like workers’ compensation, but they can provide their workers with the necessary tools to perform the job. If, for example, a worker used defective tools, the company then can be held liable for negligence.
Of course, customers can be harmed, and they could file a lawsuit against the private company or the city in the case where any actions were performed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Electrical systems and weather like thunderstorms don’t mix well, and when fixing or restoring power, the highest quality safety standards need to be implemented. A power source not being properly reconnected or an electrical system not being properly fixed can cause problems like electrocution or fires.
While a worker was injured when restoring power, it would seem that no other injuries occurred. An injured party, however, could potentially seek compensation for factors like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Travel expenses
- Loss of enjoyment
- Mental stress, including the development of PTSD and more
Personal injury cases, however, can be tricky, especially when filing against a private company or a governmental entity. These entities can have legal teams that can help reduce how much they need to pay victims or help them avoid paying altogether. A Northridge, CA personal injury lawyer from our Barry P. Goldberg office can assist when you call us today!