Electric companies are seen very differently from contractors in the eyes of the law. There is different accountability for various circumstances, such as with injuries or negligence. It is important to note these differences and remain informed of the legal procedures surrounding certain incidents that may occur.
Accountability for Injuries
When it comes to electric companies, they are subjected to the law pertinent to companies engaged in public service. This is because the nature of the work that electric companies perform is generally deemed a public utility service. With this, injury cases relating to electrical products from these electric companies are not covered by the doctrine of strict products liability. This means the injured person will not be able to receive compensation from the electric company. The doctrine is not applied because it does not normally cover services deemed as a public necessity.
Contractor liability works very differently. The doctrine of strict products liability is applicable here. In this case, contractors are held liable for damage or injury caused from products they or their employees used. Even after work has been accepted by the employer, contract workers can still be held liable if the nature of their work is inherently dangerous.
However, a contractor is not liable for injury caused to a third person after the work is completed. The employer of the independent contractor cannot be held liable for injuries caused by the contractor, unless proven to have negligently hired an incompetent contractor.
Contractors are also liable for any damage caused to the property of the individual who hired them, regardless if negligence was involved or not.
Negligence is when action or inaction leads to property damage or injury to another person. Because electric companies are considered public utility services, the principle of negligence is applicable. This principle states that when someone is found to have acted carelessly, which led to injury or damage, that person is held liable for the resulting harm. Proving negligence is normally done in the courtroom, where the plaintiff’s lawyer must make a convincing case and provide sufficient evidence of negligence.
Again, for contractor liability, contractors are liable for injury and damage regardless if negligence was proven to be evident. In some cases, the employer of an independent contractor can be held liable if the employer is found to have deliberately hired an incompetent or unskilled contract worker.
Stray voltage is electricity that is loose in the ground, as if it had escaped the electric cable it originated from. It travels through the ground, looking to dissipate. It can be attracted to wet surfaces, such as wet concrete, and shock any individual in the area. Sometimes this can be fatal. In this case, electric companies are held liable via the doctrine of strict products liability. Independent contractors are also held liable for stray voltage.
Remember to always be aware of the laws surrounding the nature of your work or the work you are hiring. Electric companies and independent contractors are held at different liabilities, and it benefits you to be prepared for and knowledgeable of any possible circumstance.