Most people associate these injuries with workplace injuries. Indeed, most electrocutions are work-related. But at-home electrocutions kill about four people a week. Power tools and large appliances are the primary culprits. Workers often have additional training and safety equipment that at least lowers the risk of injury. Homeowners, apartment dwellers, and other DIYers usually have none of these things.
Employers have a duty to provide equipment and training to employees. Employers also have a duty to explain how important it is to use this training and equipment. However, normally for cost reasons, there is usually a letdown in at least one of these areas. Many employers reason that it’s cheaper to risk the lives of workers than it is to protect them.
Whether you were hurt at home or away from home, a Lexington personal injury attorney can usually obtain significant compensation in court. Normally, power tools and electrical appliances are inherently dangerous products. Therefore, if product use causes injury, the manufacturer could be strictly liable for damages. As mentioned, employers have a duty to protect their workers, even if that means the employer must incur additional costs. No one should be able to put profits before people and get away with it.
Any contact with a live electrical current usually creates an arc blast. The blast usually throws victims away from the source of the electrocution. That reaction might decrease the risk of burns, which are discussed below. However, an arc blast significantly increases the chances of a serious fall. That’s especially true at construction sites.
Falls are one of the leading causes of fatal workplace injuries. They’re also one of the leading causes of missed work days. Common fall injuries include broken bones and head injuries. It’s normally impossible to completely recover from such injuries.
The body uses a small amount of electrical energy to stimulate nerves, stimulate certain parts of the brain, and for other reasons. Exposure to additional electrical energy, especially a surge of power from an exposed wire, allows way too much electricity into the body. As a result, certain nerves and certain parts of the brain become overstimulated. The resulting imbalance often causes symptoms like:
- Guilt, low self-esteem, and overall depression,
- Anger (more specifically a short temper),
- Sudden mood swings,
- Cognitive impairments,
- Memory loss, and
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, mostly hypervigilance (an unnatural fear of all electricity).
Frequently, electrical surges permanently alter cell structure. Therefore, these symptoms, which make it difficult or impossible to function in most daily situations, are hard to treat.
Nonfatal electric shocks often cause neuropathy (severe nerve damage), often where the current enters the body. Typically, that means nerve damage to the fingers and hands. Physical therapists can strengthen muscles and bones. But they can’t reverse nerve damage.
Additionally, this nerve damage usually isn’t immediately apparent. Symptoms often occur months after the shock. At that point, many victims ascribe these symptoms to something other than electrocution. If the delay causes them to miss the two-year statute of limitations under Kentucky law, compensation is usually still available, thanks to the delayed discovery rule.
Furthermore, nerve damage often combines with ventricular fibrillation, which is discussed below, to cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain. Hypoxia is one of the leading causes of brain injuries.
Even a relatively low dose of electricity which passes through the chest for a fraction of a second could cause an abnormal rhythm in the heart’s ventricles. If that happens, the victim usually loses consciousness. Without immediate defibrillation, these attacks are normally fatal.
As one might expect, ventricular fibrillation incidents are especially common in non-work electrocutions. Almost no one has a defibrillator in the living room. Even if they did have such equipment, most of these victims are alone when these injuries happen.
Ventricular fibrillation could happen in public places as well. Not every place has the right equipment, and most people don’t know how to respond to such attacks.
The current flowing through an electric wire is usually hotter than the surface of the sun. Furthermore, electricity usually causes involuntary hand movements (the “no let go” reaction). This combination usually causes severe internal and external burns. These wounds usually require extensive, and expensive, treatment at speciality burn centers.
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. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.