Power lines are all around us. They are built by public utility companies in order to provide electricity to homes and businesses. Because they carry high voltage electricity, they can be very dangerous and may cause injuries.

If you are injured from coming into contact with a power line, you may have a lawsuit against the public utility company for negligence. However, depending on the circumstances the public utility may have potential defenses to your claim.

How do I Determine if the Utility was Negligent?

Electrocution is a common accident that could result from coming into contact with a power line. This could cause a range of injuries, including burns, brain damage, seizures and death. If you are injured, you can file a lawsuit for negligence.

You would have to prove that the defendant had a duty of care owed to you; that the defendant breached that duty; that the breach caused the accident; and that you were injured as a result.

The utility company owes a duty to install and maintain power lines safe. If this is not done, the utility company will have breached their duty. Some examples of unsafe conditions are:

  • High voltage in the power lines;
  • Lack of insulation in the power lines;
  • Lack of signs and warnings posted near the power lines; and
  • Placing the power lines in a dangerous location.

If you were injured as a result of any of these factors, you can probably argue that the utility company was negligent. In addition, if a third-party or a natural disaster causes power lines to become dangerous, the public utility may still be liable if the utility had knowledge of the dangerous situation, but did not repair it.

What Defenses are Available to the Public Utility?

The public utility company will try to argue against negligence by asserting their defenses. For example, the public utility company may argue that it should not be liable because the plaintiff voluntarily came into contact with the power line. This is an example of contributory negligence.

Should I Contact an Attorney About My Injury?

If you have been injured by a power line, you should contact a personal injury attorney to determine if you have a lawsuit for negligence against the public utility company. An attorney can explain your chance of success in filing a lawsuit, as well as any defense the public utility company may have against your claim.