Liberty High School's baseball coach Corey Crum and his wife, Shana, were performing volunteer work along with members of the team at their baseball field in March. Mr. Crum was 39-years-old at the time. He was cleaning up the field and also completing the installation of a new scoreboard. The couple was exposed to wiring and died from electrocution. The wiring was the responsibility of the local electric provider, Florida Public Utilities Company (FPU). The improperly installed power lines were described as running “to nowhere.”
The Crum family has since filed a civil claim of wrongful death against FPU to pursue damages. The lawsuit states that there should not have been live electrical wires positioned at the location. These wires had not been insulated and the wires were improperly placed. The “cold neutral line was on top and the hot (live) wire was on the bottom.” The lawsuit also asserts that the provider's response time was insufficient to allow for emergency responders to provide any aid.
Wife Responds to Electrocution
After Mr. Crum was initially electrocuted, Shana Crum attempted to assist him; however, she also died at the scene as well. Their 14-year-old son, Chase, was also injured at the scene. Mr. Crum was apparently quite familiar with electricity; however, the wiring installation was not in accordance with the standards of the National Electrical Safety Code. FPU is the regional provider of natural gas, electricity, and propane to the area's residential and commercial markets
Florida Wrongful Death
When a person is killed as a result of the negligent or wrongful acts of another party, a civil action of wrongful death may be pursued. The lawsuit may be filed by the deceased's surviving family members or personal representative who may represent his or her estate. If the defendant is deemed to be at fault, the plaintiff's may recover compensation for various reasons.
Potentially Awarded Damages
The survivors may recover financial compensation for the loss of support that the deceased would otherwise have provided. Often an expert may be needed to accurately calculate such future losses. This calculation may require the probable amount of future earnings determined. The age and life expectancy of the parties involved is generally a factor. As was the case in this incident, financial concerns definitely exist when the deceased has minor children or other dependents that require support. Other facts regarding wrongful death actions in Florida are as follows:
- The parent of a deceased minor child may pursue damages for “pain and suffering” when no other survivors exist
- The parents of a deceased adult child may also pursue damages for “mental pain and suffering” when no other survivors exist
- An individual who paid for medical, funeral, or burial expenses may pursue financial recovery
- A personal representative of the estate of the deceased may pursue lost earnings for the period between the injury and the date when they died, with interest
- These awards may be subjected to the “claims of creditors” when they are in compliance with the laws of the probate court