Electrocution Accident Lawyers

Although electrocutions may sound like an infrequent occurrence in the workplace, the use of electric power in most tasks, particularly in industrial fields, puts many workers at risk of electrocution if due diligence is not observed. Electrocution does not just happen to electricians. While electricians do suffer approximately 20 percent of all workplace electrocutions, other workers – including carpenters, welders, bricklayers, plumbers, machine operators, machine repair personnel, oil and gas workers, and construction workers – suffer the remaining 80 percent. An electrocution can occur due to contact with exposed wiring or an electric current being transmitted through water. If contact is established, a worker faces the possibility of grave injuries or even death.

Massive amounts of power are needed to operate large machines and factories, leading to potentially deadly injuries and severe accidents should a worker suffer an electric shock. Workers who work around power lines – like construction workers or landscapers – also face an increased risk of electrocution in any type of electrical accident on these worksites. When a severe electrical injury occurs, the damages can be catastrophic, which is why an electrocution accident lawyer is needed to help you recover medical costs and other financial compensation.

According to statistics, electrocution is the fifth leading cause of death in the workplace. Texas workers suffer the effects of hundreds of electrocutions every year, and there are many potential causes. For example, construction workers often work with metal equipment such as towers, ladders, and scaffolding, which can come in contact with live sources of electricity. In some cases, trucks, front-end loaders, and forklifts can become unbalanced or suffer damages (from lack of maintenance) and tip over onto a live electrical source.

In an attempt to reduce the risk of electrocution injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been urging employers to focus on worker safety when it comes to electrical accidents, teaching workers to understand the importance of avoiding live electrical sources at all times, as well as the minimum clearing distances necessary to stay away from overhead power lines in order to prevent any accidents. Workers who will be near live electrical sources should be supplied with the proper training and equipment to prevent electrical injuries. Preventative maintenance should be conducted on all-electric sources and equipment to avoid harm as well. Unfortunately, employers often put profits ahead of safety and fail to take these precautions that may prevent workers from being injured in electrical accidents. While some electrocutions may only result in a small shock or burn, being shocked in this way can and often does also cause severe injuries and even death.

Types of Electrical Injuries

Texas factories and plants require dangerous levels of electricity to function. Even in large cities like Houston, companies big and small have the potential to be affected by electrical accidents. As exposure levels break 17 milliamperes, an individual loses the ability to let go of the source of the shock. This means the victim maintains contact with the electrical flow and damage continues to occur, often leading to severe injuries.

The severity of the shock can be influenced by several factors, including the level of moisture in the air, the voltage of the current, and the current health of the victim. In addition to direct injuries caused by the electrical shock, even relatively minor or painless electrocution can cause involuntary muscle reactions in one of these types of accidents. When working in a potentially dangerous environment, such as on a tall ladder, or using potentially dangerous tools, such as a large power tool, these movements could easily lead to further harm. Such injuries span a wide range, from cardiac arrest to skin lesions, and can include:

  • Severe burns that may need skin grafts and therapy
  • Organ damage that can worsen over time
  • Heart issues that can cause heart attacks and/or permanent damage
  • Nerve damage that causes pain and hinders mobility
  • Brain injuries
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Limb loss
  • Falls from a height can cause neurological damage and musculoskeletal problems

Causes of an Electrocution Accident

While anyone can get hurt at work and many by an incident involving electricity, construction workers are at particularly high risk. According to OSHA, 53 percent of workplace electrical fatalities occur in construction, including among roofers, laborers, carpenters, and more. There could be many different causes of an electrical accident that results in injuries to workers and/or bystanders. Most of these occupational injuries can be avoided, but often occur due to negligence on the part of an employer, safety official, and/or another responsible party. An electrical accident legal case typically revolves around the circumstances and environment at the time of the accident, so a thorough investigation by an experienced electrocution attorney is necessary.

Common causes of workplace electrocution injuries include but aren’t limited to:

  • A scaffolding system collapse, throwing workers onto a live electrical source
  • Inadequate wiring is only built to handle a certain amount of electricity
  • Crane operators falling on an electrical source
  • Improper training of employees who work around or with electrical sources
  • Tree trimmers cutting power lines at their worksite
  • Live parts in equipment with uninsulated openings
  • Failure to properly and safely maintain power lines, causing them to fall onto workers
  • Overloaded circuits with too many cords plugged into one circuit, can cause a fire
  • Temporary wiring that is less resilient being left in place as “permanent”
  • Improperly installed or damaged electrical equipment
  • Touching equipment that is not properly grounded

Electric Shock Lawsuit Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common cause of workplace electrocution?

For many workers, power line exposure is a daily occurrence and has the potential to cause electrical accidents and electrical injuries. Whether a worker is a tree trimmer, an employee in the telecommunications sector, or an electrical worker doing fieldwork, an electrical injury from working around live power lines is higher than in other positions. The most common electrocution accidents involve power lines, specifically when a worker is under the impression that a power line is insulated. This can cause workers to touch a power line only to be electrocuted.

Can you sue for being electrocuted at work?

Anyone who has suffered electrocution injuries on the job can file a claim for compensation. The method of compensation may vary depending on a variety of factors. For example, if your employer is responsible in whole or in part and subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance, you can generally only recover funds from their comp carrier. However, many different contractors and companies can be present on a job site; and, those companies are not immune from a direct personal injury lawsuit for compensation. A thorough investigation of the accident, including detailed information concerning who was involved in the work that caused the incident and a spoken account from the injured party can help reveal which parties can be sued for financial damages directly.

Can being electrocuted cause permanent damage?

The initial shock of power flowing from an electrical source to the body can affect the nervous system, which can cause permanent disability if the nerves immobilize parts of the body. When the damage reaches the brain’s control center, limbs, neck movement, and other areas of the body can be permanently impaired by high voltage exposure. In the case of a severe shock, the victim will likely need extensive medical treatment. Healthcare costs can quickly skyrocket, leaving injured workers and their loved ones facing a massive financial burden. In addition, electrical injuries can also cause permanent disability, lower one’s self-esteem, and cause memory loss and depression.

What types of permanent injuries are caused by electrocution?

One dangerous permanent injury caused by electrocution is injuries to the heart, such as a cardiac arrest that occurs momentarily or permanently when the body experiences electric shock. Nerve and tissue damage can be permanent if an electric current burns the skin deep enough to damage nerves in the limbs, back, or other parts of the body. Tissue damage can heal, but there will likely be permanent scars after being directly exposed to such strong voltage. Other permanent injuries can include physical impairment and psychological damage.

Can I file an electric shock lawsuit against the electric company?

A power company can potentially be held directly and legally responsible for the electrocution of an individual who is not their employee. In a personal injury lawsuit, a lawyer will allege that a power company breached its duty to protect the public even if it did not know any potentially dangerous conditions or equipment defects. If the defect or danger could have been discovered by routine care or proper maintenance, the power company may be responsible and have the proper insurance to compensate for endangering anyone in the public. If you work for an electric company and suffer electric shock, your ability to recover from your own employer may be limited to damages available under workers’ compensation insurance; however, that will depend on the facts of your case.

Texas Electrocution Accident Lawyers

After electrocution on the job, seeking compensation can be intimidating. The Houston personal injury lawyers of Adame Garza LLP understand you’re facing a difficult situation, and we will guide you through the legal process ahead with diligent care. If you were injured in an electrocution accident or have a loved one who was injured or died after suffering electrical injuries, please contact us today to discuss the details of your situation and get a free and personalized consultation from our knowledgeable electrocution accident lawyers.