As the world continues to become more and more electronic, it should come as no surprise that electrocutions and electric shock injuries are some of the most common claims we encounter as a personal injury firm. Make no mistake, electricity is perhaps the most important aspect of our lives, but a little bit of negligence or misuse can result in serious shocks up to the point of fatality.
Electrocution truly can take place anywhere. This includes your workplace, your home, or any other location where there are faulty electrical products, negligent installation or maintenance, or fallen power lines. We will discuss these topics in more detail below, but claimants should know that all electrical injury claims should be handled by trusted legal professionals in order to ensure the best chance of success. The electrocution and electric shock injury attorneys from Van Law Firm are always standing by to help–call our office nearest you today to get started with a free consultation.
Common Sources of Electrocutions and Electrical Injuries
Generally speaking, we split most of our time between our home and workplace, and so those are by far the most common sources of electrical injuries.
At home, oftentimes our small appliances and consumer products are the biggest risk as far as electrocutions. Products like toaster ovens, deep fryers, and electronic devices often have failures or short circuits, resulting in shocks, burns, and fires. In addition, faulty or negligent wiring and installation practices can also spell disaster for homeowners. The level of electric current that runs through our homes is more than enough to harm or even kill a person, so exposed wires or open circuits can be a huge problem, especially with animals and young children present.
At our workplaces, the same risks apply, especially for those who work in trades such as construction, plumbing, and electrical work. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), electric shocks account for about 8 percent of all work-related deaths.
Electrical Injuries: How and Why do They Take Place?
As explained by OSHA, electric current begins to flow through all nearby conductors whenever an electrical circuit is formed. So, if your skin comes into contact with an open circuit, the circuit will become closed (or energized) and therefore the electric current will travel through your body–unfortunately, we are amazing conductors. This can be done in multiple ways, such as grabbing both wires of a circuit, touching one wire from an open circuit and the ground (a connection to a conductor), or touching a piece of metal that has electric current running through it.
Another electrocution risk that is very common is accidental contact with overhead power lines. Due to the fact that most people have no experience with these lines, they usually assume that they are insulated or safe to touch, which is definitely not the case. If you touch two lines or otherwise form a circuit as described above, you will likely be hit with a lethal shock. According to the Indiana Electric Cooperatives, most homes have a 110-volt flow of electricity, whereas commercial power lines usually carry 7,200 volts at a minimum.
Electrical accidents vary in severity, but they are almost always caused by negligence or improper practices. If a household product or appliance is faulty and causes a severe shock, the manufacturer can be held responsible, especially if there are others with similar experiences. If a worker does not follow proper safety guidelines and someone is injured as a result (i.e. a homeowner or their family), then the worker’s employer can be sued. The opposite can also be true, meaning if the employer’s negligence caused an employee to be shocked or injured, said employee can then sue the employer as well.
Common Injuries Caused by Electric Shocks
Electrical injuries vary based on a number of factors, but one of the biggest is the intensity of the current (voltage, amperage) and the amount of time it runs through the body. A short, mild shock will have far less effects than a long, intense one. Aside from paralyzing pain that shocks cause, most of the lasting symptoms are progressive, meaning they get worse over time. These include numbness and tingling, shortness of breath, and heart issues.
That being said, electrical burns are some of the most common shock-related injuries. Electric currents move extremely fast, and so they transfer a ton of heat. When high amounts of electricity flows through our bones, tissues, and organs, it causes severe burns that require immediate treatment. In fact, OSHA has stated that electrical burns are usually even more dangerous than heat-related burns, as the intense shock can cause organs and muscles to fully shut down very quickly.
It’s worth mentioning that electric shocks also cause a lot of fall-related injuries. Intense shocks often make us go stiff (think of people plummeting to the ground after being tased by police), and those heavy falls cause a lot of damage, such as broken bones, concussions, whiplash, and more. This is especially true for workers who get shocked while working high above the ground. That is why businesses and agencies such as OSHA place such an emphasis on wearing the proper personal protective equipment, as it truly could save your life or at least mitigate the damage.
According to the Mayo Clinic, in the event that you or someone around you suffers a shock, you should remember these tips:
- Turn off the source of the electricity as soon as possible, if possible
- Refrain from grabbing or touching the individual if you suspect they might still be charged (energized)
- Do not pick up or move the victim even if you know they are no longer conductive, as severe internal damage might have taken place
Call Trusted Electrocution and Electric Shock Injury Attorneys
If you or someone you love was severely electrocuted or suffered other electric shock-related injuries at the hands of another, you will need to contact trusted personal injury and electric shock attorneys in order to defend your rights and recover the compensation you need. Luckily for accident victims, Van Law Firm is standing by ready to help. Our top-tier attorneys and legal staff have helped countless clients get back on their feet, and we’re ready to do the same for you. Contact us today for more information.