This page will look at tort lawsuits in which the primary injury to the plaintiff is an electric shock or electrocution. Electic shock injuries are not common in tort cases, but they do arise. This page will look at how these cases work and what their potential settlement value is.
Electric Shock Lawsuit Overview
Each year, approximately 400 people are killed by electrocution in this country. Many electrocution deaths are caused by defectively manufactured, designed or maintained electrical wiring. Our lawyers handle electrocution lawsuits on behalf on injured victims.
Consumer products also put us at risk. Over 150 of these deaths and countless more serious injuries are consumer products related. Many of these injuries are low-hazard cases where relatively low electrical currents cause ventricular fibrillation.
Many electrocution accidents and deaths occur on construction sites. Electrocution is the second leading cause of death for construction workers. Many construction cases are workers’ compensation claims in Maryland because the claims are solely against the employer. But there are many electrocution lawsuits that come from on-the-job injuries where another party is also responsible for the injuries or the fatality.
Lawsuits Involving Electric Shock Injuries
Lawsuits involving electric shocks typically arise when an individual has suffered an injury due to electrocution or an electric shock incident. These cases can involve various legal theories, and the nature of the lawsuit often depends on the circumstances of the incident. Here are some common types of lawsuits related to electric shocks:
- Product Liability: If an electric shock is caused by a defective product, the injured party might file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. Plaintiffs in these cases generally must prove that the product was defective and that the defect caused their injury.
- Workplace Accidents: Electric shocks occurring at work can lead to workers’ compensation claims or, in certain cases, personal injury lawsuits. Workers’ compensation is usually an exclusive remedy, but if the injury was caused by a third party’s negligence or a willful violation of safety regulations by the employer, a separate lawsuit might be permissible.
- Premises Liability: Property owners or occupiers can be sued if someone is injured by an electric shock due to unsafe conditions on the property, such as exposed wiring or faulty electrical systems. In these cases, the plaintiff must usually show that the owner knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to address it.
- Wrongful Death: If an electric shock results in a fatality, the victim’s family may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties, seeking damages for their loss.
- Negligence: Many electric shock lawsuits are based on negligence. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused their injury as a result. For example, an electrician who fails to follow industry standards may be liable if this failure results in an electric shock.
Sample Electrocution Verdicts
Below are examples of settlements and verdicts in which electric shock was the primary injury.
Nevada, 2023: $21.7 Million Verdict: In a notable incident at the MGM Grand Las Vegas hotel, a man suffered a severe electric shock from an iron in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Las Vegas hotel, leading to the amputation of his right leg and the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The electric shock occurred in 2017, and the case revolved around the claim that maintenance work on a nearby jacuzzi compromised the electrical system. The defense argued that the injury was due to a thermal event and not electrocution and further claimed it was related to the latent effects of childhood cancer. Despite these arguments, a Nevada state court jury found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding $21.7 million. The compensation included $2 million for past pain and suffering, $9 million for future pain and suffering, nearly $8 million for medical expenses, and nearly $2 million for loss of household services.
South Carolina, 2022: $7.7 Million Settlement: Two people were conducting maintenance near a hunting structure. During this activity, one of the individuals encountered an electrical current using a pole saw to trim branches, resulting in his death. The other guy, while trying to assist, suffered psychological and physical injuries from an electric shock. The family filed an electrocution lawsuit, arguing that those responsible for the site were aware of the hazardous condition that led to the electrocution but failed to correct it, in violation of the applicable safety codes and their own policies. Despite the defendants denying responsibility. But the family ultimately received settlement compensation of $5 million for the wrongful death claim. The other man who survived was given a $2.7 million payout for the personal injuries sustained during the incident.
