The Threat of Power Company Negligence
Our communities rely on and use an enormous amount of electrical power every day, and the delivery of electricity to our homes and businesses is both complex and dangerous. As a society, we have agreed to grant power utilities exclusive (or near-exclusive) rights to provide us electricity through the electrical grid. In return for these rights, power utilities are closely regulated and are obligated to keep residents safe from the unreasonable risk of harm that comes from the power they provide.
Unfortunately, power utilities at times neglect or disregard the public’s safety. When this happens, the results are often grim. The damage that high-voltage electricity does to human bodies is catastrophic, horrific, and life-shattering, and because of this, power utilities must meet a high standard of care to protect the public. When power utilities fail in this regard and people are injured as a result, The Becker Law Firm fights for full justice for injured victims and their families.
Lessons About Electrocution/Downed Power Line Injury Cases
To help guide your search for an attorney to represent you or a member of your family on your electrocution or downed power-line injury case, we’ve distilled some of the lessons we’ve learned from our previous work.
Based on our experiences, an attorney taking on a case involving an electrical injury or injury from contact with a power line must:
- Have the persistence to slog through a nearly endless amount of records to find the most important information for your case;
- Have the experience to identify what needs to happen on your case for you to receive full justice;
- Be confident enough take on an army of corporate attorneys;
- Have a pre-assembled team of experts who can help make your case;
- Understand the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC);
- Have the ability to articulate a clear theory of power company liability;
- Already have track-record of success resolving cases like yours;
- Possess a strong familiarity with possible sources of compensation for your damages;
- Be unwavering in his or her commitment to full justice for you and your family.
We have all of these qualities at The Becker Law Firm, and we have the track record to prove it.
Six Critical Key Legal Concepts
As you are considering who should represent you on your electrical injury/downed power line case, you will see a number of legal concepts regularly repeated. To make the best decision for you and your family, it’s critical you understand what these concepts mean, because they will be central to your case.
Duty: Duty is a legal obligation owed by one party to another party. In general, the idea here is that when people act, they should exercise reasonable care to consider and try to avoid potential harm to others. Power companies have a DUTY to try to avoid people being injured by their electrical systems.
Standard of Care: Standard of care is the degree of caution that a party must take to be considered to have fulfilled its duty. Because high-voltage electricity is dangerous and is delivered through systems that the public may come into contact with, and because power companies are usually granted a monopoly or near-monopoly on the delivery of electrical power, power companies have a duty to exercise the highest standard of care.
Negligence: Negligence is a breach of the duty that one part owes another. It involves a failure in meeting the standard of care to keep others from harm. If a power company does not meet its high standard of care to keep the public safe and someone is injured, a court may find it negligent.
Delivery electrical power to communities is a complicated process and many ways a power company may fail to meet the high standard of care that power companies have a duty to fulfill.
- Failure to design distribution systems that will prevent or minimize the chances of someone being harmed;
- Failure to comply with the installation and inspection requirements outlined by the NESC;
- Failure to inspect, maintain, and replace broken or damaged equipment, including deteriorated poles, cross-arms, and conductor wire;
- Failure to respond to notifications about hazards, including fallen power lines, broken poles, and tree limbs touching power lines;
- Failure to update computer databases and automated notification systems to ensure that hazard and outage calls are properly routed;
- Failure to follow industry standards for prioritizing hazards, including downed power lines and electrical fires;
- Failure to prepare for anticipated major weather events likely to damage power distribution equipment, including poles and conductor wire;
- Failure to properly allocate resources, such as line crews and responders to assess potential hazards following storm events;
- Failure to amend and improve policies and procedures following storm events to prevent harm to the public in future storm events;
- Failure to properly train customer service representatives, who take calls from the public about electrical hazards so that emergency responders are able to receive clear directions from them and act appropriately.
Harm: Harm is an injury, loss, damage, or material or tangible detriment. if a power company has been negligent, the harm done to an injured part can be horrific.
The human body was not meant to conduct high-voltage electricity. When someone completes the circuit between a high-voltage power source, like a downed power line, and the ground, their body serves a low-resistance channel through which electricity can flow. As the current passes through the person’s body on the way to the ground, it destroys the tissue along the path it takes.
The results can be devastating and may include:
- 1st-4th degree burns;
- Organ damage;
- Muscle damage;
- Brain injuries;
- Cardiac arrest;
- Personality changes;
- Vision loss;
- Memory loss;
- Loss of cognitive function;
- Permanent heart damage;
Remedy: A remedy is a legal solution that attempts to undo, repair, or mitigate the harm done to one party as a result of another party’s negligence. The negligent party is required to take action that attempts to restore the injured party to how they would have been had the harm not occurred, and/or that compensates the injured party for the harm the negligent party allowed to occur.
Damages: Damages are the award paid in compensation for a loss or injury. Damages are part of a remedy to harm caused by negligence in a duty to meet a standard of care.
“Damages” are the award paid in compensation for a loss or injury. Damages for electrocution case might include compensation for:
- Physical injuries, including disfigurement, loss of limb, and physical impairment;
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages or earning capacity;
- Permanent disability;
- Out-of-pocket expenses;
- Quality-of-life losses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of society (being deprived of the benefits of a family relationship);
- Loss of consortium (being deprived of the benefits of a spousal relationship);
- Loss of spousal support (being deprived of the economic benefits of a current or previous spousal relationship).
Contact The Becker Law Firm To Fight for Full Justice
If you or a member of your family has been injured because of contact with a downed power line, please contact us today. You can use the contact form on this page or call us at (440) 252-4399 to schedule a free initial consultation today. The Becker Law Firm accepts cases on a contingency basis, meaning you will not be charged unless we win your case.