Safety authorities expect employers in North Carolina to protect the health and safety of employees. While most employers comply with prescribed safety standards, unanticipated circumstances can pose safety hazards. This is when workers rely on the workers’ compensation insurance system of the state.
On a recent Wednesday, shortly after 9:30 a.m., authorities received a report of a strong gas odor in Durham. Evacuations of all the businesses in the surrounding area were ordered, but a massive explosion occurred within half an hour after the smell was reported. Five buildings were damaged, and the blast entirely demolished another building.
Firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the fires that injured 17 people who were on the surrounding properties. Six of those suffered critical injuries, and one more was rushed to a burn center. Sadly, one firefighter lost his life while working to save others. Reportedly, Dominion Energy said PSNC energy, which is a subsidiary company, received information about the damage caused to the Durham gas line by a third party.
In cases such as this one, workers might have questions about their eligibility for North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney who has experience in both workers’ compensation and personal injury can answer questions. Legal counsel can assist with the navigation of benefits claims for medical expenses and lost wages. However, if there is a viable third-party civil claim due to someone’s negligence, additional damages might be recoverable. Such a claim might enable burn injury victims also to recover emotional damages such as pain and suffering, which do not typically form part of workers’ compensation benefits.