- Many electrical accidents are preventable and, therefore, might result from negligence.
- Electrical accidents can cause a range of injuries, from minor electric shocks to severe burns, internal injuries, cardiac arrest, or even death.
- Worker’s compensation insurance may cover work-related electrical accidents, but compensation might be limited.
- Consulting with an injury lawyer can help victims discover all options that exist for compensation and how to best pursue a full and fair settlement.
Have you or a loved one been injured in an electrocution accident?
If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The experienced electrocution injury lawyers at The Millar Law Firm can help you get the justice you deserve.
We have a proven track record of success in helping victims of electrocution accidents. We will work tirelessly to investigate your case and build a strong case against the responsible party. We will also fight to get you the maximum compensation possible.
In addition to our legal expertise, we also offer amazing customer service. We understand that going through an electrocution accident can be a very difficult and stressful time. We are here to support you every step of the way.
If you have been injured in an electrocution accident, please contact The Millar Law Firm today for a free consultation. We will review your case and help you understand your legal options. Here are some of the things that make The Millar Law Firm stand out from other personal injury law firms in Atlanta:
- Experience: The Millar Law Firm has over 20 years of experience representing victims of electrocution accidents.
- Success: The Millar Law Firm has a proven track record of success in helping victims of electrocution accidents get the compensation they deserve.
- Customer service: The Millar Law Firm offers amazing customer service. We understand that going through an electrocution accident can be a very difficult and stressful time. We are here to support you every step of the way.
Electrocutions Should Never Happen
Although it might seem otherwise, electricity is extremely predictable. Electric currents always travel in a circle, or a circuit, by way of a conductor. Currents never flow or go outside their source unless or until there is a closed loop or circuit that allows them to return to their origin.
Here is an example: When you plug a lamp into an outlet, the lamp becomes part of the closed circuit, and electric current flows to and through the bulb, creating light. Electrical injuries happen when a victim’s body accidentally becomes part of the loop the electric energy travels through it.
Electric-related injuries can range from minor shocks to severe injuries or even immediate death. The severity of the shock and the injuries caused depend upon three factors:
- The path of the current through the body
- The amount of current flowing through the body
- The length of time the body is trapped as part of the circuit
Because electrical accidents are often so preventable, reporting or taking legal action can help create awareness of electrical safety, ultimately reducing the risk of future accidents.
What Causes Electric Accidents
Our bodies are made almost entirely of water. This makes us excellent conductors of electricity. When a body part comes in contact with an electric current, the electricity can flow through the body – just like a lamp or toaster oven – and return to its source, forming a closed circuit. This is how electrical injuries happen.
Common Electrical Accident Injuries
- Electric Shock: When an electrical current passes over or through a victim’s body, electric shock occurs. This contact may involve trauma, including burns, abnormal heart rhythm, and unconsciousness.
- Falls: Electric shock may trigger a victim’s muscles to contract, causing the victim to lose their balance and fall. An explosion from an electrical incident can also cause a fall, resulting in various injuries, such as broken bones or blunt force trauma to bones, soft tissues, and internal organs.
- Burns: Electrical burns are the most common shock-related, nonfatal injuries. They happen when a victim comes into contact with energized electrical wiring or equipment, creating a closed circuit. The resulting electrical burns can occur anywhere on the body but are most often seen on the hands and feet.
- Electrocution: Electrocution occurs when an electrical current passes over or through a victim’s body, resulting in a fatality.
The Causes of Electric Accidents
Most electrical accidents can be avoided. The accidents and injuries they cause can be the result of the following factors:
- Old, outdated wiring that was installed before today’s safety measures became compulsory.
- Electric cords placed or “hidden” under carpeting, leading to broken or exposed live wires.
- Loose connectors.
- The absence of preventive devices, such as ground fault circuit interrupters (commonly found in outlets near water sources in bathrooms and kitchens). These devices monitor and instantly shut off electric currents if electrical energy flow fluctuates.
Avoiding Electrical Accidents in the Home
Whether you own your home or live in a rental unit, you should always be alert to electrical warning signals.
To avoid electrical injuries at home, take these steps:
- Hire a qualified electrician for all electric repairs or maintenance
- When buying property, have the electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician and pay close attention to areas around pools and hot tubs
- Replace outdated or damaged wiring
- Don’t overload outlets
- Don’t use damaged electric cords
- Use appropriate light bulbs with the correct wattage in light fixtures
- Have ground fault circuit interrupters installed
If you rent your home or apartment, report electrical concerns to the landlord immediately. If the property owner refuses to address electrical issues, they may be considered negligent or at fault if an accident or injury occurs.
