About 1,000 people die each year of electrical injury in the United States. Electrical injuries can happen anywhere. On work sites when a metal ladder comes in contact with a power line, at home due to faulty electrical appliances, or anywhere one could be exposed to defective wiring. The severity of injury can range from minor to fatal and is determined by several factors, including the intensity and type of current and the duration of exposure to the current.
Exposure to low voltage electricity (such as the voltage found in your home) can cause injury and death, but it is high voltage electricity (running through power lines above and below ground) which typically causes more severe injury and higher likelihood of death.
Invisible Burn Injuries
Often the main sign of electrical injury is a skin burn, but not all people have visible injuries. High voltage injuries can cause massive internal burns and can do more damage below the skin’s surface than what may be able to be seen from the outside. This is because as it enters the body the current moves through the tissues of least resistance first as it seeks an exit to ground. This means damage to nerves, muscles, organs, ligaments and bones can occur. Severe shocks can also cause abnormal heart rhythms, muscle contractions strong enough to throw a person to the ground and cause broken bones, brain damage causing short term memory problems, personality changes, irritability and sleeping difficulties, chronic pain, numbness and tingling in the limbs, and erectile dysfunction. Electrical injury is also known to increase the risk for the development of cataracts, depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
Long Term Recovery
Recovery from electric shock injuries may take months or years depending on the severity of the injury. Electrical burn care often includes debridement and grafting surgeries, physical and occupational therapy, and routine medical exams for medication monitoring.
Both a low and high voltage electrical injury can often be emotionally hard on the burn patient, as well as their families. Many families must learn how to help the injured person with at-home wound care, administering medications, rehabilitation therapy, and daily living activities like bathing, dressing and eating. Coping with electrical injuries and the recovery can be overwhelming. Burn survivor support groups exist to help both those recovering from injury, and family and friends trying to adjust to their new role as caregiver.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
Because the recovery from a serious electrical injury can be long and intense, it can help to have an advocate with experience litigating electrical injury cases on your side to investigate whether you have a potential claim for your injuries. Liability is almost always at issue in these types of cases and so being able to examine the scene where the injury occurred is very important in establishing who may be at fault. If a power line was involved, you can be certain the power company will have its team of investigators out to the scene within hours of the injury, collecting evidence, taking photographs, and possibly doing repairs to the power lines involved.
The Law Offices of Peter A. Jouras, Jr. have successfully represented individuals who have suffered high voltage electrical injuries and would be happy to discuss your case with you. We provide experienced and caring legal help to electrical injury victims and their families and will work hard to help you get the emotional support and financial recovery you need following an accident which results in burn injury or death.
We Can Help!
For more information, please call or email the Law Offices of Peter A. Jouras, Jr.
For your free consultation, call (913) 677-1999