Summer storms in Wisconsin can cause a great deal of damage, especially to the area’s infrastructure. As reported by the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, the required cleanup work can be dangerous and serious injuries can occur while teams are restoring power and communications systems.
During emergency cleanup work in the aftermath of a July 2019 storm, an OSP technician suffered severe and debilitating spinal injuries. A tree limb left hanging by the storm fell and crashed into the man’s back while he was clearing a telephone line. Workers’ compensation can cover incidents such as these.
Worker could not feel his legs
While clearing the line, the OSP tech found himself partially pinned to the ground when the tree limb slammed into his back. The injured lineman could not feel his legs. The Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department rushed him to a hospital where doctors determined that he incurred spinal, rib and hip fractures. One of the spinal fractures severed his spinal cord.
Risky hours-long surgery performed
The lineman underwent a risky and lengthy surgery in an effort to stabilize his spine. He will be able to use his arms, but he remains paralyzed below his chest. After returning home in a wheelchair, the lineman and his family determined they will need to move into another house. Their current three-level home of 15 years cannot accommodate a wheelchair and other new mobility needs.
Workers’ comp may also cover out-of-state medical treatment
As reported by WSAU News, there is a chance that a specialized spinal treatment facility in Denver may restore some of the injured lineman’s mobility. He transferred there the month following his initial on-the-job accident and, along with his wife and children, remains optimistic that he will walk again someday.
In Wisconsin, workers’ comp covers medical expenses related to an on-the-job injury and treatment from a state-licensed practitioner. An injured employee may also receive benefit-covered treatment from an out-of-state specialist with the consent of the employer or the workers’ comp insurer. An injured worker may bypass this requirement, however, if a Wisconsin-licensed medical practitioner provides a referral for out-of-state treatment.