A high voltage electrical injury is very serious. Even though they do not result in death, these type electric shock injuries warrant immediate medical attention. Failure to properly diagnose and treat burns, musculoskeletal injuries and fractures could have long-term, life-altering effects on victims..
What is a high voltage electrical injury?
A high voltage electrical injury occurs when a person has been exposed to electricity of a particularly high strength and that high strength electricity flows through his or her body. The electrical current can damage skin, bones and internal organs, including the heart.
High voltage electrical injury types
Exposure to electricity can result in injuries which are frequently grouped into the following categories:
- Flash injuries – These are caused by the arc flash resulting from an explosion caused by electricity. They cause burns to the skin, but current of electricity does not travel through a person’s skin.
- Flame injuries – These injuries occur when an arc flash ignites a person’s clothing. It’s possible that a current of electricity may have entered or passed through a person’s skin.
- Injuries where the current of electricity has entered and exited the body – With these injuries, a person has literally become part of a circuit of electricity such that current of electricity has entered, traveled through and exited a person’s body. Entrance and exit wound sites are expected.
These injuries – regardless of what grouping they may belong to – include:
- Orthopedic injuries
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Thermal injuries
- Loss of consciousness
- Secondary injuries from falling
- Ventricular fibrillation
What factors determine the severity of injuries?
The severity of a person’s injury from exposure and/or contact with high powered electricity will depend on:
- The voltage involved
- The pathway that electricity traveled through a person’s body (e.g., through the heart, muscles, head, eyes and/or chest, or hand-to-hand)
- Length of a person’s exposure to/contact with the source of electricity
- Health and/or medical condition of the person before the injury occurred
- Whether the current of electricity was direct (DC) or alternating (AC) because AC (or alternating current) is commonly viewed as being more dangerous than DC (direct current)
Can these injuries cause death?
Yes. A high voltage electrical injury can cause death. This is called electrocution.
What is high voltage?
To provide perspective about what constitutes high voltage (which is estimated to range from 100 volts to 500 volts), here are examples of different voltage levels and their sources:
- Household electricity is generally set at approximately 110 volts
- Most appliances use approximately 120 volts
- Larger appliances like dryers (for clothing) and electric cooktops use approximately 240 volts
- A utility company’s power lines are frequently set at 100,000 volts or higher
Voltage is the amount or pressure of electricity that is being pushed through a circuit.
Need help from an experienced electrocution lawyer?
If you or someone you love is a victim of serious personal injury or death caused by electricity, please call us toll free at (800) 548-0043 for a free consultation.