It may not be surprising to learn that summer is the most common season for lightning deaths and injuries. Close to one hundred people die each year from lightning strikes. In addition, hundreds more are injured. As a general rule, if you can see lightning or hear thunder, you are a potential target for a lightning strike.
There are a number of situations which put a person at greater risk for being struck by lightning. Anyone in or near water is at risk. This includes indoor pools, outdoor pools, showers, and plumbing. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, making these areas very dangerous. In addition, people around pools are at risk even if the lightning strikes a pole as the various pipes and wires running around a pool conduct electricity as well.
Being under trees or around a tall object is not safe either. Diving boards, diving towers, lifeguard stands, and poles all can cause the current to jump from one object to a nearby person. If you are standing under a tree when it is struck by lightning, there is a good chance that the electricity going through the root system will harm you.
Should lightning occur, it is best to stand in a building or sit in a vehicle. Don’t stand near them. Being under an awning is not safe enough and will put you at risk of being struck by lightning. People need to stand inside of a building for safety purposes. Another good rule is to leave any wide open spaces, such as fields, the minute that lightning is seen or thunder is heard.
As a good rule of thumb for avoiding being struck by lightning, use the 30/30 rule. This means that when you see a flash of lightning, count the seconds until the thunder from it is heard. If you count to 30 or less before hearing thunder, you are easily within range of the lightning. Every 5 seconds is one mile between you and that individual flash of lightning. The second “30” stands for minutes. After the last flash of lightning, wait 30 minutes before leaving your shelter. Half of all lightning deaths occur after a thunderstorm has passed.
If you have been injured by lightning due to a facility’s failure to provide adequate shelter, contact the Wausau personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 800-242-2874 to discuss your situation and to determine your legal options.