Electric Shock and Electrocution Accidents

Queens Personal Injury Lawyer

At its most powerful, an electrical current can cause burns and other injuries. Electric shocks are responsible for approximately 1,000 deaths per year in the United States, or about 1% of all accidental deaths. Construction workers are often at risk for electric shock accidents at construction sites. Other causes of electric shock can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Contact with exposed parts of electrical appliances or wiring;
  • Young children playing with frayed electrical cords, or putting metal objects into an electrical outlet;
  • Combination of water on the floor and using an electrical outlet, as in unsafe commercial kitchen or industrial plant environment;
  • Lightning strike;
  • Unintentional or accidental contact with an overhead high-voltage power line, as in a construction or car accident;
  • Accidental contact between metal and electricity, as in ladder, machine or metal rail contact with exposed electrical current at a construction site;
  • Electric arcs from high-voltage power lines; and,
  • Defective products.

In December 2007, my firm released a blog about the City of New York painting its lamp poles with a special nonconductive paint to lower the risk of stray electrical shocks injuring people just walking by, or dogs that might be doing their business on that particular light pole. These electric shock accidents are usually due to the age of the wires or broken ground wires. Now it seems to me that the solution is better maintenance by the City of New York – replacing and upgrading old, and broken wires. If you’re shocked while walking around, for no apparent reason, you should speak to an experienced electrical injury lawyer.

Types of injuries in Queens County

Electrocution can cause serious burns, nerve damage, muscle damage, blindness, and other injuries. Electric current can cause injury in three main ways:

  • Cardiac arrest, also known as a heart attack – in severe cases;
  • Muscle, nerve, tissue, and even bone fractures from the current passing through the body;
  • Burns from contact with the electrical source.

Sometimes accidental electrocution injury victims show no obvious outside injury. A thorough physical examination by a physician is essential, a well as the telling of the accident victims complete medical history, and, particularly, detailed description of the electric shock event. Generally, there will be an entrance burn and an exit burn. The severity of injury sustained after an electric shock injury depends on:

  • The path the current travels through the accident victim’s body;
  • How long the body was in contact with the electricity;
  • The victim’s health and speed of correct diagnosis and commencement of treatment;
  • The amount of voltage (Less than 500 volts is considered low-voltage and normally does not cause significant injury; more than 500 volts is considered high-voltage and can cause significant injury.);
  • The type of current (AC, alternating current, or DC, direct current).

Diffuse Electrical Injury (DEI)

Scientists used to believe that electric current followed a set path depending upon the point of entry into the body, but later studies show that electricity may not travel in a straight line so that, it’s scary to reveal to accidental electric shock victims: a low voltage shock in one location may result in long term damage throughout the body.

An interesting and frightening phenomenon suffered by some electric shock victims is known as a diffuse electrical injury (DEI), in which a short-duration low voltage shock causes pain that seems both out of proportion to the shock and such pain may be felt in parts of the body far away from the place of contact between the body and the electric current – and this may continue for many months after the electrocution injury. What makes DEI cases difficult is that this type of injury is not often understood in the medical field. Patients experiencing long-term electrical-type pain may be ignored or misdiagnosed by doctors who don’t recognize the symptoms of diffuse electrical injury.

The responsibility for prevention of such accidents falls on New York City’s employers, building owners and managers, product manufacturers, and others. Workers must also be properly trained to minimize the risk of electrocution. When an electric shock injury on a construction site is the result of negligence or misconduct, the construction worker may be able to receive compensation.

For your serious personal injury, you need legal representation from a qualified personal injury attorney. Contact our office today for your free consultation.

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