February, 2000 – In this case, Plaintiff drove into a parking lot of a local steakhouse and parked into a designated and striped parking space. It was dark when he arrived and he did not see the base of the guy wire which was anchored a few inches in front of the parking space. The Plaintiffs tires were still on the edge of the pavement, however his bumper extended over the edge of the pavement and the corner of the bumper apparently became hung on the guy wire. The parking space did not have a curb stop as did many of the other spaces in the parking lot. A curb stop would have kept the nose of the car from contacting the guy wire.
In addition to the lack of a curb stop, the guy wire itself did not have a yellow plastic “guy maker” as is required by the National Electrical Safety Code and Alabama Power Co’s own standards. When the Plaintiff returned to his car after eating dinner, he realized his bumper was caught on the guy wire. He was afraid the frazzled ends of the wire were going to puncture his tire and tried to free his car from the wire. What he did not know was that APCo had also violated another of its own standards and had run a 7,600-volt stinger wire approximately 7 inches underneath the guy wire. This pole did not contain a guy insulator. While attempting to free his car, the guy wire came loose from the anchor and contacted the stinger wire thus conducting 7,600 volts of electricity into our client.
He was severely burned and spent approximately a month in the hospital’s burn center. He sustained permanent damage to his arm, hand and chest as well as permanent scarring on other parts of his body. The jury punished Defendant by awarding a substantial verdict.