Early on the morning of the Saturday opening the 2016 Labor Day weekend, a 17-year-old lifeguard suffered a fatal electric shock and drowned in the Wake County, North Carolina (NC), pool. She was preparing the pool for residents of the Heritage Point community north of Raleigh. Police and investigators from state agencies like the NC Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division worked all week without discovering why the high school student became electrocuted.
Shocks and electrocutions at work happen far too often. Poorly inspected and improperly maintained electrical systems present serious health and safety risks that can go overlooked and unaddressed by companies more focused on cutting costs than saving lives. We cannot know whether that negative assessment applies to the homeowner's association that pays for the pool where the North Carolina teenager lost her life or to the company paid by the HOA to manage the pool from day to day.
Officials told reporters that their investigation into the cause of the workplace electrocution and drowning may take three months or longer. During that time, the companies who may bear responsibility for creating and maintaining an unsafe workplace can be expected to do all they can to deny liability. Part of those efforts may take the form of directing blame toward alleged errors by the deceased lifeguard.
Casting doubt on the actions of an injured or killed worker is a key tactic for disputing insurance claims, denying workers' compensation and defending against civil lawsuits. Consulting with a caring Carolina wrongful death attorney who has experience representing victims of shocks and electrocutions can help the teen lifeguard's family protect themselves from such unfounded accusations. Hiring a dedicated plaintiff's attorney will also ensure that family members remain fully informed of investigators' progress and have access to experts' interpretations of a final report on the fatal incident.