Electricians Servicing Lake Lanier Must Ensure Their Work Is Safe for Waterfront Use

Working with electrical systems requires specialized training and certification, and for very good reason. One wrong move while servicing these systems, or one flaw in their construction, can mean a fatal shock or fire.

The danger is greater when the electrical system is close to water, and greater still when it’s close a body of water that may change or move unpredictably, like a lake.

This has been a known issue on Lake Lanier for years. During a period of unusually high water levels in 2019, the Lake Lanier Association warned locals to cut power to their private docks, but discovered that many of the power outlets were already submerged. Not all residents knew of a way to shut the power off safely without touching the water.

Although the level of flooding in 2019 was anomalous, the overall problem remains. When electrical work along the shoreline isn’t up to standard, suited to its environment, and accompanied by thorough user instructions, the results can be fatal.

A Lifelong Swimmer Recently Died from Electric Shock Drowning Near Dove Trail

On July 27th, 2023, Thomas Shepard “Shep” Milner jumped off the end of his family’s dock to swim in Lake Lanier. Almost immediately, a friend heard Milner screaming for help and attempted a rescue, along with a group of neighbors and family.

The group approached Milner in a boat. One of them jumped in the water to reach him and immediately recognized the sensation of electric current. This person successfully swam to shore, cut the power, and then retrieved Milner from the lake, at which point Milner’s uncle began CPR. Unfortunately, Milner had already sustained fatal injuries and died under hospital care the next day.

He was 24 years old.

Milner’s mother, Martha, has stated that the property had been in the family for over 60 years, and that her son was a strong swimmer who had grown up loving the water. She also noted that the dock itself was only three years old, and that its electrical components had been installed by a licensed electrician.

A public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District called this kind of accident rare, while acknowledging that electrical units on docks have been known to cause an electric charge in the water before. He also stated that the docks are subject to federal standards under the National Electricians Commission, and are inspected approximately once every five years. However, that inspection simply consists of checking that a licensed electrician has signed off on them.

Sadly, in this case, that wasn’t enough to protect a young man from a preventable accident.

Families Hurt by Faulty Dock Electrical Systems Have a Right to Compensation

Construction standards exist to protect people from electrical accidents just like the one that killed Milner. The fact that his accident was possible indicates that someone somewhere along the line failed to adhere to those standards.

The three most likely possibilities are:

  1. The electrician who installed the dock’s electrical components did not take the necessary precautions to prevent short circuits through the water.
  2. The contractor who constructed the dock itself did not make sure it could safely support the intended electrical components.
  3. The electrician or contractor followed all applicable safety regulations and guidelines, but unknowingly used materials that were defective or incorrectly advertised.

This family, like all others harmed by shoddy professional construction, deserves a full investigation into what went wrong, and compensation from whichever company allowed this lapse to occur.

If you are Martha Milner and would like to discuss your legal options, or if you have also lost someone or been injured due to faulty electrical work in Georgia, please feel free to reach out by phone or chat.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury LawyerMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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