An electrical explosion at the Fremont California Tesla plant caused severe burns and suffering, according to a workplace injury lawsuit filed by Son Nguyen, the injured factory worker. The suit alleges that the company was focused primarily on increasing productivity rather than employee safety.
Mr. Nguyen was a contractor at the plant on June 5, 2017, when an arc flash explosion thrust him 15 to 20 feet back, engulfing him in flames. He claims that the company refused to shut power to the equipment he was working on, because they did not want halt production for even a brief period.
Nguyen says he is in constant pain and covered with scars as a result of his injuries. He has undergone multiple skin grafts, had his little finger amputated and is required to wear a head-to-knee compression garment. According to a statement given to Reveal from the Center of Investigative Reporting, the unyielding nerve pain he endures feels like “thousands of pins and needles poking you.”
Tesla responded to Nguyen’s lawsuit with a statement blaming Nguyen’s employer, Mark III Construction for failure to follow proper safety protocols and resolutions. In a statement, a representative from Tesla said, “We have extensive protocols to prevent electrical safety injuries, and these protocols must be followed by everyone in the factory including third-party contractors.”
Violations were filed against Mark III Construction following the accident, but not against Tesla. Nguyen believes that some of the responsibility should be borne by Tesla because the company “controlled” the contractor and safety on the worksite, and required Nguyen to work on the equipment knowing the dangers related to it being energized.
Tesla Past Safety Record Questioned
Nguyen’s suit follows in the wake of controversy surrounding an earlier accident at the same plant, which occurred in November of 2016. Questions arose regarding the plants safety after an employee had to have his leg amputated following an accident involving a forklift that was being irresponsibly operated by another employee. Robert Limon said another employee who was doing “donuts” in the forklift and struck him. Following that accident a Tesla spokesperson said, “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees.”
It may be the fact that Tesla is upending the electric car market or CEO Elon Musk’s pronouncements regarding the company’s production efforts – but something has caused intense scrutiny over the safety of the company’s employees and their working conditions. A Bloomberg report described Tesla efforts to produce the Model 3, mid-sized sedan, as “hell for Elon Musk.”
California Workplace Injury Attorney
The majority of workplace injuries are covered by workers compensation, which is in place to compensate injured workers for lost pay and medical bills. Workers compensation also protects the employers from lawsuits being filed by employees that are injured on the job. However, as evident in the Tesla burn injury lawsuit, there are often third parties involved. Mr. Nguyen was the employee of Mark III Construction. His workers compensation would not cover his pain and suffering and a large portion of his medical bills. His health insurance may or may not be adequate. This situation leaves Tesla as the obvious target for a personal injury claim. Workplace injury claims like these are complex and require the skill of an experienced workplace injury attorney to be successful.
If you were injured on the job due to the negligence of another, speak to a workplace injury attorney at Vititoe Law Group. You may have a case against a third party such as a property owner, delivery service, or a sub-contactor. Reach out to Vititoe Law Group today for a free consultation.