What is an electric shock case?

Electricity is a known danger, but the severity of the risk posed to individuals exposed to a current depends upon the type of current and the amount of current. Alternating current, “AC” is 4 to 5 times as dangerous as an equal voltage of direct current.  The amount of current is directly dependent on the voltage of the current and inversely proportional to the resistance of the body.  If the voltage is high or the resistance is low, the flow of current is greater.  Electrocution is rare at less than 100 volts, and most deaths occur voltage greater than 200 volts. Currents of 10mA cause pain and muscle contractions, over 60mA are injurious and 100 mA is fatal.

High voltages may cause the victim to be thrown clear, while lower voltages, around 240, cause muscle contraction which in turn leads to the victim holding on to the source of the current. Death by electric currents is commonly caused by defective electric appliances or negligence in the use of equipment. In industry, deaths may result from contact with live overhead cables or from handling of charged tools. Many electrical shock accidents occur by happenstance, but occasionally action by another party will create or contribute to the electrical hazard.  When responsibility for the electrical accident can be determined, the responsible party may be liable for the injuries.

What makes an electric shock case unique?

The great potential for serious burns or death makes the electrical accident particularly dangerous.  The current passes through the skin producing heat, which causes boiling and electrolysis of tissue fluids. The skin splits and rolls back from the surface. The severity of the electrical burn is directly related to the duration of the current flow. Death is more likely to occur if the brain stem or the heart are in the circuit, or direct path of the current.

Current flow from any of the limbs to the head involve the brain stem and upper cervical cord. An arm-to-arm circuit may result in death due to the paralysis of medullary (respiratory) centers. Arm-to-arm or left arm to either leg circuits involve the heart and death occurs either from ventricular fibrillation or cardiac arrest. Particularly disconcerting is the fact the death may not be instantaneous. Electrocuted individuals may be able to walk some distance and even talk before collapse and death.

What to expect from an electric shock lawsuit?

The science behind the accident will be critical – much forensic work can help target the party responsible for the electrical exposure.  Understanding the physics behind the exposure will allow your lawyer to use the facts to argue your case. For cases in which the 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. Other expenses which arise include future medical expenses, often coupled with a loss of income if the victim was previously employed. Frequently other family members lose time away from work as well.  The injured victim may seek compensation from the liable party for all of these expenses.  Read more about Damages.

For answers about your electric shock case, call for a free consultation:

We have the technical training (one of our lawyers worked as a chemical engineer prior to attending law school) and experience in handling electrical shock and electrocution cases to assist you in evaluating your case.  We would welcome an opportunity to speak with you about your electrical exposure case and answer your questions during a free consultation – call to speak to one of our electrical accident lawyers.

How We Helped a Client Win an Electrocution Case

Mother Brings Wrongful Death Claim for Electrocution of Son

Tina Mays brought a lawsuit against Knight Light, Inc. (“Knight Light”) for the wrongful death of her twenty eight year old son, Gerard “Jerry” Mitchell, who was electrocuted when...

Read more