Electricity – We Need It – But It Can Cause Injury And Death

Electricity can do a lot of good things for us — keep us warm when it is cold, cool when it is hot, light our homes, provide energy for our appliances and now can even charge the batteries for our electronically powered automobiles. Electricity under the wrong circumstances, however, can cause devastating injuries and even death.

Gray, Ritter & Graham has handled many claims for injured parties and family members who have suffered the devastating effects of electricity. Electricity is so dangerous that most states, including Missouri, have imposed a higher duty of care on electrical utilities that generate and distribute electricity. A supplier of electricity must exercise the highest degree of care and keep its transmission and distribution wires in such a condition as to reduce the likelihood of injury to persons who may come in close proximity to its wires.

Accordingly, courts around the country have held that this duty of highest care requires that an electrical utility transmitting and distributing its electricity over high-powered lines either insulate its wires or place them beyond the range of contact with persons rightfully using the places where the wires are located. This high duty of care includes prevention of injuries or death which the utility can anticipate, even though it may not be able to anticipate the exact injury which occurred or even the exact manner in which it occurred.

In March 2009, Gray, Ritter & Graham attorney Maurice B. Graham obtained a $2.325 million jury verdict for three young people who were shocked by stray voltage from an electrical distribution line buried in a lake in Jefferson County, Missouri. Even stray voltage from improperly maintained electric lines can result in serious injuries and death.