When providing municipal utility services, facilities must be routed through both public and private areas. People can be endangered, hurt, or potentially killed if something goes wrong with these facilities.
When the negligence of a utility company causes injury or property damage, it is best to contact a Los Angeles utilities lawyer from Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack. Doing so may enable you to collect compensation for any damages you incurred due to the action or inaction of the utility company in question.
What Are Utilities?
Residents throughout the country rely on a host of essential resources to maintain a comfortable standard of living. These essential resources are called “utilities.” Various utilities are available, including electricity, water, sewage, trash removal, telecommunications networks, and more.
There are some publicly owned utility companies, but a majority of utility companies are not owned and operated by the government. Instead, most utility infrastructure in Los Angeles is administered by privately owned organizations that have contracts with the state and/or federal government. These companies are heavily regulated by the entities that govern them, but they generally operate using for-profit models.
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Utilities Are Regulated Heavily
Public utilities companies are regulated at every level of government, including the local, state, and federal governments. Most states have specific government agencies designed to regulate all public utilities. The local governments have similar agencies that control utilities in a smaller subsection of the state, such as a city, county, or municipality.
State utility authorities regulate the local authorities often, but some local authorities are allowed to operate independently of further regulation. The federal government only steps in to regulate either of these authorities when the services they provide go across state lines.
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Utilities Can Harm People
When you turn on a light in your home, you may not consider that the electricity running into your home and through the light bulb is an incredibly dangerous resource. Even slight exposure to electricity can be fatal, so utility companies have an obligation to ensure that the lines used to transport electricity are completely safe and secured.
The same applies to other resources that have been deemed utilities. Water, for example, poses a health and safety risk due to the fact that water can easily transport disease when contaminated. It is also a threat to property because when water comes into contact with most materials, some water damage is likely to happen.
People suffer injuries due to improperly maintained and secured utilities all of the time. Whether you came into contact with a low-hanging power line, were caused harm by a burst water main, or suffered during an interaction with another utility service, you deserve to be compensated for your damages. The process of recovering compensation may be difficult, but it is possible with the help of a utilities lawyer in Los Angeles.
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Suing a Los Angeles Utility Company
The California Public Utilities Commission regulates most utility companies in Los Angeles. They are responsible for monitoring various utility services, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, telecommunications, etc. There are some utility providers who do not fall under the California Public Utilities Commission jurisdiction but these companies rarely cause harmful accidents.
When it comes to filing a claim against a utility company that is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, there are some major roadblocks that prevent many plaintiffs from winning their cases. Because these companies are working with the government, applicable laws tend to favor them. To have a good chance to win plaintiffs must have adequate evidence showing that their damages were directly caused by the actions of a utility company.
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Negligence of Some Power Providers Causes Widespread Harm
Electricity providers are the most likely municipal services to cause harm to persons and property-often as a result of unexpected fires. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), for example, has long been under fire for causing wildfire events, such as the “Creek Fire.”
Based on current knowledge, the widespread Creekwildfire occurred because the LADWP did not install and maintain their electrical utilities correctly. Prior to the fires occurring, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Weather Service notified LADWP that risks were present. Even with this information, the LADWP failed to take action to secure overhead electrical lines that were at risk of being damaged by high winds and other extreme weather conditions.
Their inaction eventually led to the Creek Fire, which destroyed more than 60 homes and burned 15,000 acres of forest. Although the utility company is currently disputing its involvement in the event, Los Angeles utilities attorneys are fighting to recover compensation for every family that was impacted. The U.S. government is also working to recover more than $40 million in compensation for the cost of fighting the fire and restoring the forest.
This is only one example of a time when a power provider caused a serious incident due to negligence. You may have recently been damaged and hurt by the negligent actions of a utility provider. If so, a utilities attorney in Los Angeles can offer you help pursuing compensation.
Winning Against Utility Companies Is Challenging
Utility companies often have direct support from the government. This means it may be in the government’s best interest to side with the utility companies. Therefore, the only way to win against a utility company is to build a strong case that proves that the utility company was grossly negligent in its actions, or is responsible as a matter of law.
To prove that a utility company was negligent, causing you harm, you need support from a Los Angeles utilities lawyer who understands the complexities of California laws. Because Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack has been practicing in this field for years, you can trust our attorneys to provide you with every bit of support that you need. To learn more about scheduling a free case evaluation, use the contact form on this page.
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