What’s the difference between electrocution vs shock?

An experienced electrocution lawyer explains the difference between electrocution vs shock and the different medical and legal implications

Electrocution lawyer explains the difference between electrocution vs. shock

Many people use electrocution vs shock interchangeably.

But the difference between an electrocution and an injury from an electrical shock is literally a matter of life and death.

While both injuries are very serious, they carry with them different legal and medical consequences. This is one of the many safety issues I try to educate the public about through my own outreach efforts and through my Electrocution Lawyers website.

An electrocution means that a person has died as a result of an electricity. Common causes of electrocution include:

  • Accidental contact with exposed electrical sources, such as exposed wires.
  • Accidental contact with a downed power line.
  • Contact with a power line or electrical arc flash.

In contrast to electrocution, an electric shock injury involves electrical harm that does not result in death.

That does not mean that an electrical shock case is a minor event. Victims of electrical shock frequently suffer very severe, catastrophic and life-altering injuries. Common injuries resulting from electrical shock include:

  • Amputation
  • Severe burns
  • Cardiac arrest and/or arrhythmia and/or heart muscle damage
  • Brain and other nerve damage
  • Memory loss
  • Permanent heart damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory failure
  • Spine injury
  • Deformity at point of contact
  • Cataracts
  • Loss of kidney function
  • Secondary injuries caused by post-shock falls

To learn more, please check out my Electrical Safety Resource Center.

How electrocution vs shock affects a victim’s legal remedies

Significantly, people and families whose lives have been destroyed and/or permanently altered by an electrocution or shock injury can sue for damages and compensation when those damages were caused by the negligence of a utility, corporation, contractor, or person.

In the event that a life has been lost due to electrocution, then that person’s family – through the personal representative of the decedent’s probate estate – can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

For victims who have suffered serious, life-altering injuries, they can pursue a negligence lawsuit to recover damages for past, present, and future medical expenses, accommodations, loss of income, loss of consortium, disability, loss or impairment of social and recreational pleasures, fright, shock, mental anguish, disfigurement, as well as for pain and suffering compensation.

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