While we are all generally aware of the dangers of electricity and its proper handling, accidents still happen all the time. Electrocution is when a strong electric current travels into the body and can cause tissue damage, burns, and more. Electrocution accidents occur most frequently in an occupational setting. To be specific, they occur in the construction industry.
Overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that an average of 411 workers (of any occupation) were electrocuted each year from 1980 to 1989. This number has decreased, but still is a serious risk to those that may be exposed to the risk of electrocution. Luckily, our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you pursue a claim for your injuries and damages that you may have had to suffer from this accident.
At Mike Agruss Law, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an electrocution accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Types of Electrocution Accidents
As mentioned before, construction is the most common occupation for electrocution accidents to occur. This is due to the multiple electrical sources needed for a single construction site. The CDC conducted a study that found that the construction industry accounts for 52% of all occupational electrocutions. Although, electrocution accidents can still happen almost anywhere there is a strong enough current. A few different types of electrocution accidents include the following:
- Poorly insulated or exposed components – Each part of an outlet and wire that electricity comes into contact with should have the proper insulation and grounding. Without this, a mishap could result in a serious shock to anyone close to it.
- Defective products – Items such as hair dryers or kitchen appliances that have not yet been recalled may be manufactured or designed improperly in a way that makes them especially vulnerable to electrocution.
- Human error – Accidents still occur with safety measures in place, such as a person perhaps mistakenly touching a power source thinking that it was turned off while it was still active.
- Dangerous location – Objects such as trees or tall structures can fall on a power line that can touch a worker and electrocute them as a result.
- Faulty or lack of electrical grounding – Grounding acts as a “backup” system for when there is a faulty wiring system and to prevent any electrical hazards. The electric current can travel up this grounding as an alternative.
- Overloads – When a circuit is overloaded with the amount of electricity flowing throughout it, it can electrocute those who come into contact with it and even catch fire.
Types of Electrocution Injuries
Electrocution can cause temporary or permanent injuries, depending on a few factors. The injuries may be better or worse depending on the victim’s clothing. Non-conductive materials like rubber make for a better chance at little to no injury. Clothing like nylon, polyester, and acrylic generate a considerable static charge to amplify injuries. Also, the longer that a person is electrocuted for, the injuries will certainly be worse. The amount of moisture can affect the intensity of the shock too. Any underlying conditions that a person may have may make them more vulnerable to extensive injuries to the corresponding area of the body. Lastly, the higher the voltage that caused the electrocution, the worse the injury will be.
During and after electrocution, a person may experience certain sensations and later their injuries can become more apparent. Some common types of electrocution injuries include the following:
- Tissue damage – The heat produced from the body as resistance and the electrical current can burn up tissues inside the body where it is affected.
- Nerve damage – The nervous system is strongly linked to neurological health, and is also particularly vulnerable to electric shock. This can cause permanent neurological damage.
- Cardiac arrest – A strong electrical current can disrupt the heart’s blood flow and prevent it from continuing to pump blood around the body, thus leading to cardiac arrest.
- Central nervous system damage – Since the central nervous system is largely a part of the brain and conducts electricity all throughout the body, such a current can cause serious and debilitating brain damage.
- Burns and scars – The strength of sparks or fire that the current causes can cause anything from first to third-degree burns on the skin that can leave permanent scarring.
- Tetanic contractions – The electrical current causes intense muscle contractions and twitching which can prolong the electrocution since it can make one lose the ability to let go.
Who Is Liable?
In electrocution injuries, you can file a claim against the at-fault party for your injuries based on negligence. Negligence is based on four essential elements that you must prove in your claim. First, you must be able to prove that a duty of care existed between you and the at-fault party. Your attorney will assist and guide you in identifying this party. Then, you must prove that that duty of care was breached, which can be shown by the accident, witness testimonies, and injuries. Then, you must prove that their actions or inactions were the direct and actual cause of the accident that caused your injury. Lastly, you must be able to prove that you did suffer actual damages and injuries which can be proven through medical records and bills, witness testimony, and more. The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. This means that you must file your claim within two years of the date of the accident in order for your case to be considered valid and accepted.
The liable party in these cases can be a few options, depending on your specific situation. If you were an employee to your contractor on a construction site when the accident occurred, you may be able to file to workers’ compensation to be compensated for your injuries and damages. We can help you through this process to ensure that you get the money that you deserve.
If you are a non-employee of a contractor who did not properly train you or provide you the appropriate safety equipment and gear to handle electricity, the contractor may be found liable for the damages.
If the accident was due to a product defect or malfunction, then you could pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the product. These claims are based on the idea that you can take action against the party that knew or should have known that their product was defective (by failure to warn on the product, manufacture, or design) before it was released to the public.
If a property owner was responsible for not using the proper equipment or failing to inspect or maintain the electrical current, then they could be found liable in a premises liability case. These cases are based on the idea that a property owner is liable for any hazard on their property that lacks clear marking or warning.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Electrocution injuries can change a person’s entire life, lifestyle, and occupation. These are not cheap expenses to take care of, especially since the injuries can be more severe with this type of accident. With our help in achieving a successful claim, you can recover some of the costs in damages that you had to shell out with this unexpected injury. Some damages that you can recover after an electrocution injury include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future loss of earnings
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
- Wrongful death, funeral and burial costs (in a wrongful death case on someone else’s behalf)
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an electrocution accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.