Woman is Electrocuted by Negligently Placed Power Line


Electrician Expert WitnessThis case involves a 27-year-old-woman who was killed from electrocution resulting from accidental exposure to live power lines in Alaska. At the time of the incident in question, the woman was on the roof of the defendant’s building in order to conduct an inspection of the roof. During the course of her inspection, the woman ventured to the southwest corner of the roof. As she approached the edge of the roof she was suddenly shocked by electricity, killing her instantly. A subsequent investigation of the property revealed a power line that ran extremely close to the edge of the roof’s southwestern corner. It was alleged that the power line was far too close to the roof of the building.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please discuss your background in national electric safety code regulations?
  • 2. Based on the brief case summary, what could have been done to avoid this accident?

Expert Witness Response E-016008

I have extensive experience and a thorough understanding of the national electric safety code, and I have practical experience with power lines while in the army and at a prestigious university’s physical plant department. I have worked a number of cases involving the NESC and some have gone as far as deposition testimony. Some factors to take into consideration when assessing if this accident could have been avoided is clearance measurements, and chronology of the building and the power line. If the power line was developed after construction of the building, the utility company could have some liability. If the building came later, the building’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing consultant could have had a duty to notify the electrical utility company that the building would encroach into the NESC-required clearance for the power line. I have served as an expert in a similar case involving a roofer who used a tool that touched a nearby power line.

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