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Report: BPU knew of downed line hours before Kansas City death

Violent thunderstorms crop up fast during Kansas City summers. Sometimes storms blow through without leaving more than a good drenching rain. Other times, flooding and wind damage wreak havoc on properties. That was the case in mid-June when a storm blew down a live power line in the Rosedale Park neighborhood.

According to reports, BPU dispatchers learned of the problem around 4 p.m. on a Saturday. The call was one of more than 550 storm-related complaints that weekend. The Rosedale work was dispatched hours later as "urgent" with a non-critical priority.

It would take 11 hours after the initial report for utility crews to get to the scene. By that time, the BPU power line had already caused a fatal accident. A 27-year-old man died from electric shock after stepping on the downed line early Sunday morning.

The Shawnee victim's parents indicated they have plans to file wrongful death claims against the electricity provider. What evidence would a jury have to consider if the liability case does not resolve in settlement and goes to trial?

The court will want to know why it took BPU crews so long to act on the downed line. How overwhelmed were utility crews assigned to handle the high volume of storm repairs?

The plaintiff's attorney will be sure to learn whether BPU failed to employ an alternative plan. Could the utility company have cut power to the downed line until crews repaired it? A temporary solution might have saved the Shawnee man's life.

A defendant's negligence must be proven for the victim's family members to receive damages in a wrongful death claim. In this case, a jury could decide BPU dispatchers neglected to categorize the live power line situation properly. Defendants who know or should have known the existence of a dangerous condition may be held liable for accident injuries and deaths.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of another person or company, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can advise you of your rights and options in your case. You may be able to receive financial compensation for such claims as pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress and other damages.

Source:, "BPU documents reveal dispatch delay in electrocution case" Garrett Haake, Jul. 25, 2013

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