Xavier Massey, 13, was riding in the passenger seat of an SUV when the driver of the car struck a utility pole during a rainstorm. The collision downed the power lines. After the impact, two of the three power lines shut down as they were designed to, but the third line stayed active.
Mr. Massey emerged from the collision uninjured until he accidentally came into contact with the live power line. He suffered electrical burns to about 4 percent of his body, including burns to both of his feet. The burns on his feet resulted in the amputation of three toes on one foot and two toes on the other. He also endured electrical burns to his left hand and elbow.
Mr. Massey’s past medical expenses totaled at about $600,000 and his future medical expenses are expected to be about $3 million.
On behalf of Mr. Massey, his mother sued the power company that maintained the utility pole and electrical lines. She alleged that the safety system failed to shut down one of the power lines after the impact, as required by the National Electric Safety Code. The power company contended that the third line had an overly large fuse, which prevented it from shutting down.
The jury found the power company 100 percent liable and awarded Mr. Massey’s party $4.4 million. The parties eventually settled for a confidential amount.
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