Chris Jones has handled electrocution and electrical contact cases on both the Plaintiff and Defense sides of the docket. Early in his career, he defended an electric utility against a case involving a young man who was electrocuted in his front yard while checking on his dog. The dog was whining in the rain. As it turned out, the dog was chained to a metal spike driven into the ground. Unfortunately, the spike was contacting live electrical wiring that once fed an electric light, and when the gentleman grabbed the chain, making all of the links come together, he and the dog were electrocuted. The case went to trial and resulted in a defense verdict, probably because the wiring was on the customer side of the meter, and the gentleman likely knew there was wiring in his front yard before he drove the stake into the ground. Chris also defended the utility in a trial where a utility distribution line fell on a residential service drop causing high voltage to blast through a home.
We have recently handled cases involving electrocutions on an oil rig and a case where a young man lost his arm when he contacted a distribution line hanging too low.
One thing is for sure, and everyone asked in depositions agrees, electricity is dangerous! It needs to be treated with respect and the electric codes and electrical safety standards must be followed.
The IEEE publishes the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC). The NESC sets forth standards for the practical safeguarding of persons during the installation, operation, or maintenance of electric supply and communication lines and associated equipment. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes the National Electrical Code (NEC). The purpose of the NEC is ” the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity.”
The NESC basically applies to electric supply (power) and communications utilities and is used primarily by utility engineers and utility lineman. The NEC covers wiring in buildings and is primarily used by engineers and electricians. At times, the NEC and NESC overlap.
Safe work practices and compliance with OSHA regulations and use of safe equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions can reduce the risks of electricity. There are also electrical devices that may help reduce risks. The use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in the home and workplace should always be considered. Use a qualified electrician for electrical work.
The discovery of electricity completely changed civilization. We use it every day. Even so, we need to respect it and do everything we can to make sure its only effects are beneficial, and not harmful or deadly.
If you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in an electrical accident, please do not hesitate to give Board Certified Lawyer Chris Jones a call to discuss a potential legal claim.