Power Line Injuries
According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor for a 20 year period, construction site workers suffer four times as many fatal shocks from power lines than any other occupational group. If you or a family member sustains an electrical injury from a power line, our experienced personal injury lawyers are ready to conduct a comprehensive investigation to find the cause of the incident and hold the negligent parties accountable to you or your loved one.Electrical Injuries Caused by Power Lines
Inadvertent contact with overhead power lines that should have been de-energized or shielded is the cause of most construction site electrocutions. Distracted crane operators and boom truck operators can easily swing their machines into overhead power lines, electrocuting themselves, anyone in contact with the machine, and anyone touching the crane’s payload. On rare occasions, contact is made with underground power lines during digging or trenching operations. The third most common method of electrocution is through contact with a power line while holding onto a tall metal ladder.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH] has published the following advice to all employers:
"Identify the location of overhead power lines as a routine part of all initial work site surveys for jobs involving the use of ladders. Always note power line heights and distances from work areas on site diagrams to provide key information for site supervisors and workers." See the article by clicking on the source.
Under Washington law, such site surveys are not “suggestions” – they are “mandates.” The general contractor on a job site has a duty to make certain that power lines on the site are properly identified and marked – this duty is for the benefit of all workers on the construction site. Further, a general contractor has an obligation to come up with a site-specific safety plan to ensure that all employees working on the site are aware of the location of overhead and underground power lines. As lawyers representing injured construction workers and their families, the lawyers at Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC are familiar with the duties of general contractors and with the safety regulations that power companies must follow, so we are prepared to hit the ground running whenever a client hires us to help with an electrical injury case.
Case Example: Our lawyers represented the estate of a concrete pump truck driver who was electrocuted on Mercer Island when the boom of his concrete pump truck made contact with an overhead power line that was not properly marked and obscured by tree branches. Because of our prior experience successfully litigating two very similar cases, our lawyers were able to obtain a significant settlement for the family of the deceased construction worker without having to go through a lengthy trial.
Under certain circumstances, utility companies are obliged to follow a higher standard of care than general contractors, given that utility companies are in the business of transmitting electricity, day in and day out. In many cases, if a power company fails to take appropriate action to maintain its power lines or keep trees and vegetation away from those lines, if the failure to take action results in a bystander’s injury or death, the utility company is likely liable. Utility companies like Puget Power are highly regulated by Washington State and there are specific regulations concerning how and where power lines are to be placed and maintained. Unfortunately, these rules are not always followed by power companies, so injuries due to downed power lines are not uncommon.
Given the safety rules that all construction contractors and utility companies must follow, electrical shock injuries and electrocutions are almost never “accidents” – such tragic events are virtually always caused by negligence. Were you, a friend or a family member injured because a general contractor violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] regulations, Washington Industrial and Safety Act regulations [WISHA], industry standards or plain old common sense safety precautions? Find out by calling for a free consultation with one of the personal injury lawyers at Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC. Our experienced lawyers will sit down with you and provide you with a case evaluation and our best advice as to how you and your family can assert your legal rights. You will be under no obligation to hire us and you will owe us no fee for this free case evaluation. Contact us by calling 206.624.8844, or by emailing us by clicking here.
When these injuries occur, you need a law firm that has the resources to engage the best experts in the field, who can accurately determine the cause of the injury and identify the safety standards that were violated. Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC can help you today!