Do I have an electric shock lawsuit?

Here are some frequently asked questions about electric shock and the possibility of taking legal action

It’s important to understand the difference between being “shocked” and being “electrocuted.” Electric shock is the physiological reaction or injury caused by electric current passing through the body, whereas “electrocution” results in death.

Below are some common questions our injury attorneys hear about electric shock and litigation surrounding these serious injuries.

What can happen to the body when someone is shocked by electricity?
What should I do if someone has been shocked?
Should I call 911?
How can an electric shock injury be diagnosed?
Can I file a lawsuit if I’ve been shocked??

  1. What can happen to the body when someone is shocked by electricity?

    The severity from an electrical shock depends on the type of current, how high the voltage is, how the current traveled through the body, the victim’s overall health and how quickly the victim is treated.

    For instance, electric shock may cause burns, or it may leave no visible mark on the skin. This is because the effect of the electric shock is determined by how wet, thick and clean the skin is. Thin or wet skin is much less resistant than thick or dry skin. When skin resistance is low (thin or wet), the current may cause little or no skin damage, but severely burn internal organs and tissues. High skin resistance (thick or dry) can produce severe skin burns but prevent the current from entering the body.

    An electrical current passing through the body can cause internal damage, cardiac arrest or other injury. Many survivors require amputation or are disfigured by burns. Under certain circumstances, even a small amount of electricity can be fatal, according to the Mayor Clinic.

    Injuries from household appliances and other low-voltage sources are less likely to produce extreme damage. Here’s more information about electric shock injuries and electrocution death.

  2. What should I do if someone has been shocked?

    A person who has been injured by contact with electricity should be seen by doctor. Here are some recommendations on what to do if someone has been shocked:

    • Don’t touch the injured person if he is still in contact with the electrical current.
    • Stay away from high-voltage wires until the power is turned off. Remember, overhead power lines usually aren’t insulated. Stay at least 20 feet away, and farther if wires are jumping, arcing and sparking.
    • Don’t move a person with an electrical injury unless he is in immediate danger.
  3. Should I call 911?

    Call 911 if there is a serious injury – and also if the source of the burn is a high-voltage wire or lightning. Call for emergency help if the shock victim experiences the following electric shock symptoms:

    • Burns,
    • Confusion,
    • Difficulty breathing,
    • Arrhythmia (change in heart rhythm),
    • Cardiac arrest,
    • Muscle pain and contractions,
    • Seizures, and
    • Loss of consciousness.
  4. How can an electric shock injury be diagnosed?

    Electric shock injuries are diagnosed through information about the accident, a physical exam and monitoring of cardiovascular and kidney activity.

    The victim’s neurological condition can change rapidly and also requires close observation. A computed tomography scan (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used check for brain injury.

  5. Can I file a lawsuit if I’ve been shocked?

    Yes, you can file a lawsuit if you’ve been shocked. The damages will depend on your injuries and medical bills. For cases in which the shock victim survives, medical expenses can easily run into six-figures. The nature of the injuries suffered in an electrical shock or burn case often means expensive accommodations are needed over a long-term period of time.

    Other expenses which arise include future medical expenses, often coupled with a loss of income if the shock victim was previously employed. Other family members will often lose time away from work as well.

    The injured victim may seek compensation from the liable party for all of these expenses.

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