Centerpoint Energy Hit With Wrongful Death of 83-Year-Old Man
Texas energy companies are being hit with multiple wrongful death lawsuits related to the failure of power during the winter freeze that humbled Texas’ power grid. The latest lawsuit is related to the death of an 83-year-old man who suffered from COPD. The ailment required that he breathe with the help of a respirator. During the storm, the home lost power and James Thomas Jones died. His family blames the power company for failing to manage the situation properly.
An attorney for the family says that Centerpoint Energy failed to properly prepare for the power outage and further says that they didn’t care. The lawsuit states that Centerpoint Energy had the ability to control which areas got power and which didn’t. According to the lawsuit, the home where Jones was staying went without power for 24 hours. As a result, there was no power for Jones’ respirator. Throughout the night he became weaker and weaker. His breathing became more labored. Eventually, he could not breathe at all.
Shouldn’t the Family Be Responsible?
If you scroll through the comments of this article, you’ll understand why personal injury lawyers have such a difficult job. The majority of the folks in the comments are blaming the family for the loss of power. They say that the family could have contacted the energy company to ensure that they were placed on a list to prevent their power from being cut. They also believe the family should have moved Jones to a safe location with a generator. Further, they could have brought him to the hospital at any time where the power would have remained on.
According to the family, they watched on as their loved one’s breathing became more and more labored throughout the night. They watched as he eventually stopped breathing. At no point did any attempt to intervene. At no point was he ever brought to the hospital where there was power.
So, yes, an argument can be made for why the family is responsible for his death. But other elements of this case underscore the fact that the energy company has a responsibility to each of its customers—not just the ones who live in fancy downtown highrises.
Eventually, it’s going to be that particular point that’s made before the court. The energy companies will have to answer for the fact that they provided power to empty offices while people were dying in their own homes. While the family could have better prepared to protect a loved one who needed a respirator, buying and setting up a generator is not always within the realm of possibility. Further, bringing the man to an overwhelmed hospital may also have resulted in his death. We don’t know the answer to any of that.
What we do know is simple: The energy company provides power to homes. The homes expect the power to be provided. The energy company failed to provide the power to the home. A man died as a result of that failure.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
If a family member was injured during the deep freeze, call the Houston personal injury lawyers at Livingston & Flowers to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.