A California woman has been awarded a $4 million settlement after stray electricity from a nearby substation resulted in a shocking shower.
Simona Wilson, 34, received several low-voltage electric shocks while adjusting the new shower head in her Redondo Beach home. The incidents occurred in March 2011, the Redondo Beach Patch reports.
Wilson’s lawsuit alleged that the low-grade electrocutions initially resulted in nausea and headaches. By April, she was experiencing nerve damage that caused numbness in her arms, legs, and feet. Eventually, the nerve damage progressed into a condition called erythromelalgia, forcing Wilson to make several trips to the hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the New York Daily News, the problem began after Wilson decided to renovate her bedroom’s bathroom, removing an elevated bath tub and replacing it with a tiled shower. Unbeknownst to Wilson, the tub had been elevated for a reason—it was meant to prevent an underlying electric current from causing injury.
By removing the platform, Wilson inadvertently electrified the new shower head in the bathroom stall, meaning that anyone who touched it would complete the current and receive a shock. According to the Huffington Post, the mother of 3 began to suspect that the shower head was the culprit when her boyfriend, Jason Stelle, experienced a similar shocking sensation.
While Wilson’s attorney told NBC Los Angeles that doctors had been unable to connect her nerve damage to stray electricity, a home inspector insisted that she “get out” of her home as soon as possible. By October 2011, the 34-year-old had moved out of the faulty house and filed a lawsuit against local utility company Southern California Edison.
According to several sources, Southern California Edison had been built the home in 1960 to house workers from its nearby Topaz substation.
Shockingly, tests later revealed that 26 separate points within the house were electrified, including several of her appliances and nearly all of her plumbing apparatuses.
On Monday, the Los Angeles County court ruled that Edison had failed to adequately address the faulty wiring in the house, and was therefore responsible for Wilson’s injuries.
She is slated to receive $1.05 million in compensation and $3 million in punitive damages. NBC Los Angeles reports that Edison is still deciding whether or not to appeal the decision.
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