At a bustling Fayette County residential or commercial construction site, it’s usually very difficult to tell the difference between a live electric wire and a dead one. That’s especially true if, as is usually the case, the worker isn’t an electrician or doesn’t speak English well. As a result, electrocution is one of the most common fatal construction site injuries in the United States.
Legally, these victims usually have two options. In many cases, workers’ compensation replaces lost wages and pays medical bills. These benefits are available even if the company wasn’t negligent and even if the victim was partially, or mostly, at fault for the accident. Other job injury victims can file civil damage claims. If they establish negligence, or a lack of care, additional damages, such as compensation for emotional distress, is available. That lack of care is frequently a failure to provide proper safety or rescue equipment.
Both legal approaches include significant obstacles. Usually, insurance company lawyers fight workers’ compensation and negligence claims tooth and nail. An experienced Lexington personal injury attorney guides these victims through these legal minefields and works to ensure maximum compensation for their serious injuries.
Arc Blast Injuries
When someone touches an exposed electrical wire, the contact usually causes an arc blast, which is basically a pressure wave. Sometimes, arc blasts cause victims to fall, as outlined below. Other times, the blast itself could cause a serious injury.
When a wave of high voltage electricity passes through the body, it shuts down most organs, as well as the musculoskeletal system. The ears and brain are especially vulnerable to such injuries. Additionally, arc blasts have roughly the same effect on any tools or equipment the victim was carrying at the time. When victims drop hand tools from several stories above ground, the impact could be serious or fatal to someone on the ground. Malfunctioning electrical equipment could also cause a serious injury to themselves or people nearby.
Flash or Flame Injuries
An arc flash generates as much as 32,000 degrees of heat. By comparison, the sun’s temperature is about 9.900 degrees on its surface. Such temperatures could cause severe burns, even if the contact only lasts a fraction of a second.
Severe third- and fourth-degree burns usually require extensive, costly treatment at regional burn centers. These treatments normally include extensive skin grafts. Even after doctors and physical therapists complete their work, the physical and emotional scars remain.
Additionally, extensive burn injuries usually have high infection rates. That’s especially true if the victim was injured at a remote, unsanitary location. The longer open wounds are exposed to bacteria, the more likely a serious infection becomes.
V-fib is a dangerous arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) which starts at the bottom of this muscle. Instead of pumping like it should, the heart simply quivers. As a result, the body doesn’t get oxygen. Ventricular Fibrillation is commonly associated with heart attacks. One-Time heart attack victims are at risk for a subsequent episode. V-fib is basically the same. If the victim survives one episode, another one is probably just around the corner.
So, emergency interventions, like CPR and defibrillation, are only part of the treatment. Doctors must often perform open heart surgery to repair the damage and lower the risk of another episode. Obviously, if no one is available to perform CPR or no defibrillation machine is immediately available, most people don’t survive a V-fib episode.
At very low levels, an electric shock has little effect on the brain. But, as mentioned above, exposed construction wires carry huge amounts of power. Exposure usually causes an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Essentially, these injuries have the same effect as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). But since the damage occurs slowly over time, ABIs are even harder to diagnose and treat than TBIs.
An initial jolt usually damages neurons, the central nervous system, the brain’s control center, and other nerves. These impairments are permanent. Additionally, electric shocks could cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen), a condition similar to strangulation. Electric shock hypoxia is often related to V-fib injuries, which were discussed above.
The extreme force of an arc blast often throws victims from the point of contact instead of crushing them as mentioned above. From one perspective, that’s a good thing. It limits contact and therefore limits burn injuries. However, when construction workers fly through the air, they usually land very hard.
Common fall injuries include broken bones and head injuries. These wounds usually require extensive medical treatment. Even after such treatment concludes, the effects are usually permanent.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act. #goodelawyers