Every year in the United States, thousands of people are seriously injured by electric shock. Many of these accidents happen on the job when workers meet a source of electrical energy. Electric shock injuries vary depending on how much current is involved and how contact was made.
Because electric shock injuries are not always evident to bystanders, some victims go too long without receiving the medical care that may be essential for saving their lives. Injuries from electricity range from minor burns to cardiac arrest and electrocution. Employees who suffer electric shock accidents at work have two primary options to pursue justice and damages for their physical and financial losses: workers’ compensation benefits and personal injury claims.
Understanding Electric Shock
Circuits contain electricity, which is carried safely through conductors. When the human body somehow interrupts this flow, they may absorb and conduct that electricity. Contact with electricity happens in a variety of different ways:
- Contact with electrified water
- Drilling into underground wires
- Defective or dangerous consumer products
- Exposing wiring on tools or machines
- Interacting with electric arcs in power lines
- Overloading sockets
- Touching active wiring or equipment
Because of the nature of their jobs, workers in certain professions, such as construction, emergency response, power line workers, cable inspectors, and other utility workers, are at a greater risk of encountering high-voltage power lines and life-threatening injuries.
Common Electric Shock Injuries
Some workers are lucky and only suffer minor injuries, while other electric shock injuries can leave permanent damage. Potential electric shock injuries include:
- Cardiac arrest
- Head injury
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness
- Nerve damage
- Sensory problems
- Tissue damage
The long-term prognosis for a worker injured by electricity depends on many different factors, including the victim’s overall health at the time of the accident, how long they met the electric current, and how quickly they were treated.
Electric Shock and Workers’ Compensation Claims
After an electric shock accident at work, it is imperative to seek appropriate medical care. Even if you suspect your injuries are minor, many electricity injuries are not always visible on the body. Report your work accident to your employer as soon as possible and document all the details of your incident as well. Take photos of the location where your accident occurred, if possible.
If you decide to file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits to assist with costs related to your injuries, this information will be helpful in ensuring a smooth claims process. Workers’ compensation claims are not concerned with fault. Even if workers contributed some part to their accident, they are still entitled to receive benefits. Workers’ compensation covers medical costs related to an accident and lost income while the employee is unable to work. Workers with permanently disabling injuries may also receive payments according to the extent of their impairment.
Workers injured by electric shock have other means to obtain financial compensation. In these cases, victims can bring claims against negligent third parties who assembled, installed, operated, or sold a defective device leading to their electric shock injuries.
To prove third-party liability, the plaintiff must show:
- The third-party had a duty to protect the public
- They breached that duty with some reckless or careless action
- That breach caused the victim to be injured
- The victim suffered losses as a result
Damages for third-party liability claims include punitive and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Protect Workers Suffering from Serious Work Injuries
Shock, burns, and electrocution are among some of the most dangerous work injuries putting New Jersey workers at risk. Recovery from electric shock accidents can be a long and costly process. The South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP help injured workers claim the compensation they deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 856-761-3773 or contact us online. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including the City of Camden.