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Contractor Electrocuted at AK Steel Dies

According to officials, a contractor performing tests on substations at AK Steel Ashland Works was pronounced dead after being electrocuted. The contractor was identified as Dwane Walters, age 47, of Hico, West Virginia. Walters, a contractor for Siemens, was performing specialized electrical tests at the plant when he reportedly came in contact with a wire that was charged. Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond stated, “He yelled to the people with him to shut the wire off, and they did. He was conscious momentarily, then went unconscious.” The coroner said that Walters went into cardiac arrest, and was treated with a defibrillator at the scene. Walters was transported to King’s Daughters Medical Center, and was pronounced dead about an hour after his arrival. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating the incident. Siemens released a statement confirming Walter’s death. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Dwane and his family,” the statement read. “We are in the process of working with officials to determine the cause and are offering support to the family.”

In cases such as these, it is extremely important to evaluate third party claims. For example, claims against contractors who contribute to an incident such as this. If those contractors are not employed by the same company as the decedent, they may not be entitled to workers compensation immunity and there may be third party claims entitling victim to significant insurance benefits. Typically, third parties on work sites are required to have liability insurance and that insurance is intended to pay for clients of victims when the insured policyholder has any responsibility for the harm that was caused. The same is true when defective products cause an injury or death. Victims may have third party claims against product manufacturers or their insurance companies.

The caveat in all of this is that victims need to be aware that workers compensation insurance companies may be entitled to subrogation from any benefits that are obtained from third parties. Therefore, it is very important to have a full and complete understanding of the law and of subrogation obligations before settling any claims. The last thing a person wants to do is to settle a third party claim, only to have to pay all of the benefits back to a workers compensation insurance company. If you or a loved one has a case such as this, you should always talk to an experienced attorney if they are seriously injured on the job or lose a loved one in an incident at work.




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