According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), electrocutions
are the second greatest cause of on-the-job deaths in the construction
industry and the fifth leading case of all occupational deaths in the
United States. While electrocutions can occur on construction sites under
a myriad of circumstances, such as defective tools, faulty wiring, or
improperly using extension cords, a considerable number of these accidents
are the result of workers making contact with overhead power lines.
Since power lines can potentially carry thousands of volts of electricity,
power line shocks often result in catastrophic injury to those involved,
including organ failure, severe burns, and even death. But how exactly
do these types of accidents happen, and who can be held liable when they do?
Power Lines Must Be Regularly Inspected
Most often, these types of
construction accidents are entirely preventable and are caused by overhead power lines that have
not been inspected as required, causing them to droop close to the ground,
workers, and structures. Under the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC),
power lines must maintain a minimum level of clearance from the ground
and buildings. Despite these regulations, utility companies frequently
fail to follow these safety protocols and skip inspections, endangering
For individuals who do not work for an electric company, such as the average
construction worker, it can be difficult to accurately gauge how close
or far power lines are while working near them, creating a false sense
of safety and leading to disasters. Unfortunately, skipped inspections
often also cause the de-energize systems in power lines to fail, exposing
to construction workers to potentially lethal shocks of several seconds
rather than a split-second jolt.
Liability for Power Line Shocks
Numerous factors will come into play when determining liability for electrical
shock cases involving overhead power lines, including:
- Were the power lines in violation of clearance requirements?
- Did the power lines fail to de-energize due to system failure, or due to
a deliberate decision not to shut the power?
- Did the injured worker have proper training?
- Were materials or equipment improperly used?
- When were the power lines last inspected?
- Were there signs of ground line rot?
- Were workers provided with adequate safety instructions?
- Did the utility company have a record of being present in the area?
Depending on the answers to these questions, victims and their families
may have grounds to pursue full and fair compensation under either
workers’ compensation, a civil claim against a responsible third party, or sometimes both. Electrical
shock cases can sometimes involve numerous liable parties, making it possible
for a utility company, property owner, contractor, and others to all share
Injured? Call (646) 461-4009 Today
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a
construction site electrical shock, get in touch with the
New York City personal injury lawyers at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP today. Having recovered more
than $500 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured clients,
our powerful team of advocates can guard your rights and advocate for
maximum compensation on your behalf.
If we do not win, you will not pay a dime for our services.
Schedule a free case review today to discover your legal options in full.