“Electrocution” is the death or serious injury caused by electric shock / electric current passing through the body. The word is derived from “electro” and “execution”, but is used for accidental death and non-fatal injuries due to electricity. Depending on the severity of the electric-shock accident, the person may or may not recover.
When the human body is exposed to an electrical current, the current finds a pathway through the body, entering at the source and finding an exit to another grounded source or electrical pathway. The extent of the damage done to the body depends on the voltage, the amount of time that the current passes through the body, and the pathway that the current chooses. Electrical accidents cause burns to the tissue as the current enters and exits the body as well as possible internal tissue burns. However, the entire body is often affected by electrical injuries, such as the cardiovascular system (asystole—flat lining—and ventricular fibrillation—fluttering of the heart—are common), the central nervous system (causing spinal cord, brain, and respiratory injuries), and the musculoskeletal system.
A frequent source of electrical shock / electrocution is contact with overhead power lines. Electric companies have a duty to properly install and maintain their wires, including fixing sags in power lines or repairing and guarding against powerlines that have been knocked over. When a power company fails to exercise reasonable care in protecting the public, that company should be held responsible.
Another frequent source of electrical injuries is defective products or faulty product installation. These can occur in the home or in restaurants and stores due to defective products such as: appliances, power tools, or medical devices. Children are particularly susceptible to electrocution as electric shock often occurs instantaneously and without any prior warning.
In the case of an accidental electrocution, the injured person will likely need resuscitation if their heart has stopped or if they have respiratory failure. The first—and most important—treatment is to make sure that the person is breathing and that their heartbeat is stable. Afterward, the patient will need to be treated for several likely injuries ranging from burns and broken bones to heart and brain damage.
According to www.electrocuted.com, there are more than 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries caused by electrical injuries each year in the United States workforce. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in a span of 12 years, there were 5,348 deaths caused by electrocutions. Electricity of some type is present at almost every job site, and many American workers, regardless of occupation, are exposed to electrical energy each day. This could range from a broken lightbulb to an energized overhead powerline. Electrocution does not come just from large sources of power, but a current from a tiny 7.5 watt, 120-volt lamp is sufficient to cause electrocution and serious injury. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/98-131/pdfs/98-131.pdf for more information and definitions.
An electrical injury may cause immediate and long-lasting damage. In addition to the medical expenses related to the injury, the individual may be unable to return to their career, causing long-term financial harm. Our job at Rinehardt Law Firm is to provide you and your family with ways to take care of both those immediate needs, as well as long-term needs. The attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm recognize the extent of damage that is done after a serious injury, and we will go the extra mile to ensure that you obtain the rightful compensation that you deserve. Call today for a consultation if you or a loved one has been injured or killed by an electrical injury.