Electrocutions are often deadly. Contacting electricity causes neuropathy, the failure of nerve cells, including in the brain, to function properly. It causes heart fibrillation, which are fluttery muscular contractions that disrupt the heart’s natural rhythm and cause cardiac arrest, as well as severe burns that affect both deep muscle and the body surface. These effects can quickly be fatal. Those who survive electric shock may suffer other serious, sometimes permanent, medical conditions, including:
Survivors may endure a lengthy, painful road toward uncertain medical recovery, overwhelming medical expenses, lost work income, or permanent disability. Families that lose loved ones have funeral expenses, absence of their family member’s financial contribution, and grief over a death that might have been prevented. Many questions linger: How did this happen? Who is responsible? What can be done to get help with the costs and find justice for the pain and loss?
How does Electrocution Happen?
Electrocution in the workplace frequently results from poor safety practices such as working on metal scaffolding built too close to uninsulated overhead power lines. Workers can also be electrocuted by malfunctioning or defective machinery or tools and sometimes by hidden, dangerous conditions encountered while on someone else’s property in the course of employment.
Electrocutions in the home often result from malfunctioning or defective products, like appliances, power tools, or even medical devices such as mechanical pacemakers and heart catheters. Electric radios can cause poolside electrocutions, and children can be electrocuted after failure of child-safety products. In addition, workers like construction contractors may perform faulty installations or repairs that could electrocute residents.
Electrocutions on someone else’s property can happen when workers, business visitors, or social visitors are exposed to dangerous electricity in unexpected places, without warning from the owner. A victim might contact faulty electrical wiring in a light switch, or electricity from high-voltage sources like power lines can arc and flash to metal equipment.
Who Is Responsible?
Laws that may help a victim of electrocution receive compensation include:
Money received from workers’ compensation is usually less than your actual out-of-pocket expenses, and workers’ compensation awards no punitive damages (money assessed against the responsible person or company to deter similar future conduct). However, workers injured by electric shock from malfunctioning or defective machines or tools can collect both workers’ compensation benefits and also pursue claims for products liability against the tool manufacturers. Likewise, workers electrocuted by dangerous conditions while on someone else’s property in the course of their employment may sue the property owners under the laws of premises liability, while still collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
Being able to sue these third parties, even though the injury happened while working, may allow the injured person to escape the financial limitations of workers’ compensation and collect the full extent of all monetarydamages, including current and future medical expenses, present and future pain and suffering, emotional distress, actual lost wages and future lost earnings, attorneys fees, and court costs. A spouse can seek damages for loss of spousal consortium (the lost ability to engage in a normal marital relationship), and some states allow children to file claims for loss of parental consortium. The lawsuits might also include an award of punitive damages.
Compensation and Justice
You should consult an electrocution accident attorney as soon as possible to learn your legal rights and decide what to do. Electrocution injuries are subject to a statute of limitations, a law giving you a limited amount of time to elect to pursue your legal rights.
Attorney Robert A. Brenner is an experienced electrocution accident attorney who has the expertise and resources necessary to hold responsible parties accountable, whether your case involves a products liability claim against a manufacturer or a negligence claim against an individual. Brenner understands your need for real answers, and he knows how to get them. Brenner works hard for those who have suffered the devastating consequences of an electrocution accident, helping victims and their families answer those lingering questions and obtain compensation to help rebuild their lives.
October 13, 2015