Severe Injury Incident Involving Utility Pole Maintenance

This case study explores a severe injury incident caused by falling wooden cross poles from a utility pole, focusing on liability issues related to utility pole maintenance.

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 26, 2024

Utility pole

Case Overview

This case study delves into an incident involving an individual who sustained severe injuries due to falling wooden cross poles from a utility pole. The event transpired when the individual parked their vehicle under a utility pole and was exiting it.

Without warning, the cross poles dislodged from the utility pole and struck them. This case seeks to scrutinize liability issues associated with utility pole maintenance, specifically focusing on whether adequate safety measures were implemented and adhered to by the responsible parties.

Questions to the Electrical Engineer expert and their responses


Could you describe your professional background in utility pole maintenance, particularly as it pertains to your experience in New York City?

I bring 31 years of experience to the table, holding a P.E. licensure in Electrical Engineering. My work has encompassed several matters concerning utility pole and equipment maintenance, including cases within NYC venues.


What kind of maintenance programs are in place to ensure that utility poles operate safely and effectively?

Maintenance programs for utility poles are typically governed by the specific utility using the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), supplemented by guidance from Public Utility Commission or equivalent bodies.

There are two primary efforts – inspection/maintenance of poles and equipment. In New York, poles are inspected periodically; the frequency is determined by region within the state, averaging about every seven years. A 10-year period is common in the industry. Findings from these inspections are prioritized for repair.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, could you provide some details?

Yes, I have been involved in two similar cases. One case involved two fatalities where Con Ed claimed lightning caused a line to drop from a pole, but it was more probable that age of the pole and end-of-useful life were factors.

Another case in NYC was very similar to this current matter but also involved equipment; an insulator fell from a pole, injuring a passerby.

About the expert

This expert boasts over two decades of experience in electrical engineering, holding a PhD in the field and multiple master's degrees. They are a licensed professional engineer and member of several prestigious engineering associations, with four patents to their name. Their extensive career includes setting safety standards, advising on technical matters, investigating electrical and fire accidents for a U.S. Army Command, and currently leading an electrical engineering consultancy.

Expert headshot



About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

Find an expert witness near you

What State is your case in?

What party are you representing?

background image

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our newsletter to stay up to date on legal news, insights and product updates from Expert Institute.