Each year, hundreds of Americans are killed and thousands are injured because of electrical hazards, such as a downed electrical power line. Power lines can carry more than 500,000 thousand volts; touching a downed electrical power line can open up a path from a high voltage zone, like the line, to a low voltage zone, like your body, causing injuries or death.
Many fatal accidents involving electrocution from an electrical power line are not the fault of the persons hurt. At Carr & Carr, we have successfully helped injured Oklahomans and their families receive financial compensation following an electric power line accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in an electrical power line accident in Oklahoma, call to speak with one of our attorneys at 1-866-510-0580, or contact us online.
What to Do If You Come Across a Downed Power Line
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommend the following safety rules if you come across a downed power line:
- Always assume a fallen power line is live, even if it is not sparking, humming, or moving while on the ground.
- Do not go near a fallen electrical power line. When a live wire touches the ground, electricity spreads out into the surrounding area. Keep at least 35 feet away from the line and don’t touch anything in the area to avoid getting shocked.
- Do not directly touch a downed power line, use another object to touch it or drive over it with your vehicle. Be careful not to touch or step in any nearby water.
- Call law enforcement immediately to report the downed line.
Electrical power lines can fall after major storms like tornadoes. They can also fall when struck by another object like a damaged tree, an outdoor structure or a vehicle in a car accident. Unfortunately, shock from working on electrical lines is not uncommon, either.
What to Do After a Power Line Accident in Oklahoma
If you are involved in an accident with a downed electrical power line, keep yourself safe from electric shock by minding the following safety rules:
- If you are in a vehicle that comes in contact with the downed line, stay in your car. The ground around your car may be energized, and you may get shocked if you exit it. Wait until emergency workers tell you it’s safe before exiting your car.
- Press your car horn, roll down your windows, and call for help. Call 911. Warn others who try to approach to stay away from the area.
- If you must leave your car because of a fire or other safety reasons, try to jump out of the car with both feet together. Avoid making contact with the car and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away using small steps; running or taking large steps could conduct electricity and increase the risk of injury. These actions will help you minimize the path of electric current and may keep you from getting shocked.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed power line, do not touch them. Call 911 if you haven’t already to seek help.
Following your accident, make sure to seek medical attention and to file a report with local law enforcement once you are declared safe. Make sure you keep any documents you receive at the scene, like a police report or proof of a medical exam, in case you decide to file a lawsuit later.
Filing a Lawsuit for an Electrical Accident
The type of lawsuit you file depends on the circumstances of your electrical power line accident. If you were injured on the job as a power line worker or construction worker, you may be able to seek damages, or monetary compensation, through a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
If you were injured by a fallen power line that was the responsibility of a private property owner, you might file a premises liability lawsuit, which is a type of personal injury lawsuit. Or you may sue the electric company that failed to take care of the fallen line for general negligence.
Who is liable for my power line injury?
Determining liability, or responsibility, for your power line injuries also depends on the circumstances of your accident. For example, you may have been injured at work on a power line, but a third party may have been negligent about protective equipment, product safety or safety practices, leading to the incident.
Or, if you suffered injuries from a downed power line in a motor vehicle accident, it may be proven that the other driver was liable for the accident itself, but the electric company was also liable for not maintaining the line properly, which caused it to fall.
Every case is different, and liability can be extremely difficult to determine and prove, especially when multiple parties are involved. An experienced attorney can help you figure out your legal rights and options moving forward.
Contact an Attorney at Carr & Carr
Following all of the safety precautions when dealing with a downed electrical power line is sometimes not enough to completely avoid injury, or even death. If you have been injured in an electrical power line accident in Oklahoma or Arkansas, or a loved one has died from an incident involving a fallen line, Carr & Carr can help. Call 1-866-510-0580 to speak to one of our attorneys right away during a free, no-obligation consultation. You may also fill out an online form, chat with us on our website, and follow the Carr & Carr Facebook page. We are ready to listen to your story and help you decide the best course of action to take next.