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Utility workers suffer workplace injuries when struck by vehicle

Utility workers and those working in construction zones in Oklahoma often risk their lives. They are sometimes the victims of workplace injuries, and although motorists are expected to reduce their traveling speed and be on the lookout for workers, some drivers seem to be oblivious to the potential dangers when they approach these areas. A driver in another state may be facing charges after she caused injuries to several utility workers.

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, workers were doing electrical work along a road and placed warning signs and cones to alert motorists to their presence. Four workers were moving about while one worker was on an elevated work platform -- or cherry picker. The road they were on was not a narrow road; in fact, it had five lanes.

A police report says a 23-year-old northbound driver crossed over the center line and smashed into the utility workers and their vehicle. The worker who was in an elevated position suffered critical injuries, and four others suffered non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the car was also injured. No charges were filed at the time of the accident but were apparently pending.

Most Oklahoma workers are covered by workers' compensation and may pursue benefit claims after suffering workplace injuries. In cases in which a third-party caused the injuries -- such as in this accident -- workers may also pursue personal injury claims in a civil court. The driver of the car, along with the vehicle owner if it belongs to another party, may be named as defendants in such claims. Civil claims are separate from workers' compensation claims and typically seek financial relief for pain and suffering related to an accident, in addition to other monetary damages.

Source: wlwt.com, "Utility worker critically injured after car slams into crew in West Chester", Emily Wood, April 23, 2015

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