Chicago Electrocution Lawyer
Electrocution is a common risk at construction sites and is one of the leading causes of death when employees are killed on the job. Oftentimes, there are multiple things happening on a construction site at one time and there is live power on the site when other work is occurring.
This presents a risk of electrocution for workers at the site. Electrocution is a severe injury and, when it is not fatal, can leave the victim with critical and permanent damages. In many cases, electrocution will occur because the employer has done something wrong or otherwise failed to follow a rule.
When that happens, you or your loved one who has been injured might have legal recourse against the party that was responsible for your injuries in the form of financial compensation.
The Cook County electrocution accident injury attorneys at the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC law group are experienced advocates and can help their clients file legal claims in order to recover for these electric shock and electrocution injuries. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with our Chicago injury attorneys today!
Common Chicago Electrocution Injuries
There are five main injuries that result from electrocution. Four of these are primary electrocution injuries and the fifth is a secondary injury that occurs as a result of the primary injury.
Here are the different injuries that one can suffer from electrocution:
- Cardiac Arrest
- Tissue Injury
- Central Nervous System Injuries
- Secondary Injuries
Statistics About Electrocution Incidents
The number of deaths from electrocution incidents has been dropping this century as more measures are taken to protect workers from critical injuries.
The number of deaths has dropped to 134 in 2015. In 1998, the number of deaths caused by electrical injuries in the United States exceeded 300. However, there have been advances in safety in the past two decades.
On the other side, some have argued that the drop in electrocution deaths resulted from the Great Recession and is not a result of anything that employers are doing differently on work sites.
Eighty-two of these 134 deaths have resulted from incidents at construction sites. Many of these deaths came from connecting with overhead lines or some other electrical fixture on a worksite.
Additionally, electricians constitute the bulk of those killed on work sites. From 2011 to 2015, there were 105 electricians who were killed in the construction site field.
While less common, there is a recognizable component of people injured in car accidents who suffer electrical injuries when their vehicle malfunctions or crashes into an electric pole.
Medical Treatment of Electrocution in Chicago, IL
Immediate medical assistance is of the essence if one is to survive an electrical injury. This is a form of trauma to the body and requires specialized expert care.
Some of the primary means of treating electrical injuries include treatment for burns, as that is one of the most immediate concerns in the wake of electrocution accidents. In addition, there may be cardiac treatment that is necessary since many victims suffer some sort of heart damage.
The electrical injury victims will also be in serious pain due to the nervous system damage so pain management is also a paramount concern. In some cases, the injury is not immediately apparent after the incident has occurred. In that case, the patient will need to receive ongoing care to treat injuries as they arise.
In addition, there may also be extensive rehabilitation necessary if it is at all possible to repair some of the damage to the nervous system. How many functions a person can regain is dependent on the care that they receive in the immediate aftermath of their injury.
OSHA Regulations Related to Electrical Safety
OSHA has regulations that govern a number of areas that relate to electricity. Here are some of the areas in which employers must follow OSHA rules:
- Electrical construction site standards
- Training of workers around electricity
- Hazard recognition
When employers violate these rules, workers can file a complaint with OSHA. Violations of OSHA rules can be the basis for a successful personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit when breaking the rule helped cause the injury.
Chicago, Illinois Electrocution Accident FAQs
Does Electrocution Kill You Instantly?
A jolt of electricity disrupts the body’s nerve communication and can stop the heart muscle or cause fibrillation, an irregular rapid heartbeat leading to poor blood flow. Depending on the voltage of the shock, the injuries may be superficial or fatal.
What Happens If You Accidentally Electrocute Yourself?
Mild to moderate electric shocks could impact your health for a lifetime. Severe burns often lead to permanent scars and disfigurement.
Is Being Electrocuted Dangerous?
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), low-level electrical shock can cause painful, but innocuous, sensations. Mild electrical currents could leave the victim with extensive injuries and damage to the nerves. Elevated electrical levels with high-voltage and amperage could cause the Illinois victim to suffer cardiac arrest and eventually died.
Can a Small Electrical Shock Hurt You?
A mild shock might leave the victim with a mild burn and no visible injury to their skin. However, intense direct contact with electrical currents that pass through the body could lead the victim to life-threatening internal organ damage, deadly burns, or cardiac arrest. Under certain conditions in Illinois, even a small electric shock could be fatal.
What Is the Difference between Shock and Electrocuted?
In electrical shock is a mild to moderate injury that leaves the victim with a painful sensation or severe burn. Alternatively, electrocution is deadly when higher-voltage electrical current passes through the body causing immediate cardiac arrest, burnt internal organs, traumatic brain injury, or other life-altering medical problems.
Can Being Electrocuted Affect Your Brain in Illinois?
An electrical shock to the body can cause damage to the central nervous system. An electrical jolt might days the victim causing respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, seizure, or amnesia. Electrical energy to the brain and nerve system could cause long-term damage that might take several months or years to appear.
What is Electrocution?
