July 17, 2018
Electrical accidents often leave victims with serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Electricians are at the highest risk for these types of injuries; but workers in all types of occupations, including construction workers, those in the manufacturing industry, and even office workers may also be at risk.
Technology has filtered into every workplace, making the need for more electrical power greater than ever before. Anyone exposed to wires, circuitry, electric machinery, and office equipment such as copiers, computers, and audiovisual equipment could be at risk of a catastrophic electrical injury.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports an average of 350 work-related electrical deaths each year in the United States, which accounts for 12 percent of all workplace fatalities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) claims another 30,000 workers suffer non-fatal electrical injuries each year. What makes these statistics even more alarming is the fact that many of these injuries go unreported.
Types of Electrical Injuries
The most serious injuries result when workers come into direct contact with live electrical wires. The strength of the current and the length of time the worker is exposed to the electricity will determine the extent of their injuries. Even a relatively small piece of electrical equipment, such as a power drill, can lead to burns, electrical shock, and even death. When electric shock occurs, the victim’s heart rhythm can become dangerously high and erratic. Death can soon follow in a matter of minutes.
The majority of non-fatal electrical accidents result in burns to the face, hands, and arms. Permanent damage to the heart, skin, and nerves can result if injuries are not promptly treated.
Burn injuries are the most painful and serious types of electrical injury. Burns can result from direct contact with a live wire, or can result from electrical arcs that travel through the air. Electrical flashes can have temperatures as high as 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause instant death.
Workers can also suffer serious or fatal injuries if they fall as a result of contact with a live electrical circuit. The energy in the electricity can be powerful enough that workers are thrown into the air, topple off of ladders, or fall onto hard surfaces that can cause broken bones, head and back injuries, and serious cuts and lacerations. The combination of these injuries and those from the electrical current itself can be deadly.
Workers’ Compensation for Electrical Injuries
If you suffer an electrical injury at work, you may be able to claim Workers’ Compensation benefits. It is imperative to report your accident and injuries to your supervisor or human resources department immediately. Records of emergency room and hospital visits, doctor appointments, prescription medications, and ongoing therapy are necessary to prove the extent of your injury.
Electrical injuries often result in long recovery periods. Medical bills add up quickly and put a great deal of stress on injured workers and their families.
Filing a claim with your employer for Workers’ Compensation benefits should be done as soon as possible following your accident. Even if your benefits are initially denied, seek the counsel of an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer that can appeal the decision and help you collect the maximum benefit available.
Additional Remedies for Electrical Injuries
If you suffered a burn or other electrical injury due to a defect in the machinery, tools, or protective equipment you were using, you may be entitled to additional compensation by filing a product liability claim. These claims are filed not against your employer, but rather against the manufacturer, distributer, or other party whose negligence contributed to your injury. The amount of compensation recovered through a products liability claim can be significantly higher than what you may receive through Workers’ Compensation alone. At Galfand Berger LLP, our work injury lawyers have successfully resolved countless third-party liability claims and can advise you on the best course of action for your case.
Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Help Those With Electrical Injuries Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you or someone you know has been injured in a work-related accident, call the Philadelphia work injury lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP at 800-222-USWA (8792), or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.