A Pennsylvania family recently obtained a massive jury verdict. The wrongful death lawsuit followed a tragic accident in which a woman was killed in her own back yard. She walked outside to talk on her cell phone and was struck by a fallen power line. The victim was electrocuted in the 20 minutes it took for power crews to attempt to shut off the power to the line. The family subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit, asserting that the victim’s mother-in-law and children witnessed the accident and were helpless to assist.
The woman was eventually taken for medical care and survived for three days until she eventually succumbed to her injuries. Her widow then sued the power company for wrongful death. The lawsuit alleged the company failed to train its workers on how to properly clean the power lines before splicing them. Failing to do so caused rust to form on the lines, ultimately causing them to overheat and fall.
The husband had voiced concerns about the lines prior to his wife’s death. He told the company he feared for the well-being of his family. The jury returned a verdict against the company for $109 million. It is not known if the power company will appeal.
This Pennsylvania family has suffered a great deal. A husband lost his wife and two daughters lost their mother. Although the wrongful death case was successful, the end result is likely bittersweet due to the circumstances and loss this family has to endure. When negligence is responsible for the death of a loved one, families have legal recourse against the person or entity whose actions are deemed to have caused or contributed to the fatal injury.
Source: ABC News, “$109M Awarded in Power Line Case,” Ashley Jennings, Dec. 7, 2012