Earlier this month, an explosion at a middle school in Boulder, Colorado seriously injured a school employee and two construction workers.
The school employee suffered broken ribs, a broken back and burns. One of the construction workers suffered burns and internal injuries. The other experienced less severe injuries and was treated and released on the day of the accident.
A preliminary investigation determined that the explosion happened after a plumbing contractor attempted to light one of the school's hot water heaters. The school had recently undergone renovations, and the explosion occurred right after the natural gas was turned on for the first time. The explosion was so strong that it caused the roof of the school's gymnasium to collapse.
Colorado Workers' Compensation
Accidents like this are tragic, but they are unfortunately not all that uncommon. When accidents happen, it is important for injured employees to have access to everything they need to get better.
After a work-related accident, Colorado employees can rely on workers' compensation insurance to pay for medical expenses related to the work injury. In addition, workers' compensation is supposed to pay for physical therapy and provide wage-loss benefits to employees whose injuries prevent them from returning to work.
Depending on how the accident was caused, injured employees may also have the ability to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent third-party. Although employers cannot be sued for negligence, work-related injuries often involve more than one cause. For example, in this case, it is possible that the explosion could have been caused by negligence on the part of the gas company or the water heater manufacturer.
As such, after a work-related injury, it is important to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney who can help you understand all of your options.
Source: Daily Camera, "Three injured in explosion, roof collapse at Erie Middle School," Mitchell Byars, August 1, 2012.
To learn more about your rights after a workplace injury, please visit our Colorado Workers' Compensation page.