FirstEnergy worker's family sues for wrongful death

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The family of a FirstEnergy employee who died while working in 2011 has filed a wrongful death suit against the company. The man’s relatives are seeking compensatory and punitive damages of more than $25,000 in the case, contending that the victim’s death was caused by safety violations.

Authorities report that the man, who was 53 when he died, was electrocuted on the morning of May 21, 2011. He was working to repair a power line in the area when he accidentally touched an electrified circuit that caused his death. Emergency responders rushed to the man’s aid, but they were unable to provide assistance; the victim was declared dead at the scene.

Family members said the man was a 20-year veteran of the Ohio Edison company.

Courtroom documents show that the man’s relatives believe the company violated OSHA safety requirements by failing to monitor the electrical status of the buried power lines. The supervisor at the scene is also accused of failing to check which line was electrified before work began on the system. The same supervisor had used similarly faulty procedures during an injurious accident in 2007, so that person should have been aware of the dangers of working with the buried power lines.

The accident was investigated by OSHA, along with the energy company that owns Ohio Edison. Complete accident data was not released to the media. News reports have not indicated the cost of potential safety violations fines incurred by FirstEnergy.

Victims in workplace accidents and wrongful death cases have the right to financial compensation. Even if the victim perishes at the workplace, family members can still pursue civil action against the company that caused their relative’s death. Financial awards in these cases can compensate for loss of consort, along with pain and suffering, emotional distress and many other claims. Furthermore, punitive damages, designed to punish the company for its poor decision-making, can help ensure that the same accident does not kill another worker.

Source: wkyc.com, “Canton: Lawsuit filed in death of FirstEnergy worker,” Kim Wendel, April 12, 2013