Five Workers Sustain Electrical Shock Injury While Hanging Gutter
Five workers were rushed to the hospital after sustaining electrical shock injuries while hanging gutters at a residential home. According to the police report, the workers were hanging gutters when it came into contact with a live powerline. The workers were on aluminum ladders at the time of the electrical shock and fell 25 feet. While none of the workers died, three remain hospitalized in critical condition and the other two are listed in serious condition. Two of the workers required life flights.
Liability remains unclear with OSHA currently investigating the matter along with a local fire department. Local authorities said they would have sheathed the power line had they known about the work prior. While it’s fair to wonder if the homeowner is liable, there is little evidence to indicate that the homeowner’s negligence contributed to this incident.
Who is responsible?
The questions that need to be answered include:
- Why wasn’t the powerline sheathed?
- Was there a duty of care to sheath the powerline? If so, whose?
- Did the gutter company have a duty of care to alert authorities before performing the work?
Of the workers, we need to ask:
- Did the workers anticipate that the powerline would be turned off?
- Was the worker who hit the powerline with the gutter paying attention to what he was doing?
Of the utility company we need to ask:
- Do unsheathed power lines need to be immediately maintained?
- Did the utility company know about the problem beforehand?
Analyzing the most likely scenario
Right now, it’s pretty much 50/50 on the liability. If the liability falls on the workers or the company that employed them, the workers’ claims would be routed through workers’ compensation. If so, the workers would get recovery payments faster, but they would get significantly less money. If the company is not responsible, however, the workers can then file a lawsuit against either the homeowner or the utility company for creating an unsafe condition.
At this point, the most likely scenario is that the claim will be routed through workers’ compensation. It seems most likely that if negligence was committed, it was committed by the company that failed to alert local officials to planned gutter work.
Could the utility company be responsible?
Utility companies have a duty of care to remedy dangerous conditions as soon as they become aware of them. If they aren’t aware of the dangerous condition, then they have no duty to remedy it. In this case, the company should have alerted the power company that they were doing work on the gutters. The power company could have sheathed the powerline, making it safe, and no one is injured.
Talk to a Florida Electrocution Shock Injury Attorney Today
Halpern, Santos & Pinkert represent the interests of Florida residents who have suffered an injury due to electrical shock. Call our Florida personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and we can discuss your claims immediately.