En EspaƱol

Jury Awards $109 Million to Family in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

An Allegheny County jury awarded a $109 million wrongful death verdict (Case number: GD-11- 00991) to the family of 39-year-old Carrie Goretzka after she was electrocuted by a falling power line in her backyard, a Dec. 8 report in The Clarion Ledger states. Jurors deliberated for less than two hours before finding West Penn Power Co. negligent for allegedly not training workers on safety practices.

Carrie GoretzkaThe husband and two young children of 39-year-old Carrie Goretzka were awarded $109 million by an Allegheny County jury in a wrongful death lawsuit against West Penn Power Co. According to a Dec. 8 news report in The Clarion Ledger, the fatal accident occurred when a falling power line burned the woman in her backyard. The lawsuit (Case number: GD-11- 00991) alleged that the power company failed to properly train its workers for several years before Goretzka's June 2009 death.

Her husband, Michael Goretzka, had complained to the power company months before the accident that he was concerned for his family's safety because the spliced power line in their backyard failed twice previously, the lawsuit (Case number: GD-11- 00991) stated.

The lawsuit also says that the woman was killed when she went outside to make a cell phone call when she saw a burning backyard tree because the line had overheated again, cutting power to the house. Her daughters, ages 4 and 2, and her mother-in-law, helplessly watched Goretzka burn for more than 20 minutes before emergency personnel arrived, the lawsuit states. She died three days later, according to the news report in The Clarion Ledger.

The power company's lawyers argued that Goretzka "put herself in harm's way" by standing under the power line while making the phone call, The Clarion Ledger news report states. According to the Clarion Ledger report, this verdict is the largest personal injury award in the history of Allegheny County.

"Utility companies have a responsibility to properly train their workers on how to do their jobs and how to apply safety practices across the board", said John Bisnar, founder of the Bisnar | Chase personal injury law firm. "Wrongful death cases not only seek justice and fair compensation for those who are affected by the tragedy, but also shine the spotlight on the hazards others still face.""

While obtaining monetary compensation for victims' families is a primary goal of wrongful death lawsuits, these actions also aim to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future, Bisnar says. "I've represented numerous families that have lost loved ones. For them, the biggest satisfaction is not getting the money, but making a positive change in the way things are done -- righting a wrong so that what happened to their loved one does not happen to anyone else."

About Bisnar | Chase

The California wrongful death lawyers at Bisnar | Chase represent families or victims of wrongful death accidents. The firm has been featured on a number of popular media outlets including Newsweek, Fox, NBC, and ABC and is known for its passionate pursuit of results for their clients. Since 1978, Bisnar | Chase has recovered millions of dollars for victims of serious personal injuries and their families.

For more information, please call 949-203-3814.


Share this:

See All Ratings And Awards

The BISNAR | CHASE Difference

  • “I was in a serious auto accident when I was in law school. I had to hire a personal injury attorney and had a really bad experience.”

    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “I went to law school knowing I wanted to be a personal injury attorney. I wanted my life’s work to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.”

    Brian Chase

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “Whatever the philosphy of the management is, is going to be carried through by the employees and it’s going to reflect on the experience the clients have.”

    John Bisnar

    on his philosophy on running a law firm

  • “Everybody either drives in a car or rides in a car, so when I do the auto defect cases I really feel like I’m making the world safer by making vehicles safer.”

    Brian Chase

    on why he focuses on auto defect cases

  • “The first thing we want to do with our clients is to relieve the stress. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as an honored guest.”

    John Bisnar

    on how he would define superior client representation

  • “Corporate greed is a reality in our world and I see it time and time again. Especially, with the auto defect cases we focus on.”

    Brian Chase

    on corporate greed and how it affects the consumer

  • “You are dealing with people who are seriously injured or have lost a family member...Compassion is understanding someone else’s situation.”

    John Bisnar

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

  • “There are many, many defects in vehicles that can lead to life or death that could be fixed with a mere $40-$50 [on the assembly line].”

    Brian Chase

    on the shocking facts about the vehicles we drive

  • “...if [manufacturers] build a dangerous product and someone is seriously injured from that, some personal inury lawyer is going to call them on the carpet about it.”

    John Bisnar

    on how Bisnar | Chase has helped make the world a better place

  • “I’m convinced, because of all the lawsuits...the auto industry finally found out it was cheaper to fix the problem than to keep paying in the litigation.”

    Brian Chase

    on making the world a safer place

  • “I bring in the best employees that I can and I want them to have a workplace that is condusive to them doing their best work.”

    John Bisnar

    on the work environment created at Bisnar | Chase

  • “When you have a client come in that’s in a wheelchair...or you meet a wife who has lost their husband or they’ve lost their child, it’s diffucult not to get emotionally involved.”

    Brian Chase

    on the biggest challenges he faces as a personal injury lawyer

  • “...it is part of our civic responsibility and it is our great fortune to be in a position to be able to help support our community...”

    John Bisnar

    on the importance of giving back to the community

  • “My motivation of going to law school to have my life’s work help other people...when I see that come to fruition, I’m very pleased and very happy with that.”

    Brian Chase

    on the accomplishments he is most proud of

  • “Seeing the growth of my employees, seeing them mature professionally, personally, and grow into the great professionals they have become is tremendous.”

    John Bisnar

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “I was always jealous of doctors. They get to save lives and they get to heal. I don’t get to do that but I get to have a very big impact on another person’s life...”

    Brian Chase

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “There’s going to people that you meet, that you can mentor...You can make a difference in their lives, you can make a difference in their client’s lives.”

    John Bisnar

    on mentoring young attorneys

  • “I’m the president-elect this year and I’ll be the president next year of the Consumer Advocate Attorneys of California and I find that to be a rewarding thing...”

    Brian Chase

    on being an advocate for the people of California

  • “The Lakers have always been a winning organization, a class organization. I’ve used the Lakers as kind of a model for how to run my practice as well.”

    John Bisnar

    on his passions in life

  • “We try to figure out how we can help [our clients] get through what they’re going through emotionally. Because just getting them compensated is only part of the job.”

    Brian Chase

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

Bisnar | Chase • 1301 Dove St #120
Newport Beach, CA 92660
local: (949) 203-3814
Get Directions

California Personal Injury Blog

Woman Cleared In Death Linked To GM Faulty Ignition Switch

A woman was cleared in the death of her boyfriend, which occurred nearly a decade ago, because it has now been tied to a General Motors defective ignition switch.

read article

Toyota Recalls Lexus Cars To Fix Fuel Leaks

Toyota is recalling nearly 423,000 Lexus luxury brand cars to fix fuel leaks that can cause fires. The recall spans several years and several models.

read article

Ford Recalls Fusion Vehicles For Ignition Defects

Ford Motor Company has announced an auto defect recall for about 65,000 Fusion sedans in North America for ignition problems.

read article

Connect

Copyright & Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case.

Bisnar | Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in other states through our associations with local law firms. Through the local firm, we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice, meaning "for this particular occasion." When in our client's interest, we employ the local law firm (at no additional cost to our client) to assist us with routine court appearances and discovery proceedings to more efficiently pursue our client's cause.

Copyright © 1999- Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP - All rights reserved. Location: 1301 Dove St. #120, Newport Beach, CA 92660 Tel: 949-203-3814

SLS Consulting