Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), electrocutions are the second leading cause of death in the construction
industry, and are the fifth leading cause of all work-related deaths?
Power lines can carry thousands of volts of electricity which can inflict
catastrophic damage to a person when made in contact with, resulting in
potential organ failure, severe burns, and sometimes death. But what exactly
causes these accidents to occur, and who can be held liable?
Power Line Inspection Requirements
In many cases, these preventable
construction accidents are caused by overhead power lines on construction sites which are too
close to workers, the ground and other structures. The National Electrical
Safety Code (NESC) establishes national standards regarding clearance
requirements, or the minimum distance overhead power lines must maintain
from the ground or buildings. Unfortunately, utility companies often fail
to adhere to these specifications or fail to regularly inspect power lines
to ensure their continued compliance with federal regulations, putting
the public at risk.
Since it can be difficult for the layperson to accurately judge whether
or not a power line is at a safe distance, construction workers are often
lulled into a false sense of security when working near them. Likewise,
if an electricity company fails to test power lines periodically, their
built-in de-energize safety features could fail, causing construction
workers to be exposed to a several seconds of high-voltage shock rather
than a split-second’s worth – a potentially life or death matter.
What Factors Determine Liability?
Numerous factors come into play when determining liability for electrical
shock cases, including:
- Did the power lines violate clearance standards?
- Did the power lines fail to de-energize due to mechanical failure, or due
to the crew leader’s deliberate decision not to shut the power?
- Did the injured party have proper training?
- Did the accident involve the improper use of equipment or materials?
- Were the power lines inspected as required under federal regulations?
- Were there signs of ground line rot?
- Were there adequate safety guidelines provided to workers?
- Did the power company have a record of being present in the area?
Victims of electrical injuries and their families may have grounds to pursue
compensation for their resulting losses under their employer’s workers’
compensation insurance or by filing a civil claim against a responsible
third-party. Since electrical shocks can potentially involve multiple
liable parties, including the utility company, the construction company,
the owner of the property where the jobsite was located, or a general
contractor, it is important for injured parties to retain the services
of a knowledgeable attorney to determine the most appropriate course of action.
If you or a loved one has been injured due in an
electrocution accident, contact the award-winning
Kingston personal injury lawyers at Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor today. Backed by numerous
5-star client testimonials and a track record of millions recovered in
verdicts and settlements, our team of powerful advocates have what it takes to guard your rights
and maximize your potential settlement.
Call (845) 340-HURT or
contact us online today to get started towards filing a claim.