Contractor sues GPL over negligence after shock

-seeking $15M in damages over permanent injuries, partial disability

Percy Henry, an electrical contractor who was hospitalised after sustaining burns while working on an electricity pole a year ago, yesterday filed a $15 million lawsuit against the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) for the lifelong injuries and negligence.

In his claim, which was prepared by attorney Eusi Anderson, Henry is asking for the court to award the sum in damages for personal injury, loss and damages which were caused by the negligence of GPL, its servants or agents as a result of an exposed, low hanging, primary high voltage wire at Windsor Estates, Providence on July 11th, 2017.

“The said exposed primary high voltage wire came into contact with the claimant’s person on the said date and thereby caused him permanent injury and disability,” the document said.

It was explained that it was the responsibility the 31-year-old father of four minor children to service and interface with secondary power lines exclusively while performing his contractual obligations in keeping with the agreement made with GPL.

It was noted that it was the responsibility of GPL and or its servants and agents to service, maintain, keep in safe suspension and good repair from the general public, including but not limited to the claimant, the primary high voltage wired at Windsor Estates.

On July 11th, 2017, while climbing the electricity pole, Henry came into physical contact with an exposed primary wire, resulting in electrocution and diverse injuries. “The said injuries include 3rd degree burns to the neck and face and earlobe, deep 2nd – 3rd degree burns to the scapula leading to permanent facial disfigurement, deep 2nd and 3rd degree burns to the second, third and fourth fingers of the left hand resulting in permanent partial disability therein and deep 2nd degree burns to the left hand leading to permanent partial disability therein,” the claim states.

It adds that following the incident Henry underwent four surgeries to attempt to reduce the risk of permanent disability and according to his medical prognosis, “he will never regain full function of his left knee neither will he be able to climb stairs without assistance. He further has a risk of early onset arthritis and is completely prevented from returning to his normal routine or employment.”

According to the claim, under the Common Law of England, GPL owes a duty at large and in particular to Henry to confine the primary high voltage wire to distances safe from the general public and from its employees. “High voltage electricity is a dangerous thing. Further the Defendant is strictly liable for its decision to send the Claimant to the said electricity pole despite being informed prior to the 11th July, 2017 that there were serious faults which could endanger life,” the document states.

It was stressed that all material times, GPL exercised “exclusive jurisdiction, control, responsibility and charge” of the electricity poles at the location and their care, maintenance, inspection and repair was the sole responsibility of the company. Further, it was stated that the escape of the high voltage primary wire was caused by the “general negligence” of the company, its servants or agents.

With regards to the particulars of negligence, the claim lists these as the failure to erect and maintain a proper electricity pole at the site; failure to follow safe or proper procedures for the separation of the primary and secondary voltage wires at the site; failure to repair the hazardous and defective electricity pole at the site or before the date of the incident despite being warned of such previously; failure to ensure adequate separation of the primary and secondary wires despite being warned that the said distance was below the safe limit before the accident and usage of their property, that is, the electricity pole and primary and secondary voltage wires attached thereto, as to cause a danger to the claimant.

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