Many professions come with inherent dangers that even with the best preparations can still result in serious injury or death. It is for this reason that every Louisiana employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, in some cases, injured workers and their families may also be able to seek additional monetary compensation when an employer is grossly negligent in safeguarding its workers.
It could be some time before it is known whether this was the case in the death of a tree trimmer on Oct. 25. He was at least 50 feet above ground working to trim an oak tree that is partially dead. One of the limbs on the large tree broke and the man ended up tangled in the ropes of his safety harness system when he slipped.
According to the Benton police chief, the man was most likely dead as soon as he struck the ground and nothing anyone could have done would have saved his life. The company the man worked for had contracts with utility companies and government entities to clear tree limbs from power lines to reduce the risk of outages in inclement weather. The work is not unusual at this time of year.
An investigation will be conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine whether there were any breakdowns in safety procedures. In the meantime, the man’s family will have to deal with the emotional and financial impact of his death. Under Louisiana law, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover certain expenses such as funeral and burial costs. It may be advantageous for this man’s family to seek advice and assistance in this process to ensure they receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled.