Most everyone is exposed to electricity through the use of everyday appliances or occupational duties that involve exposure to electrical currents. Although we accept electricity as part of our everyday lives, we must also acknowledge the inherent danger it poses when not properly contained.
Electrical shocks can cause serious injuries and, in severe cases, can be deadly. After a serious accident, electrical injuries may require immediate medical attention, as well as time off work, ongoing treatment, and rehabilitative therapy.
The cause of an electrical shock is a major consideration in determining a person’s options for legal recourse.
If you or a loved one suffered an electrical injury at work, on another party’s property, or due to a faulty appliance or circuit in the home, you may be eligible for compensation. One of our lawyers can help you determine your eligibility to file a personal injury, product liability, or wrongful death claim for electrocution.
Types Of Electrical Injuries
Electrical injury occurs when an individual is exposed to a low- or high-voltage electrical source. The dangers posed by an electrical shock can vary according to how high the voltage is, the type of electrical current, the length of exposure, and the general health status of the person who suffered the shock.
Types of electrical injuries include:
- Flash injuries: Flash injuries are quick and intense shocks that can cause superficial burns but do not involve an electrical current actually traveling past the skin.
- Lightning injuries: Lightning injuries refer to acute, high-voltage shocks that occur due to contact with lightning and are characterized by an electrical current flowing throughout the body.
- Flame injuries: Flame injuries occur when an individual’s clothing has caught on fire as a result of contact with an electrical source. This may or may not involve an electrical current passing through the body.
- “True” injuries: True injuries occur when an individual has become a part of an electrical circuit, resulting in observable entrance and exit sites for the current. These injuries have the potential to cause damage to virtually every organ system.
A range of effects and consequences can occur as a result of being exposed to an electrical current. Both low- and high-voltage shocks may cause loss of consciousness, seizure, burns, and death—depending on how long a person is exposed to the current and other factors.
Although the term electrocution may be used interchangeably with electric shock, electrocution generally refers to fatal electrical injuries, while nonfatal injuries may be better described as electrical injuries.
Where Electric Shock Injuries Can Occur
Electrical injuries can occur most anywhere there is a source of electricity. The most common sites of electrical injuries are occupational, most often injuring workers in the construction trades who are at the highest risk of experiencing serious and potentially fatal electrocution injuries.
Workplace Electrocution Injury
Workers in the construction trades—electricians, roofers, carpenters, construction site laborers, and painters—make up a large portion of occupational electrical injury victims and electrocution fatalities.
Many of these laborers are regularly exposed to electrical sources through the nature of their work. Following construction, the types of workers that most commonly suffer electrical injuries include those in the manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, health and education, and service industries.
Examples of how workers can suffer electrical injuries on the job include:
- contact with power lines
- misuse of equipment
- misuse of extension and flexible cords
- digging or mining into energized, underground electric lines
- exposed electrical wiring
- defective equipment
- another form of exposure to electrical currents
In 2018, occupational exposure to electrical shocks resulted in over 1,500 nonfatal electrical injuries and 160 fatal injuries.
Electrocution Injury In The Home
Homes are another common site for electrical injuries, especially in children, who make up about 20 percent of total electrical injury victims.
Individuals may experience electrical injuries through contact with appliances, exposed electrical wiring, or while working on electrical circuits within the home. Electrical injuries may occur by accident or through the use of a faulty electrical appliance.
Household extension cords are a common cause of electrical issues, causing an estimated 4,700 residential fires in the U.S. each year. These can cause minor to severe burns, as well as death.
Consequences Of Electrical Injuries
Electrical injuries are the cause of about five percent of hospital burn unit admissions each year, and cause an estimated 1,000 deaths out of 30,000 total injuries.
Although the most immediate consequences of suffering an electrical injury are physical, individuals may also be at risk for suffering financial consequences, as well as cognitive effects through brain trauma.
Electrical shocks can pose many dangers to the body, leading to acute and potentially chronic effects, depending on the nature of the incident.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), burns are the most common injury sustained from electrical shocks.
Additional health consequences of electrical shocks may include:
- uncomfortable tingling sensations
- muscle weakness
- difficulty moving limbs
- difficulty breathing
- organ damage
- cardiac arrest
- loss of consciousness
With proper treatment, these health consequences may improve over time, depending on the severity of the injury and other factors. Others may experience disability, disfigurement, and other permanent conditions.
Effects of suffering an electrical shock may also progress, rendering it necessary to have your health regularly monitored according to the recommendation of your treating physician.
Electrical injuries can have consequences extending far beyond those to a person’s health. Workers who suffer electrical injuries may be unable to work for some time.
According to one study by the National Fire Protection Association, more than 25 percent of workers who suffered electrical injuries over a five-year period had to take 31 or more days off work.
