A Pennsylvania man was electrocuted on April 27, 2013, while working as an independent contractor at a home. According to a legal journal posting on July 1, his surviving family members are now seeking damages from the parties involved in enabling him to work at the premises where he died. His estate is represented by his mother, who has joined his father in seeking damages of $50,000 for each of 20 counts against four electrical contractors and the homeowners. The damages include pecuniary losses, funeral expenses, loss of comfort, care and potential contributions from the victim to the family.
He was in the middle of a home improvement project on Philadelphia’s Juniper Street when he opened a second-floor access panel to lower a wire to one of the four contracting firms’ employees. As he fished the wire downward, he made contact with and was electrocuted by a copper pipe that was allegedly not correctly discharged or grounded.
The suit alleges that the homeowners allowing the workers to operate without legitimate permits or licenses renders all of the defendants liable for failure to prevent the victim from working on a property with inadequate protection from electrical hazards. It also alleges that the contractors failed to train their workers to discharge the hazardous metal or to warn the victim of the access panel’s risks.
In addition to any potential settlement from the wrongful death suit filed in this case, the parents may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Securing such a claim may be complicated, however, due to the victim’s status as an independent contractor. An attorney with experience in workers’ compensation may be able to help an independent contractor injured in a workplace accident establish that an employer-employee relationship existed.
Source: The Pennsylvania Record, “Family of man electrocuted seeks damages from employers“, Jim Boyle, July 01, 2014