Our firm recently settled a case for one of our clients whose husband was electrocuted and killed while working on the premises of Sims Property in Florence, Alabama. The decedent was performing maintenance work and painting awning supports on the front of the Sims Property building. He was electrocuted when his paint pole came into contact with the casing of a florescent sign which was also affixed to the front of the building. The casing was dangerously energized because it was not properly grounded.
This case illustrates a most serious problem that exists across the state. Owners of buildings, which have aged, often ignore safety issues with their buildings and expose tenants and people working in and around these buildings to risk of injury and even death. In this case, the florescent sign’s energy source was a two prong wiring system that was not properly grounded. The hazard posed by electrical systems which are not properly grounded has been recognized for over 60 years. In fact, the first National Electric Code, which was released in 1957, required that all electrical systems and signs be grounded to prevent electric shock injuries and fatalities.
In this case, the owner of the building, who is an electrician, was aware that the florescent sign on the front of the building was improperly grounded. He was also aware that it posed a safety hazard to those who might come in contact with it. However, the safety hazard was not corrected until after the death of our client’s husband, and only after the City of Florence ordered the property owner to eliminate the safety hazard. The only reason the building’s owner did not eliminate the hazard before our client’s husband’s death was the cost involved.
The case was pending in Lauderdale County, Alabama before Judge Gil Self when the settlement was reached. The amount of the settlement, at the request of the Defendant and the liability insurance company involved, is confidential. Rick Morrison from our firm, along with Leslie Johnson, a very good lawyer from Florence, Alabama, represented the family and did a tremendous job.
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