People are composed mostly of water, which makes them good conductors of electricity. An electric shock occurs when a part of a person’s body, such as skin, muscles, or hair, contacts an electricity source, causing an electric current to flow through them.
Depending on the severity of the shock, electrocution injuries can range from minor burns to life-changing wounds that can prove fatal. You should keep an eye out for situations that may lead to electric shock (such as muscle, nerve, and tissue destruction, cardiac arrest, and burns), which include:
- Contact with exposed wiring or appliances;
- Poking metal objects into electrical outlets; and
- Exposures at work.
Electric Shock Injuries: Causes and Prevention
Home and work are generally the places where people are most at risk of electrocution since that is where they spend most of their time.
Electric shock is a risk in the home from appliances such as toasters, but wires are even more dangerous – for example, if your electrician doesn’t follow standard procedures for a safe installation. Electrical workers are naturally another type of worker at risk.
What Causes Electric Shock Injuries?
According to OSHA, an electrical shock occurs when a person’s body becomes part of a closed electrical circuit. The body is a highly efficient conductor. To complete the electrical path, a person must be somehow touching both wires of an electric circuit; one wire of an energized circuit and the ground, a metal part of a piece of equipment or device that is accidentally electrified, or some other type of conductor carrying an electrical current.
According to OSHA, workers are most likely to receive an electric shock through contact with overhead power lines. Usually, this happens when a worker touches equipment that has been accidentally energized, such as ladders, tools, or vehicles.
OSHA says that improperly installed machinery and old or compromised power tools that are defective or improperly maintained are responsible for many electric shock injuries.
Falls are the second most common injury caused by an electric shock. Muscles often contract violently when they come into contact with live electricity. A person may lose their balance or even be thrown away from the source of the shock by their own body. The result can be head trauma, back and neck injuries, and cuts and abrasions.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Be Caused by Electric Shock?
When a person’s body is energized, the level of harm can vary greatly. An electrical shock may cause several progressive symptoms and injuries, including discomforting tingling sensations, difficulty breathing, confusion, loss of consciousness, severe burns, and even cardiac arrest, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Burns, however, are the most common injuries caused by electric shock, according to OSHA. If you come into contact with live electricity, you can suffer from electrical burns, arc burns, thermal contact burns, or any combination of them.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites electrical burns as among the deadliest types of burns and calls for immediate medical treatment. These types of burns happen when the high voltage passes through bones, organs, and tissue. This can cause severe tissue damage and even death.
The severity of an electrical injury depends on several factors. The higher the voltage, the greater the risk of injury. Additionally, the effectiveness of personal protective safety gear, such as gloves and shoes, can have an impact on the severity of the injury, in addition to the length of exposure and the path electricity takes in the body.
Depending on the severity of an electric shock, the Mayo Clinic suggests a few key initial steps, including calling 911:
- If possible, turn off the energy source;
- Be careful not to touch the person if they are still charged; and
- Do not move the victim even if they are no longer energized.
The Most Common Electric Shock Injuries
Electric shock is capable of causing serious injuries that negatively impact a victim’s life.
Common symptoms from electric shock include:
- Cardiac Arrest
- Brain Damage
- Internal Organ Damage
- Contractions and muscle pain
- Breathing problems
- Serious burns
- A rapid heartbeat
- Loss of Consciousness
- Problems with vision, hearing, or speech, tingling, paralysis, or numbness
These symptoms are determined by several factors, including:
- Type and strength of voltage
- Duration of contact with electricity
- The point of contact of the electricity and how it travels through the body
- The person’s medical condition and age
- Treatment provided to the victim
Why Did the Product Fail?
The product could have been constructed in such a way as to cause your injury. It is essential that you establish that the product that shocked you was problematic before you received it in order to win your case.
To prove that the item was substandard when it left the manufacturer’s or seller’s control, you must show:
- A defect caused by poor manufacturing (versus problems caused by poor planning or bad labeling);
- A defect resulting from faulty blueprints (rather than bad labeling or craftsmanship); or
- Failure to warn, which is a failure of the manufacturer to adequately warn you of non-apparent risks associated with the use of the product.
Who Is Liable?
Your shock injury may be attributed to the work of any number of people in the distribution chain. Therefore, the following entities can be held responsible:
- Wholesalers; and
To What Extent Is The Manufacturer, Distributor, or Seller Responsible?
Depending on the laws regulating product liability in the state where you were injured, you may be able to sue on one of the following grounds:
Is it Possible to Lose a Product Defect Lawsuit?
Even if a bad product has shocked you, you may not be able to recover. A judge evaluating your case will consider many aspects of the injury, including the defense’s claims. For example, they will want to know whether you:
- Knew that a shock injury was a possible danger associated with product use;
- Assumed the risk of a shock injury based upon your use of the product;
- Used the product in an unreasonable manner;
Costs of Electric Shock Can be High, Including Medical Bills
A serious electric shock injury can pose challenges beyond the injury itself, whether it is at home or at work. Loss of wages and medical bills can have a serious and even long-term impact on the quality of life for victims and their families.
Is it possible that your injury is the result of another party’s negligence? What if they didn’t take all the precautions and follow all the regulations as they should have? You could be entitled to compensation not only for economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages but also for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
Call 911 immediately if someone has suffered an electrical injury, as they need medical care as soon as possible. If you or a loved one have suffered an electrocution injury, the party responsible for the injury should be held accountable and compensated for your injuries.
An attorney familiar with state product liability laws can inform you of your rights and responsibilities. A class action lawyer will also be able to represent you in court, if necessary.