The human body produces electric currents, and conducts electricity extremely well. This means that our bodies are highly vulnerable to electric shock. Exposure to electric currents is known as electrocution, and these injures can be harmful or even fatal. Nonfatal electrocutions can cause permanent damage to victims. If you work anywhere with a risk of electrocution or if you or a loved has recently suffered an electrocution injury, it’s a good idea to have some working knowledge of electrocutions and what you should do if another person or party causes one through negligence.
Effects of Electrocution
Electric currents affect the human body in different ways, usually depending on the voltage of the current and type of contact the victim had with the current. The most common injuries resulting from electrocutions include:
- Burns from contact with an electrical source. Just like any other burn, an electrical burn can penetrate the various layers of skin and even the underlying tissues with a strong enough current.
- Internal tissue damage. When a person comes in contact with an electric current, that current will pass through the victim’s body since human beings conduct electricity. The current will enter and then exit the body, damaging internal organs, muscles, nerves, and other tissues along its route.
- Cardiac complications. An electric shock can cause the heart’s rhythm to skip, potentially resulting in cardiac arrest.
The severity of an electrocution typically depends on the strength of the current, how long the victim was in contact with the current, the path the current took through the victim’s body, and the victim’s overall health. Electrocution victims often endure symptoms including bouts of unconsciousness, heart attacks, headaches, pain in muscles and joints, breathing problems, respiratory failure, sensory problems, seizures, broken bones, irregular heartbeat, and burns.
Know Your Options
If you suffered an electrocution, you may be eligible to collect compensation for your injury through several possible avenues. First, if another person or party (such as a negligent product manufacturer or employer) was responsible for your electrocution, you can sue them in a personal injury lawsuit to collect compensation for your expenses resulting from the incident.
To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, you and your attorney will need to prove that the defendant (the party you are suing) was negligent. This involves proving three things in court:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty to act with reasonable care.
- The defendant breached this duty in some way. This could be through some specific action, or in some cases, inaction, such as failing to address a known hazard.
- The victim’s injuries were a direct result of the breach. The plaintiff can only sue for damages directly resulting from the defendant’s negligence.
It’s important to note that Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence law, meaning that if a plaintiff is found partially at fault for an incident, his or her compensation will be reduced by an amount proportionate to his or her degree of fault. For example, if a judge determines that a plaintiff was 10% at fault for a $100,000 lawsuit, his or her compensation will be reduced by 10% – reflecting his or her fault percentage and resulting in a $90,000 award.
Regardless of how your electrocution injury came about, one of the best steps you can take after addressing your immediate medical concerns is to consult with an attorney about legal recourse. If a negligent party is responsible for your electrocution, they need to pay for the damages their negligence caused. At Anapol Weiss, we are dedicated to providing our Philadelphia clients with our full attention, expertise, and resources for every unique case. Reach out to our team if you have questions about an electrocution injury or wish to set up a consultation.