Are electrocution cases involving power lines considered negligence?

There are several types of injury lawsuits. Generally, in electrocution cases involving power lines, principles of negligence apply — rather than strict liability or product liability. 

The reason strict liability principles do not apply is because the transmission of electricity through power lines is not generally deemed so ultra-hazardous as to warrant strict liability, according to Kentucky Utilities Co. v Auto Crane Co..

In addition, the transmission of electricity is a public necessity and the rules for strict liability for abnormally dangerous activities rarely apply to activities carried on in pursuance of a public duty, according to Kentucky Utilities.

This means the plaintiff’s lawyer has the burden of proving the following factors in an electrocution case:

  1. The defendant power company owed a duty to the plaintiff;
  2. The power company breached that duty;
  3. The power company’s conduct was a cause-in-fact of the plaintiff’s injuries;
  4. The power company’s substandard conduct was a legal cause of plaintiff’s injuries; and
  5. The plaintiff suffered actual damages (Foley v. Energy La., Inc.)
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