An electrical injury can cause severe debilitations should the victim survive. People are surrounded by this energy no matter where they go. It courses through power lines, brings to life a variety of appliances, and keeps us out of the dark. It’s critical to modern living, but it is still a barely tamed natural force. When it escapes from its confines, it can do serious damage to anyone nearby. And worse, such accidents usually happen without warning and are caused by risks that no one is aware of. This is why so many accidents occur on job sites around the country, especially in places that use heavy machinery.
WHAT NORMALLY CAUSES AN ELECTRICAL INJURY?
In general, no one should ever be exposed to power currents unless something goes wrong. When something does go wrong it’s normally due to faulty wiring, poorly maintained equipment, accidents that cause structural damage to a power grid, fallen power lines, or various OSHA violations. According to the National Health Institute, about 1,000 people are killed in the U.S. each year due to such accidents, and the problem is particularly bad in the construction industry.
On construction sites, there may be dozens of contractors performing various job duties, and some of them will be responsible for inspecting equipment, setting up power controls and laying down wiring. These contractors have an obligation to the rest of the workers to do their job safely. This means double checking all work, posting warning signs if there is a hazard present, and ensuring that all safety measures are observed.
The problem is, many contractors and even employers are in regular violation of OSHA regulations and expose their coworkers or employees to unnecessary risk of an electrical injury. There are published regulations for setting up power controls and maintaining equipment. If these standards are not followed carefully, the responsible party will be culpable for any damages. For example, a contractor may set up power controls for a generator deployed at a construction site. During the setup process, say the contractor does not wire the controls correctly. Another worker may be hurt when they try to change the settings on the generator, possibly putting them in the hospital with severe burns. In this case, the victim should be eligible for workers’ compensation through their employer (IF the employer carries the insurance) and be able to file a negligence claim against the contractor responsible for the poor wiring.
An electrical injury can leave a victim in terrible shape, and possibly disabled permanently. The human body is a conduit, so electric shock can affect many organs, even when a person is only exposed for a fraction of a second. An accident can leave a person with severe burns, nerve damage, brain and spine damage, respiratory or cardiac arrest, kidney failure, seizures, amnesia, and lingering mood or behavioral changes. As these complications can leave a person unable to work, a victim should consider speaking to an attorney about their legal options. Attorneys have access to expert witnesses that can inspect the accident site and help determine fault. This will prove invaluable in the event a claim goes to the settlement phase.