You use electricity throughout the day – from the time you get up in the morning and flip on your electric toothbrush to turning off the light as you head off to sleep for the evening. Yet, electricity is a very dangerous source of power. When not used properly, especially in high-risk situations, electricity can cause catastrophic injuries to your body.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we have worked with many people who have suffered serious injuries as a result of electricity-related accidents. Many times, these are construction accidents or work-site accidents, but they can occur anywhere and at any time.
What can happen to you in a catastrophic electricity injury?
An electrical injury occurs, according to the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus, when electrical current comes into contact with a person’s skin or directly to their internal organs. When this happens, it can lead to numerous injuries, many of which are not possible to overcome.
Your body is actually very conductive. Unlike surfaces like cement, for example, the body will allow electrical current to pass through it rather easily. This is not ideal. Getting zapped by an electrical outlet, for example, is a minor injury that may only involve a few moments of pain or, in some more significant cases, burns to the skin. However, if you are exposed to a direct electrical current, the chances of death are very high.
When you are faced with a direct electrical current, serious internal damage can occur. The amount of electrical current, the overall exposure levels, and where it strikes you each play a role in what the outcome is. According to MedlinePlus, the following are four ways that electric current will cause catastrophic injury within the body:
- The electric current disrupts the flow of electrical function in the heart, causing cardiac arrest, making your heart stop;
- The current passes through the muscles, tissues, and nerves of the body, causing burns and damage throughout this area;
- Thermal burns occur at the location where your body came in contact with the electrical current; and
- You are likely to fall or collapse from this electrical surge in your body, especially as your brain loses oxygen flow from the heart, leading to damage resulting from the fall itself.
In many situations, this type of direct electrical current is deadly. The body is unlikely to survive the intense impact of that current and the damage it causes to the internal organs, including the heart.
What are the long-term effects of electrical shock?
Consider what may happen if you survive an indirect electrical shock or a low-voltage shock. That shock does not just resolve immediately. You may have a long-lasting injury from it. Consider some of the trauma that your body can experience and how that can impact your life and overall well-being.
Burns are highly damaging because they are both painful and hard to treat. Burns increase the risk of widespread infection for many people, as noted by the Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America. Burns, depending on the voltage and the length of the shock, can be devastating in that they can make it impossible for you to use that area of the body. For example, if your hand suffers third-degree burns, this can lead to disfigurement and, in some cases, the loss of function of your hand.
Spinal injuries, head injuries, or other traumatic injuries can occur as a result of an electrical shock. In these situations, recovery is often dependent on the severity of the incident. However, many of these cases involve long-term recovery, rehabilitation, and, in some situations, limited mobility. If your spinal cord, for example, is damaged from the electrical shock, you may not be able to work again. That could also mean you cannot engage in activities you love.
The internal damage your body experiences could carry a lasting effect as well. For example, you may have damage to blood vessels, veins, and arteries. You may have developed structural changes in your heart, which make it impossible for it to beat properly. In other cases, you may suffer kidney, lung, or other types of internal organ damage. These may limit your lifespan or may make it hard for you to meet day-to-day needs without help.
It is not uncommon for a person with electrical shock damage to lose a portion of their body as a result of the damage. This is particularly common due to the burns that can occur. Those burns can wipe out layers of skin and tissue, even damaging the bones themselves. The end result is the removal of the limb that is so badly damaged to reduce pain and limit infection risk.
Over the long term, this type of injury can lead to dozens of losses, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
- Vision and hearing loss;
- Ghost pains from amputated areas;
- Depression and anxiety;
- Joint pain and limited movement;
- Skin discomfort;
- Trouble sleeping;
- Cognitive function decline;
- Permanent neurological injuries; and
- Neurological effects such as tremors, migraines, seizures, and paralysis.
What happens when someone else is responsible?
There are many reasons electrical accidents like this can happen. It can happen on a construction site, for example, due to the negligence of another contractor. Some situations may involve failures of equipment you are using, electric cars, or other technology in your home.
In some situations, this type of devastation can occur as a direct result of the negligence of another person or party. When that happens, you may have the right to pursue financial compensation for your losses. That includes recouping economic and non-economic losses.
When someone’s mistake leads to your financial loss, long-term injuries, and chronic pain, you need an attorney by your side who can help you. At Harris Lowry Manton, our Savannah personal injury attorneys serve clients throughout Georgia, offering comprehensive legal support and guidance in the most tragic of situations. Call our offices in Savannah or Atlanta, or submit our contact form for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Jed Manton is committed to representing individuals and business that have been harmed by the actions of others. With a solid track record, Jed has helped numerous clients who have been seriously injured or who have lost a loved one obtain justice, while holding the wrongdoer accountable.
Read more about Jed D. Manton here.