A propane truck driver was severely burned in a blast in Los Angeles just before 12:00 p.m. on Sept. 15. According to a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, the man works for a company that transports propane to fill commercial and industrial tanks. The flash fire occurred at a scrap metal yard while the man filled a tank there, and he suffered burns all over his body.

The LAFD spokesman said the victim did not initially realize the extent of his injuries. He reportedly returned to his truck and drove to a nearby restroom ‘to cool himself off.” He was in critical condition at an area hospital as of the day after the accident.

This risk of workplace injury is higher for people employed in certain professions. When someone is injured at work, he or she can file a workers’ compensation claim with the employer or its insurance company. Benefits can cover medical bills and wages lost during recovery. The claim is not the same as a lawsuit, and there does not need to be any evidence of employer negligence to receive funds. When filing a claim, it is important to organize and submit all evidence of the accident and resulting injuries to ensure the maximum possible amount is paid.

It is important for workers to understand that if they do file a workers’ compensation claims, they cannot sue their employers. Some cases are best handled with a claim, but if there is evidence of employer negligence and significant financial harm has been caused, then a lawsuit may be a better option. A successful lawsuit would allow both noneconomic and economic damages to be recovered.

Source: The Modesto Bee, “Propane worker critically burned in blast”, September 16, 2014