Electrical “red flags” include:
- Frequent tripping of circuit breaker
- Wiring that appears frayed or chewed
- Power outlets that are warm to the touch
- Unexpected burning smell
- Outlets or switches that spark or appear scorched
- Light switches and outlets that stop working
- Flickering, buzzing, or dimming lights
- Electrical panels making crackling or humming noises
Avoiding Electrical Accidents at Work
Workers in the construction, renovation, and repair industries, such as plumbers, electricians, and even painters, are frequently involved in electrical accidents at work. Those who are employed as firefighters and electric linemen are also at particular risk even though they are trained carefully in how to avoid electric accidents.
Electrical accident injuries in the workplace often include burns, neurological and nerve damage, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and organ damage. These accidents can result in disability, physical scarring, and disfigurement, as well as contribute to emotional and mental distress long term.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), electrical accidents account for about one-fourth of work-related deaths in the United States each year. That same study identified the following statistics:
- Contact with outdoor overhead power lines is the most common cause of electrocutions, resulting in 42% of all on-the-job electrical deaths.
- The second most common cause of electrocutions is failure to ensure the electric system was disengaged or turned off before starting work.
- The third most common cause was contact with electrical components mistakenly thought to be de-energized because existing wiring was improperly installed or misidentified.
- Contact with buried, underground power lines caused about 1% of the work-related electrocution fatalities.
Each of these causes of electrical injury can typically be foreseen and avoided when proper precautions are taken.
Who Is Responsible for Electric Accidents?
Electric hazards at the work site cannot always be eliminated, but they can be mitigated with proper training and established requirements for safety equipment, clothing, and gear designed to keep electric currents where they belong.
Employers are responsible for taking measures to prevent on-the-job accidents. Federal law entitles you to a safe workplace and has created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers. Your employer is required to keep your workplace free of known health and safety hazards. If hazards exist, you have the right and responsibility to report them to your employer as well as file a confidential OSHA report without endangering your job.
When an employer fails to make the workplace as safe as possible, they may be negligent and legally liable for accidents, including electrical accidents and injuries.
Every state requires most businesses to carry worker’s compensation insurance. Worker’s comp insurance protects employees who suffer a work injury or illness. Worker’s comp will pay related medical expenses and lost wages even when the employer may have been negligent. However, worker’s comp does not pay for “non-economic” damages.
Non-economic damages include the mental and physical pain and suffering a victim may experience as a result of their injuries. These non-economic damages can sometimes be compensated in a personal injury lawsuit outside or in addition to worker’s compensation benefits. However, an attorney may be necessary to assist you in making such a claim.
Worker’s Compensation Benefits May Be Amplified
There are situations in which you might avoid the worker’s compensation process altogether or expand upon workers’ compensation benefits by filing a lawsuit relating to a workplace electric accident injury. Those situations include:
- Injuries caused by faulty tools, machinery, equipment, or products
- Illness or injury caused by exposure to toxic material in the workplace or job site
- Workplace injuries resulting from intentional misconduct
- Situations in which the employer is exempt and is not required to carry worker’s compensation insurance
- Injuries caused by a third party, such as another worker or equipment operated by a different company
Electrocutions in Water
Electrocution deaths and drownings should be of great concern to property owners who have pools or hot tubs on their premises. People immersed in water are at higher risk of electric shock drownings since the water intensifies the conductivity of the skin and can cause instant paralysis and subsequent drowning.
Building codes pay special attention to pool areas. Great care should be taken to ensure the standard building codes are carefully followed in these areas to prevent electric shock accidents.
When someone is the victim of an electrical accident or electrocution on your premises, you could be liable for negligence and forced to pay for damages or wrongful death.
The Long-Term Impact of Being Electrocuted
Damages and injuries that happen as a result of electrical shock accidents can be permanent and severe. Such injuries can range from paralysis or disfiguring burns to heart failure and instant death. If a victim survives, electric injuries can still make everyday activities difficult and diminish quality of life forever.
Depending on where and how the victim was injured, as well as the severity of the injuries, it may be possible to obtain compensation. Such a settlement might include coverage for immediate medical visits, as well as provisions for ongoing care and therapy.
If the injuries happened at work, compensation options might be limited. Nevertheless, speaking with an experienced injury attorney before settling a claim is crucial.
Obstacles and Challenges to Filing an Electrocution Legal Claim
Electric shock accidents and the injuries they cause can be life-altering. Collecting compensation for those damages can be difficult, particularly without a qualified attorney to help present the case and document the losses.
Whether the accident happened at work or as the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, proving a claim against businesses or property owners can be a complicated undertaking.
Luckily, the law is structured to help victims become “whole” again. However, insurance company lawyers are very good at saving their insured parties money by downplaying your losses or trying to make the victim appear somehow at fault.
Any time you must go toe-to-toe with insurance company lawyers, you can benefit from having a legal team of your own to fight for your rights. At a minimum, we always urge victims to consult with an attorney before considering a settlement.
At The Millar Law Firm, we offer a free first consultation to help you determine how best to pursue your claim and obtain a full and fair settlement. Call today for an appointment.