Electricity is a convenience in modern society that is taken for granted for the most part. We expect to plug in an item and use it without incident. We throw a switch and the power is turned on or off as needed. Although it is generally safe in its controlled flow, the transmission and storage of electricity is inherently dangerous.
In the US there are an average of 400 deaths and 4,400 injuries each year due to electrocution. Some other statistics show where the likelihood of electrocution exists in everyday situations:
- Electrocution is the second leading cause of death to construction workers, exceeded only by falls, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Electronic Library of Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH) lists the average numbers of annual construction worker fatalities from electrocution at 143.
- Over 30,000 non-fatal electrical shock accidents occur in the workplace annually, according to American industry experts.
- Small appliances, large appliances and power tools account for an average of 60 injuries each year from electrocution.
- Hospitals treat an average of seven children per day that are injured from tampering with electrical outlets.
- Over 14% of electrocutions are caused by household current (120/220 volts).
Types of Electrical Injuries
The most common electrical shock related injuries are burns. Electrical burns are very serious and should receive immediate medical attention, preferably from a local burn center. Electricity always follows a path to ground. When that path is through the body, tissues and muscle can burn. Electrocution can cause much greater damage than is visible. It may also ignite clothing causing external skin burns.
Some of the non-fatal injuries associated with electrocution are:
- Skin, tissue, and muscle burns
- Nerve damage
- Heart damage
- Loss of limbs
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Memory loss
- Diminished concentration
- Problem with balance and coordination
Electrical power is everywhere. The best way to avoid direct contact, resulting in electrocution, is through understanding how power works and where hazards may exist. Most of the time, the situations where people come in contact with electricity can be avoided. Some of the ways injury or death from electrocution can occur are:
- Exposed, buried or fallen power lines – Stay away from fallen power lines. Call the utility company before you dig. If a power line falls on your car, remain in the car and keep others way. Wait for the utility company to help you.
- Failure to shut off power prior to working on equipment or appliances – Always shut of the circuit breaker or disconnect switch, never the wall switch.
- Water electrocution or drowning from electrical shock – Wires from pool equipment, amusement rides or docks can cause electrocution or electrical shock drowning (ESD). Feel a tingle? Get out of the water immediately.
- Ladders contacting power lines – Beware of power lines when painting, gutter cleaning, tree trimming or roofing.
- Motor Vehicle Battery Systems – Batteries are low voltage but extremely high amperage which can cause severe shock and burns if accidentally grounded.
Anyone who was injured through electrocution on the job or by the negligence of another should contact a personal injury attorney. If a loved one was lost due to electrocution, an attorney should be consulted. The attorney is instrumental in determining potential liability. Fault may lie with an employer, property owner, utility company, manufacturer or a contractor. Every situation is different and only and experienced electrocution attorney can accurately decide the proper avenue of pursuit.
Dolman Law Group is a personal injury law firm, highly credentialed in cases dealing with electrocution injury and death. If you or a loved one was electrocuted there may be compensation available for pain and suffering, medical bills both past and future, loss of income, and diminished life quality. You need a qualified attorney to determine the liability in your accident. Call Dolman Law today for a free evaluation by a qualified attorney. The number to call is 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765