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$7.3 Million Awarded to Family of Electrical Worker Fatally Injured on the Job

The family of Alejandro Collazo can now begin the healing process after a painful six years mourning the loss of their loved one. Collazo, a husband and father to three children, ages 20, 19 and 13 was an employee of Chicago’s Commonwealth Edison Company, which handles utilities for the Windy City. He was working as a cable splicer in a privately-owned manhole at the time of the accident.

Alejandro Collazo was working in the manhole around 2:00am when an electrical explosion occurred inside the cramped subterranean space in which he was working. The explosion was so powerful that flames were seen climbing as high as 12 feet in the air. According to the National Trial Lawyers, Collazo was attempting to “remove a de-energized cable line that had faulted three days earlier… [when] a cable splice on an adjacent 12,000 volt line arced and exploded.”

For comparison, the average wall outlet puts out around 180 volts, and that is more than enough to give you a jolt. Using that as a point of reference, it is not difficult to understand how 12,000 volts could arc and cause a massive explosion. Alejandro Collazo suffered severe burns to 80 percent of his body as a result of the accident. Electrical burns are known to be extremely painful and, as with all serious burns across large areas of the body, infection is a constant threat. Alejandro tragically succumbed to his injuries six months later in December of 2008, leaving behind his devastated wife and children.

Attorneys for the Collazo family explained that the concept of who was actually liable in this case was “hotly contested.” Attorney Edward G. Willer pointed out that a key piece of evidence in the case was the “Root Cause Investigation Report prepared by Commonwealth Edison, which detailed water intrusion into the subject cable which caused it to fail.” There was a heated argument as to whether the negligence rested on the shoulders of Commonwealth Edison or the cable company whose cable lines created the arc that caused the explosion that ultimately killed Alejandro Collazo. In the end, a $7.3 million settlement was reached in mediation, and the cable company shall remain anonymous as a condition of the settlement.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that that there were almost 800 fatal construction accidents in 2012, the most recent year in which data is available. While some of these incidents may have been difficult to avoid or even unavoidable, officials believe that more than half of construction-related injuries and deaths are preventable, which only deepens the pain felt by those injured or killed and their loved ones. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed on the job, or has been injured as the result of an accident please contact our Massachusetts workers’ compensation law firm. Our dedicated attorneys have decades of experience successfully handling construction accident cases, and understand the pain and confusion faced by those who have been hurt at work. One of our senior associates will walk you through the process step by step, allowing you to focus on your family and health. We will combine the proven skill and experience of our best attorneys to insure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Original article at National Trial Lawyers.

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