Electrical Shock Injuries and Electrocution
Most people have experienced an electric shock at some time in their lives. Usually, the shock is from static electricity or from low voltage batteries. We may feel a jolt but are otherwise unharmed. However, electrical shock injuries can be extremely serious and life-changing. In extreme cases, the shock is powerful enough to kill the victim. This is known as electrocution.
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers has represented people who have suffered amputations and other serious injuries due to electric shocks. Our Norfolk-based attorneys have represented family members of victims who were electrocuted. Often people who suffer shocks are workers such as tree cutters or power workers who came into contact with high voltage wires. We have also represented members of the public suffered shocks and experienced very serious injuries.
How Common Are Electric Shock Injuries?
People who work with electricity are most likely to suffer injuries and electrocutions. Electrical hazards cause about 350 deaths a year in the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). There are approximately 4,000 injuries each year among the U.S. workforce. Electrocution is the sixth highest cause of workplace deaths in America.
Electric shock is less common among people who do not work with electricity, but we have helped people who have been hurt by downed power lines or suffered a shock at a business such as a hotel with faulty wiring.
Dangerous Situations that Lead to Electric Shock Injuries and Electrocution
- Crane operators and construction workers who routinely come into contact with electrified wires;
- Electricians who suffer a shock on the job;
- Landscapers or tree cutters who come into contact with power lines;
- Railroad workers who deal with electricity on tracks or on trains;
- Emergency workers who are shocked by damaged wiring during fires or other situations;
- Swimmers in lakes who suffer electric shocks from power outlets on nearby boats or marinas;
- Householders who are injured or killed by power lines downed in high winds;
- Power outlets in homes, hotels or other businesses.
Types of Electric Shock Injury
An electric shock can have a devastating effect on the human body. The nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) is particularly sensitive to electric shock injuries. People who receive a powerful electrical shock may suffer from permanent neurological damage.
An electric shock may also cause severe damage to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Electric shocks can paralyze the respiratory system or interfere with heart action, leading to instant death. Blood clots may also occur and damage to smaller blood vessels may mean amputation is necessary.
Strong shocks may cause muscle spasms that are powerful enough to dislocate or even shatter bones. Electric current flowing through tissues or bone can cause burns. Arc or flash burns result from high temperatures close to the body and are produced by an electric arc or an explosion.
A severe electric shock can cause neuropathy, which interferes with the functioning of the heart and lungs.
Liability After Electrical Shock Injuries and Electrocution in Virginia
Electric shock injuries are often caused by the negligence of another party who can be sued. Parties that can be held liable include:
- An employer who failed to train a worker properly or to point out dangers;
- A manager or an employer who failed to provide safety equipment like rubber insulating gloves;
- A power company that failed to properly maintain high voltage lines that fell on passers-by;
- A maintenance company that failed to properly service electrical appliances;
- A hotel that failed to maintain light fittings or other potential hazards;
- The manufacturer of equipment that had exposed wires or other electrical hazards, or a wholesaler, distributor or a retailer;
- A railroad that failed to protect its workers;
- The manager or operator of a building site that put construction workers in danger.
Electrocution and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Tragically, some electric shocks kill those exposed to them. Although construction workers, electricians, and landscapers are at greatest risk of electrocution, members of the public may also lose their lives after unexpectedly coming into contact with electricity.
In 2013, the City of Baltimore agreed to pay $200,000 to the family of former Baltimore Colt Anthony “Bubba” Green after his daughter was electrocuted in a public park.
Deanna Green was killed at the age of 14, Her foot rested against a fence touching an electrified underground cable during a softball game in Druid Hill Park. She was killed by 280 volts of electricity.
In 2018, a horse was electrocuted in Los Angeles after a transformer fire erupted nearby and a puddle of water became electrified. Fortunately, a boy with the horse did not come into contact with the water but the incident illustrates the dangers of water near electricity.
When another party is to blame for a fatality, family members may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover money for a range of losses including medical expenses, loss of future income of the deceased and loss of the value of services to a family.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Electric Shock and Electrocution Lawyer
The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers have decades of experience in fighting utilities, electrical companies, railroads, trucking companies, and other entities over electrical shock injuries and electrocutions. Injuries from exposure to electrical current can be truly horrendous and it’s vital that you recover as much compensation as you possibly can. Contact us today online or call (757) 455-0077.