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California man fights for his life and then workers’ compensation

On Behalf of | May 7, 2015 | Workers' Compensation |

As many California drivers can attest to, their long commute is often the source of much anxiety and frustration. However, drivers of big-rig trucks, who are often transporting explosive materials, feel this anxiety ten-fold. As was the case with a Bakersfield man who was badly injured when his rig exploded in Oct. 2013, sometimes accidents happen. Though he made it out alive, he is still fighting for his workers’ compensation over a year and a half later.

The freak accident occurred when a vehicle that was in front of him lost its rear axle. It got stuck below the man’s tanker, which was full of crude oil. The man’s truck went over a bridge, and he had to make a decision whether to jump out or risk being burned alive. Covered in crude oil and flames, the man kicked his front windshield out and jumped over 70 feet.

Though he still has trouble sleeping and performing personal routines such as putting on his socks and shoes by himself — as well as the fact that he spent almost three months in a coma that prevented him from missing Thanksgiving, his birthday, Christmas, and New Years — his biggest battle yet has been with obtaining the full extent of his workers’ compensation benefits. There is no question that he was injured on the job, but the insurance company at one point denied an authorization for his physical therapy and also declined to supply him with a bed that physicians stated that he needed in order to sleep comfortably. According to documents the man’s attorney subpoenaed, the insurance company accused the man of not working hard enough to recover, even though the man claims that he’s never met anyone from the company.

When a California resident is injured on the job, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation, benefits that are designed to help employees avoid the associated financial problems of a workplace injury, such as costly medical treatments and lost wages. Those suffering from a workplace injury often seek the assistance of an attorney experienced with workers’ compensation claims. The attorney can ensure that the employee’s rights are fully protected while they help to claim the maximum allowable benefits that are payable to them.

Source:, “Crash survivor in big-rig explosion fighting for workers’ compensation“, Adam Herbets, May 5, 2015