Los Angeles Ordered To Pay $38 Million In Electrocution Accident Lawsuit
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) recently agreed to pay $38 million to the family of a father and daughter who were killed in an electrocution accident. LADWP admitted that serious failures contributed to the danger posed to the public after the two were killed by a downed power line. The family filed suit over the deaths of a 53-year-old father and his 20-year-old daughter outside of their home.
The lawsuit alleged that the LADWP did not properly maintain the pole that held the power lines. According to the lawsuit, the father went outside after he heard a loud popping noise. He was subsequently electrocuted by a downed power line. His daughter was killed in an effort to help her father after he was electrocuted. The victim’s wife called 911 immediately after her loved ones were injured. She was told to stay inside or she could also be electrocuted. Both her husband and daughter were pronounced dead at the scene.
In this case, the LADWP had ultimate control over the power line. They have since issued an apology to the victims and admitted that serious failures resulted in the death of two people. They have overhauled the process of inspecting the power lines and now claim they are in compliance with state guidelines.
Elements of negligence
Lawsuits filed against government agencies can be difficult to win. In many cases, sovereign immunity applies to the lawsuit. Only in cases where the plaintiffs appeal to the legislature can they recover more than the statutory maximum. In Florida, the cap for damages is set at $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident. If the case were tried here in Florida, the family would only be entitled to recover $300,000 unless they appealed to the legislature with a claims bill.
The plaintiffs were able to establish that LADWP was negligent in their maintenance of several power lines. The LADWP has since stated that it has overhauled its process of investigating serious areas of concern. Since the LADWP has a duty of care to ensure the safety of these power lines, they were liable for the two deaths. The same would be true here in Florida. After the deaths and settlement were reached, the LADWP conducted an inventory of problematic power lines across Los Angeles. They delivered door hangers and letters to individuals in the area warning them about approaching downed power lines.
As of the writing of this article, LADWP has identified 1,600 poles that may pose a threat to residents. They improved efforts to correct the dangerous poles and are currently in the process of replacing them. But two people had to die before those changes were made.
Talk to a Florida Electrocution Accident Lawyer Today
Halpern, Santos & Pinkert represent the interests of those who were injured due to electrocution accidents. Call our Florida personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your case immediately.