Imagine being told by your boss to go and get something from your workspace. While not an unusual occurrence in Colorado businesses, what happened to three men working in a grain silo certainly was. As the three men were in a grain elevator in 2010, a slow-burning fire exploded, severely burning the three men.
While the men pursued a civil lawsuit against the owner of the grain elevator and a subcontractor, alleging they were negligent, the men have been living on workers’ compensation. Though one man has been able to return to work, it appears that at least one of the men has been permanently disabled by his work-related injuries.
One of the men was burned on more than 70 percent of his body. He has needed considerable medical attention, including skin grafts and rehabilitation. The accident has also left him with no ability to control his body temperature. His sweat glands no longer work, so he can only work within a climate-controlled office. He also cannot feel anything on the portions of his body that were burned.
It is true that there are some workplace accidents that are just that — an accident. Regardless, employers need to provide their Colorado employees with safe work environments. When there is just such an accident, however, employees should know that they can receive workers’ compensation as they recover. For those employees who are so badly injured that they will not be able to work again, there are other options available, including permanent disability benefits. For anyone who believes he or she should have workers’ compensation disability benefits, it is important to work with an attorney who can help determine whether he or she is eligible.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “3 burned in southern Illinois silo explosion awarded a total of $180 million,” Andy Grimm, June 5, 2012