Determining what caused a Pennsylvania accident can be difficult

Often an investigation into the cause of an accident will uncover that negligence played an important role in the tragic event. Or otherwise put; the accident would not have occurred but for the negligence of someone else.

A notable Pennsylvania case illustrates just how important a thorough investigation can be in discovering fault. In this particular case, various missteps by a power company were unearthed that ultimately resulted in a fatal accident.

Looking for the cause of an electrocution accident

The horrific accident occurred after a spliced power line error resulted in the death of a Pennsylvania woman. The accident happened when a mother went outside to make a cellphone call after power went out at her home. As she stood making the call, a power line fell on her.

The woman suffered serious injury from the electrocution and died several days after the accident.

The family of the woman sued the power company arguing that the company had not properly trained its workers. That failure in training was what caused the spliced power line to fall on the woman. The power company argued that the woman was at fault, because she put herself in harm’s way by going outside to make the call.

At the end of a three-week trial, the jury found for the plaintiff and awarded the woman’s family $109 million dollars for the personal injury and $61 million in punitive damages.

Negligence claims

A civil tort comes from the French word for wrong. Negligence cases involve a breach of a duty owed to an injured person. In every tort case, an essential element is to prove that a negligent act proximately caused the catastrophic injury. In the above case, the plaintiff had to connect the poor training of the power company to the fall of the power line, which caused her injury. Causation is sometimes a difficult thing to prove and requires thorough investigation.

In the worst cases, when a loved one dies from a grievous injury, family members are able to bring a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death action can be brought to recover monetary damages for the death caused by the wrongful or negligent act of another person or entity.

Actual damages may be available to compensate for medical expenses and lost future earnings capacity. Damages in most personal injury cases are designed to make the plaintiff “whole.” When a loved one dies, it can be hard to compute damages. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish a defendant and discourage others from similar behavior in the future.

If you or a loved one suffers an injury in an accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can discuss your individual circumstances. Remedies may be available that you would not have considered and a lawyer can make sure your rights are protected in negotiations up and through trial if needed.