Much of the modern world is powered by electricity. From the lights in our homes to the charge in our devices to the machines in our hospitals to the trains in our cities, electricity animates our lives.
What Causes Electrocution Injuries?
Unfortunately, for all the good electricity does, it can also be very dangerous. Electrocution accidents can come about in many ways, usually through exposure to improperly protected sources of electricity. Often, these harmful objects are completely benign when not electrified or when properly insulated, but can become electrified or dangerous suddenly and without warning. Sources of electrical injury can include power lines, wires, fuses, switches, and unprotected machinery, among others.
Most electrical injuries happen on the job, usually while the injured party is installing or working on electrified equipment. According to OSHA, electrical injuries are the third-highest cause of death for construction workers nationwide. Many things can cause electrocution accidents, including inadequate grounding and insulation of workers and equipment, failure to comply with safety guidelines, and machinery malfunction. Many workers who sustain these sorts of injuries do so while using scaffolding, cranes, and metal ladders, which can easily come into contact with electrified power lines.
Some electrical injuries happen to laypeople, completely outside of the context of work. These injuries are sometimes the result of defective products, faulty wiring, poor grounding, and improper insulation. For example, electrocution accidents are increasingly common in swimming pools (often from defective underwater lighting, improperly grounded vacuums). Other common sources of electrocution accidents are wires and outlets, often due to faulty insulation and improper grounding.
What Happens to the Body When it is Electrocuted?
The human body conducts electricity. This means that when a person is exposed to an electrical charge or current, the electricity can travel throughout the body before exiting. The effects and severity of electrical injuries depend on several factors, such as the voltage of the electricity, how long it was in the body, and the age, size, and health of the person who was electrocuted.
Depending on these factors, electrocution may cause:
- External and internal burns (where the electricity entered and exited the body)
- Heart damage or failure
- Limb damage and potential amputation
- Tissue damage and death
- Nerve damage (sometimes resulting in a loss of sensation or movement)
- Destruction of blood vessels and muscles
- Skin damage, scarification, and necrosis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Paralysis, coma, and death
While some electrocution injuries are thankfully mild, many are not. A person who sustains a serious electrical injury can be left with extreme, grievous injuries requiring extensive, often lifelong medical care. This care can range from skin grafts and physical therapy to neurological treatments, major surgeries, and lifelong reliance on medications, medical devices, wheelchairs, breathing tubes, and/or heart monitors. These injuries can also kill—and sometimes do.
In many cases, people who were injured by exposure to electricity were not even at fault for their own injuries. Rather, their injuries were ultimately the result of the negligence of another person or company. In those cases, many victims and their families suffer in silence, shouldering the enormous burden of medical care and the rest of the costs of severe injury on their own, which can drive just about any family into debt.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way, and you don’t have to do it alone. If you or a loved one has suffered injury or wrongful death by exposure to electricity, Personal Injury Attorney John Rosenberg is here to help. Attorney Rosenberg is an experienced, knowledgeable, and skillful attorney who has been serving communities in California for many years. If you are in Woodland Hills, CA or the surrounding area and you would like a free consultation about your electricity personal injury case, call (818) 530-1770 today.