Family sues apartment over son's electrocution death

Family sues apartment over son's electrocution death

Although owning a home is often part of the American dream, living in an apartment does have its advantages. This is especially true if the apartment complex offers on-site amenities like a swimming pool, workout facility and designated recreational areas.

But apartment owners and operators who offer these amenities must first and foremost ensure that they are safe. When residents are injured or killed by equipment that is in disrepair or facilities that are otherwise hazardous, the property owners could face a premises liability lawsuit.

A recent example comes from Tennessee. The family of a 23-year-old man has sued the apartment complex where he lived until his death in September of this year. According to the lawsuit, he was fatally electrocuted by a light pole while playing tennis on the apartment’s tennis court.

In late September, the victim allegedly walked near the light pole after retrieving a tennis ball from outside of the court. His parents said: “When he came into contact with the pole, he lost muscular control due to the lethal current flowing through his body and was unable to remove himself from the painful and fatal electrical shock. The defective light pole caused [our son] to be electrocuted and killed."

Normally, utility poles are designed to keep electrical wires contained so that accidents like this cannot happen. But for some reason, the “defective electrical wiring within the pole caused the pole to become electrically energized,” according to the lawsuit. His family is seeking approximately $40 million in damages.

Premises liability lawsuits are an important way for individuals and families to seek restitution when they have lost a loved one due to a hazardous condition on someone else’s property. In addition to compensating the victim’s family, this lawsuit will hopefully remind all rental property owners that safety cannot be taken for granted.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “ Tennis Electrocution Leads to Lawsuit,” Kevin Lessmiller, Oct. 31, 2014

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