Nearly 96 percent of Americans today own some form of cell phone, compared to the 80 percent of cell phone owners in 2010. As individuals of all ages have become increasingly reliant on cell phones, ensuring cell-phone capabilities remain available and functioning for everyday Americans is no small or solitary task.
Cell tower technicians, which occupy a small industry of about 10,000 workers, serve an important role in our communities as workers tasked with maintaining cellular communications, making installations, and repairing cell tower equipment issues as needed.
Working as a cell tower technician, however, comes with many risks. Often scaling heights of hundreds or even thousands of feet off the ground—cell tower workers face significant dangers, such as falling, slipping, and suffering electrical shocks while on the job.
Cell carrier companies that employ these technicians are required to follow strict Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations when it comes to protecting the health and safety of their workers—and respecting their workers’ rights.
While many cell tower technicians are employed by companies such as AT&T and T-Mobile, these companies have also increasingly been outsourcing workers through turf vendors and subcontractors. This may affect the ability of injured cell tower workers to seek worker’s compensation, utilize other employee benefits to aid in the recovery process, or receive severance, as applicable.
Cell tower technicians face several hazards on the job that can lead to injury, and in the most serious cases, death. Cell tower workers who are injured on the job may be entitled to compensation from their employer. A cell tower accident lawyer can determine your legal options and help you file a claim for compensation.
Common Causes Of Cell Tower Accidents
Working on cell tower sites poses a number of potential hazards for workers, not the least of which include performing duties at extreme heights and working with electricity. According to an investigation by ProPublica and PBS, tower climbing has a death rate that is nearly 10 times that of construction workers—and much higher compared to the general workforce.
The causes of cell tower accidents can vary and may be influenced by a variety of environmental factors, factors related to the nature of the job, and the failure of an employer to provide safe working conditions for their employees.
Common causes of fatal and non-fatal cell tower accidents include:
- falls from great heights
- poorly maintained or inadequate equipment
- equipment failure
- lack of safety gear
- electrical hazards
- cell tower collapse
- inadequate employee training
- falling object hazards
- poor weather conditions
As top cell-phone carriers in the U.S. have been racing to upgrade their networks and improve their services to remain competitive with other carriers, cell tower workers have been increasingly subjected to dangerous working conditions, working overnight, and insufficient training.
Workers have also reported experiencing increased pressure to work at a rapid pace, which can distract individuals who are climbing these great heights and encourage cutting corners or neglect important safety protocols in order to save on time.
All of these occupational risks increase the likelihood of suffering accidents on cell tower worksites and the resulting consequences.
Types Of Cell Tower Accident Injuries
Cell tower accidents can cause a number of moderate to severe injuries for workers, depending on the nature of the accident. One can imagine that falling from a high cell tower, for instance, is likely to result in significant injuries ranging anywhere from broken limbs to traumatic brain injury and death.
According to ProPublica investigators, there were approximately 100 cell tower worker deaths from 2003 to 2011, including both employees and contractors working in this hazardous position. Even greater, however, is the number of non-fatal injuries that can result from cell tower accidents.
The U.S. federal agency, OSHA, has reported a concerning increase in preventable injuries at communication tower worksites in recent years and is continuing to monitor and investigate the primary causes of these incidents.
Types of injuries seen from cell tower accidents include:
- broken limbs
- internal injuries
- impaired sight or hearing
- permanent disability
- brain damage
Cell tower accidents can be devastating to a worker’s career and their ability to care for themselves and their families. Employment can often be precarious for cell tower technicians, and suffering an injury on the job may put workers at risk for lost wages, losing their job, and the troubling task of seeking compensation from their employer to compensate for their injuries.
Cell Tower Workers’ Rights
Communication tower employees who are employed with a cell tower carrier or contracting company are protected under OSHA regulations, which require companies to properly train, equip, and safeguard their workers from preventable hazards in the workplace.
Under OSHA regulations, cell tower workers have the right to:
- safe working conditions that do not pose serious risk for harm
- receive adequate information and training regarding workplace hazards and how to prevent workplace injury
- receive information about OSHA standards and their rights as workers
- review records of workplace injuries and accidents
- file a workplace complaint to OSHA, if a worker feels their company is violating OSHA health and safety standards
- whistleblower protections (i.e. the right to file a complaint without employer retaliation)
Understanding employee rights is crucial for any worker, but especially for those who work hazardous positions in the construction, agricultural, and communications industries. Work injury lawyers can explain OSHA standards to injured workers who are struggling to receive compensation and investigate the health and safety practices of employers to determine liability and identify the worker’s legal options.
Liability For Cell Tower Accidents
Employers and contracting companies in the communications industry may be held liable for injuries and fatalities that occur while their employers are performing their occupational duties. This holds for cell carriers and other vendors who contract tower climbers to repair, upgrade, and maintain functional operations at cell towers.
Determining liability with cell tower accidents can sometimes be tricky. Liability for cell tower accidents may be dependent on the type of relationship tower climbers have to the cell carriers. Many cell carriers such as Verizon and AT&T outsource their work to external vendors and subcontractors, who may outsource their own subcontractors for labor.