Some workers who are required to take time off to treat their injuries may not have the luxury of an understanding boss, particularly if the individual is a contractor and exempt from certain employee benefits.
If an injury requires an extended amount of time off work, the injured victim may experience job loss and, if permanently or temporarily disabled, loss of earning capacity.
Additional financial consequences of electrical injuries include:
- emergency medical care
- ongoing medical expenses
- loss of financial support (following victim death)
Fatal Electrical Injuries
Although non-fatal electrical injuries make up the bulk of electrical injuries that occur in the United States, an estimated 1,000 deaths occur in the U.S. each year as a result of electrocution. Both low-voltage and high-voltage shocks have the potential to be fatal if severe or improperly treated.
What To Do If Someone Has Been Electrocuted
According to the Mayo Clinic, the first action you should take if you or someone you know has suffered an electric shock is to turn off the source of the shock, if possible. Do not attempt to move a person with an electrical injury unless they are in immediate danger.
Not every electric shock may require immediate medical attention, although visiting a medical doctor as soon as possible is highly recommended.
Call 911 for emergency medical care if the person is experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- loss of consciousness
- severe burns
- muscle pains and contractions
- cardiac problems (e.g. heart arrhythmias, cardiac arrest)
- difficulty breathing
If you do not seek emergency medical care, make sure to bandage any burns resulting from the electric shock. Use a sterile bandage gauze or clean cloth, depending on what you have on-hand.
After removing yourself or the injured individual from immediate danger, your next steps will likely depend on how and where the electrical shock occurred, such as at home or in the workplace.
Where an injury occurs and how it occurs are important factors in determining liability for an electrical injury and options for legal recourse.
Understanding Electrocution Injury Claims
Most electrical injuries occur as a result of occupational accidents. If you’re a worker who’s suffered an electrical injury on the job, you may qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim, if the accident occurred as a result of your employer’s negligence.
Examples of employee negligence may include failing to provide adequate equipment for employees, maintaining hazardous work conditions, failing to adequately train employees, or another OSHA rules violation.
Individuals who suffer electrical injuries in the home may have the option of filing a personal injury claim if their injury occurred due to a defective or dangerous product, or negligent maintenance services.
Examples of situations that might warrant legal action include injuries caused by defective electrical appliances, or electrical injuries that occur due to the improper repair, replacement, or installation of electrical circuits by a technician.
The basic elements of an electrocution injury claim include:
- Duty of care: proof that the defendant (liable party) legally owed the plaintiff (injured victim) protection from preventable and unreasonable harm
- Breached duty of care: proof that the defendant breached their duty of care, or legal obligation to protect the plaintiff from unreasonable harm
- Cause of injury: proof of a causal link between the breach in the defendant’s duty of care and the event that led to the electrical injury (e.g. workplace accident, defective product)
- Damages: proof that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the injury, this can include monetary damages, pain & suffering, lost wages, and others.
Wrongful Death Claims For Electrocution
Fatal electrical injuries can leave surviving loved ones with an enormous emotional and financial burden. If your loved one suffered a fatal electrical injury as the result of another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Do You Need A Lawyer For An Electrocution Injury Case?
Seeking compensation for electrical injuries caused by the negligence of another party can be tricky without the skills and expertise of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Electrical injury cases can be difficult to prove without a strong base of support, which may require collecting medical records, witness testimony, security camera footage, and other relevant materials.
Taking legal action against an individual or employer for negligence can also be time-consuming. Hiring a lawyer can relieve you of the burden of learning how to navigate the complexities of the legal process.
Additional benefits of hiring an electrocution injury lawyer:
- having someone to explain and defend your legal rights
- legal resources and professional connections
- greater likelihood of successfully receiving damages
- reaching a settlement more quickly
- negotiating the best possible settlement
Top-Rated Electrocution Injury Lawyers
The personal injury lawyers of Florin|Roebig have decades of combined experience in helping injured victims and their loved ones secure damages for injuries caused by the negligence of another party.
Voted one of America’s top law firms, our lawyers have the skills and resources necessary to investigate your case and work to ensure you receive the compensation you may be owed for the electrical injury, as well as other economic and non-economic damages.
By filing a claim, our lawyers may be able to help you recover the following damages:
- medical bills
- emotional distress
- pain and suffering
- lost income
- loss of earning capacity
- loss of consortium
- wrongful death
Our lawyers are currently capable of serving electrical injury victims out of our office locations in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, and Colorado. Through an initial consultation, our lawyers can assess the details of your case and provide you with an overview of your legal options.
Call For A Free Case Evaluation
If you’ve suffered an electrical injury due to a defective product or unsafe working conditions, you may be eligible to file a claim to receive compensation.
Don’t wait to learn what your case may be worth. Call the offices of Florin|Roebig to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top-rated electrocution lawyers.