Electricity is all around us. Electrical wires run throughout the walls of our homes and businesses. High voltage overhead power lines trace the path of our most frequently traveled roadways. Many of our schools and recreational areas are situated within yards of electrical substations.
Electricity is dangerous and can lead to serious personal injury or even wrongful death. Unfortunately, the danger of electricity is often hidden from plain site. The Louisiana Supreme Court explained the hidden danger of overhead power lines:
A high tension transmission wire is one of the most dangerous things known to man. Not only is the current deadly, but the danger is hidden away in an innocent looking wire ready at all times to kill or injure anyone who touches it or comes near to it. For the average citizen there is no way of knowing whether the wire is harmless or lethal until it is too late to do anything about it.
Electric utility companies are required by law to use the “utmost care” to reduce potential hazards to the general public. Utility companies are required to recognize that people may make mistakes and unknowingly venture too close to electrical lines. These companies must account for this reality when determining how best to safeguard the public from their power lines.
Electric utility companies are required to insulate their lines. Utility companies may insulate lines by coating the exterior of the wire with a mineral substance such as rubber. Companies may also satisfy their duty to insulate by a method commonly known as “insulation by isolation.” “Insulation by isolation” refers to the process of isolating an overhead electrical line by hanging it so high that it is effectively isolated from the public. In other words, the line is isolated because it is not readily accessible to people.
Electric companies are required to routinely inspect their lines to make sure that they remain isolated. Over time, the rubber insulation that coats a wire and makes it safer for the public may deteriorate. Likewise, an overhead electrical line once “insulated by isolation” may begin to sag dangerously close to the ground. Utility companies are required by law to catch these problems and fix them before they result in a personal injury or wrongful death.
Electric utility companies are essentially big monopolies that are regulated by governmental agencies. These companies are profit motivated. Unfortunately, in an effort to cut costs and maximize profits, some electric utility companies do not fulfill their duty to routinely inspect their equipment and replace it before it becomes dangerous. Old lines with deteriorating rubber insulation remain in the field. Lines that once hung at the proper height are allowed to gradually sag dangerously low to the ground. Wooden poles are allowed to rot. The man power needed to properly check this equipment is simply too costly in the eyes of many electric utility companies.
If you or a family member have been seriously injured in an electrocution, you need to hire an attorney with experience in these types of personal injury cases immediately. Within minutes of an electrocution, utility companies have investigators at the site measuring, photographing, and collecting evidence. Armies of attorneys are deployed to the scene to begin evaluating the utility company’s potential exposure. In even the most clear cut cases of utility company negligence, corporate attorneys are used to fight innocent personal injury victims for as long as possible so that the company can maximize its profits.
Our firm has extensive experience fighting big electric utility companies on behalf of personal injury victims. We are proud of the fact that we have some of the highest recorded verdicts in the state of Louisiana for cases involving electrical accidents.
If you have been involved in an electrical accident, learn about your legal rights from an experienced New Orleans, Louisiana electrocution lawyer by calling 504-581-4892 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form.