Texas, 2022: $15.6 Million Verdict: During maintenance at an apartment complex, a flagpole being repositioned by three plumbers came into contact with overhead power lines, resulting in electrocution. The incident led to the death of one plumber and serious injuries to the other two. It was determined that the flagpole had been placed too close to the power lines by the apartment complex’s management, which a jury found to be a critical factor in causing the accident. A Dallas jury awarded the family of the deceased plumber $10.5 million for the loss of companionship and mental suffering, while the injured plumbers received approximately $2.4 million and $2.6 million, covering their damages, including lost wages, amounting to over $15.6 million in total.
Baltimore: $200,000 Settlement. A 14-year-old girl is playing in a ball field when she touches a fence charged with nearby voltage. She is instantly killed by the stray electricity and her estate brings suit against the defendants. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants failed to check the underground wires for deficiencies and that barring their negligence the young girl would have lived. The defendants claim that they cannot be held responsible for the damages because they had not worked in the park for several years. This is contradicted by evidence of an electrician bill dated one month before the accident. The government is unable to avoid liability because of the park’s public nuisance issue. Douglas Electric creates a confidential settlement with the plaintiffs. The rest of the defendants settle Baltimore City Circuit Court lawsuit for $200,000 in 2013.
Rockville: $175,000 Settlement. Plaintiff, a power company, negligently allows trees to grow into distribution lines. Plaintiff is electrocuted while in tree and sustained serious burns.
Prince George’s County: $ 8,002,000 Verdict. Plaintiff, a 15-year-old female, is walking along a trail in the wooded area behind her stepsister’s apartment complex. The plaintiff comes in contact with a downed power line that is hanging two feet above the trail. The plaintiff instantaneously dies without any evidence of pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s mother and father present a death action suit against the electric company, alleging gross negligence for failing to properly install, maintain, and repair the power line. The plaintiff contends the defendant was aware, or should have been aware, of the conditions of the wire. A wood expert presented by the plaintiff testifies the cross arm the utilities lines were fasted to were excessively knotty. He testifies the knots rendered the cross arm as weak and susceptible to failure. The expert offers evidence that one side of the cross arm fell approximately ten years after its installation. The expert notes that the defendant repaired the fallen line by attaching it to the remaining portion of the cross arm which both he and the plaintiff’s electrician expert claim was improper and dangerous. The plaintiff also presents three separate witnesses, one of which is an electrician by trade who tested the wire with a hot static probe, all who contacted the electric company regarding the downed line within a 30 day period prior to the incident. Only one out of the three calls was reflected on the defendant’s records. The defendant presents records indicating a repairman was sent to the scene before the incident, but showed the repairman was unable to find the fallen line. The defendant denies it was notified more than once regarding the situation and properly responded to the call, which according to their procedure, constituted as a “Priority 1” call. The defendant also argues that even if it were at fault, its actions or inactions could not be constituted as gross negligence, but instead, as simple negligence. The real verdict in this case was much less; $7.5 milliion was in punitive damages that did not stick and the remaining verdict was reduced to $350,000.
Charles County: $100,000 Settlement. The plaintiffs, employees of a concrete subcontractor, are placing a concrete footing with a concrete pumping machine. While placing the footing, the pumping boom contacts a high voltage wire and sends electricity into the footer trench and immediately electrocutes and kills the first plaintiff. The second plaintiff is killed while attempting to assist the first plaintiff. The estates of the plaintiffs allege the defendant, the manufacturer of the pumping machine, was liable in failing to properly equipping the insulating component and neglecting to provide adequate warning labels. The defendant contends the insulating components the estates felt were necessary were impractical and unworkable for the construction site. They also indicate the warnings were adequate and the primary cause of the accident was operator negligence. The jury finds in favor of the defendant. Prior to the trial, the second defendant, the seller of the concrete machine, settled with the plaintiffs’ estates for $100,000. Harleysville Mutual offered an additional $100,000 before trial but plaintiffs’ demand was $2 million.
Contact Our Law Firm If You Believe You Have a Construction Claim
If you or a loved one has suffered from an electric shock that caused injury or death in Maryland, you can speak to a lawyer for a free, no obligation consultation at 800-553-8082 or get an online case evaluation.