Electric shock injuries: Top 6 safety facts you must know

What is electric shock? What are the causes, the injuries and the symptoms? What makes it turn deadly? What should people do when tragedy strikes?

Electric shock

Most people are not familiar with electric shock injuries.

They should be.

As an electrocution attorney who has spent decades helping electric shock injury victims and their families, I know how devastating — and common — these personal injuries can be.

My own legal experiences over three decades with electrocution lawsuits have motivated me to create this Electrocution Lawyers blog. I can help victims and their families get justice in the courts against negligent utility and electric companies. But this blog hopefully helps me to educate and inform. I want to help people better understand the relationship between electricity and injury or wrongful death so they can protect themselves and respond in the safest way possible so tragedy does not strike.

That’s the purpose of today’s blog post about electrical shock injuries.

In the sections below, I have complied the following Top 6 facts that everyone must know in order to prevent and stay safe from electric shock injuries:

  • What is an electric shock?
  • What causes electric shock?
  • What injuries can be caused by an electric shock?
  • What symptoms might an electric shock victim have?
  • What factors contribute to the lethal nature of an electric shock injury?
  • What do you do to treat electric shock?

As Benjamin Franklin wisely said:

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Nowhere is this more true than with electricity.

What is an electric shock? 

An electric shock is what happens when a person comes into contact with an energy or electricity source, which sends an electrical current through a portion of the person’s body.

What causes electric shock?

As I noted above, an electric shock occurs when a person is exposed to a source of electricity and the electric charge runs through his or her body.

What injuries can be caused by an electric shock?

Electric shock injuries are very serious and may include the following:

  • Burns (external and internal).
  • Brain injuries.
  • Fibrillation of the heart.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Death by electrocution.

What symptoms might an electric shock victim have?

Although a burn is both a clear and unequivocal sign that a person has suffered an electric shock injury and an actual injury, itself, not all electric shock injuries are externally visible and immediately apparent.

  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Neck and back pain (related to spinal injuries caused when exposure to the electrical charge actually physically and forcefully threw the victim).
  • Muscle pain.
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain and/or pain in the abdomen could indicate internal injuries.
  • Loss of unconsciousness.
  • Numbness.
  • Tingling.
  • Paralysis.
  • Vision, hearing, or speech problems.
  • Confusion.
  • Seizures.

What factors contribute to the lethal nature of an electric shock injury?

As I mentioned above, an electric shock injury that turns lethal or deadly is called “electrocution.”

The factors that can contribute to the deadliness of an electric shock include:

  • High amperage electric current.
  • Duration of the electric shock.
  • Pathway of the electric current (there’s a greater chance of death if the current passes through the heart muscle, head and/or chest).
  • High voltage.

What do you do to treat electric shock?

If you think someone has suffered an electric shock injury, call the authorities — and follow the instructions they give you.

In the event that you’re certain the electric shock victim is out of harm’s way  and you’re certain that you, too, won’t become an electric shock victim — take the person immediately to the nearest hospital’s emergency room.

(Sources: WebMD, “Electric Shock Basics” and “Electric Shock Treatment”; Mayo Clinic, “Electrical shock: First aid”; Wikipedia, “Electric Shock”)

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