Whether you’re an employee of the cell carrier or a subcontractor who’s injured while working on the job can affect who may be held liable in the event of an accident. If you’re a subcontractor who’s injured on a cell tower site, it may be your contracting company—rather than the cell carrier—who may be held liable for accident-related injuries.
Questions to ask to determine liability may include:
- What type of worker am I classified as?
- How did my accident occur?
- Did the accident directly result in injury?
- Did my accident occur while I was on-duty?
- Is there any evidence of negligence on behalf of my employer or contracting company that can be linked to the cause of my accident?
Cell Tower Workers’ Compensation And Claims
If you’re an employee of a cell carrier who is injured while working on a cell tower, you may be eligible to file a claim for worker’s compensation. Worker’s compensation can cover a range of expenses, from an employee’s medical bills to lost wages and physical therapy costs.
However, these claims are not typically enough to cover all damages injured workers experience as a result of workplace accidents—a fact that may hold additional weight for cell tower employees, who are likely to suffer severe and sometimes permanent injuries from worksite accidents.
Filing for worker’s compensation can also come with another set of problems, in part because these claims are handled by for-profit insurance companies. These insurance companies can often try to reduce the amount of compensation owed to injured workers in a number of back-handed ways.
Examples of how insurance companies attempt to reduce injured workers’ total compensation include:
- denying coverage for effective medical procedures that are more costly
- referring you to an incompetent or incompatible doctor
- denying compensation for physical and mental anguish
- providing coverage only for expenses accrued since the date of the accident, disregarding projected expenses
- arguing over the extent of your injuries
Investigations into cell tower accidents in recent decades have shown concerning evidence as to how employers—and their negligence in properly training, equipping, and protecting their employees—have been major factors in cell tower accidents.
Before filing a claim for worker’s compensation, contact an attorney to make sure it’s the best choice for yourself. In some instances, worker’s compensation may be your only road to financial recovery. In other situations, you may be able to pursue your employer or a negligent third-party through the court system.
Compensatory Damages Awarded In Cell Tower Accident Claims
Personal injury claims and lawsuits for cell tower accidents allow injured workers to recover several types of damages associated with their accident and resulting injuries.
The primary type of damages that are recoverable in workplace injury claims are compensatory damages, which serve the purpose of restoring an individual’s financial and non-economic losses, such as personal costs to one’s psychological health and livelihood.
Compensatory damages are awarded in the form of monetary compensation, and may include:
- medical bills
- medication costs
- projected medical expenses
- lost wages
- physical therapy and other rehabilitative services
- loss of limbs
- loss of earning capacity
- pain and suffering
Cell Tower Wrongful Death Claims
Several lawsuits against cell carriers and contracting companies have been filed in recent years by individuals on behalf of loved ones who suffered fatal accidents working as cell tower technicians.
Wrongful death claims and lawsuits can secure settlements for surviving family members and spouses to compensate for financial losses as well as the psychological toll of prematurely losing a loved one to unreasonably dangerous workplace conditions.
Types of damages that may be awarded in wrongful death claims include:
- hospital bills
- pain and suffering costs
- funeral and burial costs
- loss of consortium or companionship
- value of the loss of support and services from the date of the fatal accident
Cell Tower Lawyers Serving The U.S.
At Florin|Roebig, our seasoned team of workplace injury lawyers has extensive experience advocating on behalf of injured workers and surviving loved ones of decedents who have died in cell tower accidents.
Since 1985, our cell tower lawyers have developed crucial relationships with experts from various industries that allow us to conduct thorough investigations of workplace accidents, gather the evidence necessary to prove employer negligence, and secure fair compensation for our clients.
Our cell tower lawyers are capable of serving clients across the U.S. out of our offices in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, and Colorado.
Our list of top-rated cell tower lawyers serving the U.S. include:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Michael L. Walker, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Shaun M. Cummings
- Luca G. Esposito
- Chad K. Florin, M.B.A., LL.M.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Matthew L. McMullen
- Michael A. Ossi, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Brian R. Dettman, O.C.
Find Help Filing A Cell Tower Accident Claim Today
Cell tower workers who are injured on the job are entitled to compensation for accidents that occur as a result of their employer’s negligence—and in most cases, worker’s compensation won’t cut it.
The most beneficial option for injured workers to seek compensation for their losses is to file a personal injury claim. While injured workers don’t require a lawyer to file a claim, a lawyer can be a useful ally to ensure that you are awarded fair compensation and aren’t paid a penny less than your case is worth.
Our lawyers understand how critical securing this compensation can be for the livelihood of injured cell tower workers and their families, who may be struggling with the repercussions of suffering a serious accident on the job.
At Florin|Roebig, our cell tower lawyers can:
- conduct an investigation into your employer and the circumstances surrounding your accident
- gather witness testimony
- consult legal and occupational experts
- negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf
- advocate for your rights as a worker
- fight for a fair settlement on behalf of you or a loved one who suffered wrongful death in a cell tower incident
Our lawyers offer free case evaluations to all prospective clients who are considering taking legal action against employers whose negligence directly resulted in workplace injury or death.
Don’t wait to begin the process of filing your claim. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our award-winning cell tower lawyers to determine your legal options.