Electrocution occurs when a person makes a connection with an energized higher-voltage electrical source. Electrocution occurs when the current makes its way through the human body and causes a violent response. Electricity will primarily devastate and destroy human tissue in the body.
Electrocution injuries happen because the human body will serve as a conductor of the electricity when there is human contact with both the electrical source and another source such as the ground at the same time.
The human body is especially vulnerable to electricity. It does not take much of an electrical current to cause damage and injury. While the skin can sometimes protect the body against electricity, when the current penetrates the skin and enters the body, people are vulnerable to serious injury.
The electricity can generally break down the skin’s resistance when the voltage exceeds 500 V.
How is Someone Electrocuted on a Chicago Jobsite?
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), there are numerous ways that workers can come into contact with electricity on a worksite and suffer personal injury.
Here are some ways that employees could be electrocuted:
- An employee is on a scaffold or ladder that touches a power line
- An excavator digs in the ground not knowing that there are energized underground electric lines.
- A metal piece then makes a connection with the energized underground power source.
- Electricity may not be turned off on a worksite and a construction worker may touch a power source thinking that it has been deactivated.
- Something, such as a tree, can fall on a utility line and can knock it down and the fallen line contacts a worker on the ground.
These are just the most common instances of electrocution injuries and electrocution accidents on a worksite. Anytime that there is live power on a worksite, workers are at risk of electrocution if the proper protection measures are not taken.
How Much is my Chicago Electrocution Injury Case Worth?
While there are many factors that contribute to the value of your electrocution injuries case such as medical bills, lost income, medical attention, pain, and disability (only mention if not mentioned earlier on the page) the cases below will hopefully give you some insight into how these cases are valued by juries, lawyers and insurance companies.
While these cases can be instructive, they should not be conclusive in valuing your particular situation. Below are some sample jury verdicts and settlements for these significant injury cases.
Plaintiff Verdict for $473,295 in Virginia (2018)
The plaintiff was installing equipment on the job site using a stud welder. The welder was connected to a power source but was turned off. The workman needed to move the stud welder a short distance and picked up the welder.
When he did so, he received a strong electrical shock and was not able to quickly remove his hands from the welder. The plaintiff lost consciousness in the accident and suffered permanent injuries from electrical shock. The lawyers claimed, in part, that the defendant failed to properly energize the stud welder.
Settlement for $6.225 million in California (2018)
The plaintiff was working as an electrician and was at a waste-to-energy facility. He was tasked with the removal of a 2400-volt contact starter from its cubicle so that it could undergo maintenance. When he tried to move the starter, there was an arc flash explosion.
The plaintiff suffered electrical burns as well as a traumatic brain injury. The plaintiff's attorney sued both the employer for negligence as well as the manufacturer of the contact starter for product liability claims. The defendants were found 75 percent liable in total and the case settled during the damages phase of the trial.
Plaintiff Verdict for $12.25 million in California (2018)
This was a wrongful death lawsuit. The decedent was setting up a table at a swap meet run by the defendant. The tent pole struck a power line above, causing severe injury and death. The decedent’s wife was also present and suffered serious injuries of her own as well as emotional distress from both her injuries as well as witnessing her husband’s death.
The fatal injury claim attorney alleged that the power lines above were uninsulated and dangerous and that people on the property should not have been allowed to use space directly underneath the electricity lines.
Settlement for $500,000 in Pennsylvania (2018)
The injured party was working as an electrician at an elementary school. He was installing a new light fixture and was working on top of ductwork when he came into contact with a hot wire that was not turned off as it was supposed to be and was electrocuted to death.
The legal claim asserted by the attorney maintained that the premises were unsafe and that the employer failed to follow OSHA safety regulations. The legal claim also alleged that the area should have been barricaded off but was not.
Plaintiff Award for $8,615,127 in New York (2018)
The plaintiff was working on an unsecured ladder at a home renovation project. The ladder shifted and the plaintiff fell to the balcony. He grabbed the ladder and contacted a high tension wire that was in the vicinity.
The plaintiff was severely injured and suffered paralysis of his non-dominant hand and partial paralysis of one leg. The suit claimed that the plaintiff’s injuries will continue to worsen. The plaintiff filed suit against both his employer as well as against Home Depot, which sold him the ladder that shifted.
Plaintiff Verdict for $500,000 in Pennsylvania (2017)
The plaintiff was performing masonry work on a home improvement project. He was on the ground next to a ladder when the current from a low hanging overhead power line ran through the ladder. The current went through his arms and his legs.
He lost part of both of his feet from his injuries and now walks with a permanent limp. The lawsuit claimed that the utility company allowed the power line to hang too low and failed to properly inspect the power line. The plaintiff was partially responsible for his own injuries by carrying the ladder in an improper upright position.
Plaintiff Verdict for $3,401,739 in Utah (2017)
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of a minor child. When he was two years old, he was playing in the backyard. A tree fell on to a voltage line which severed the line. The line produced heat that was significant enough to cause multiple electrical burns on the child’s body.
The child suffered severe scarring as well as cognitive loss. The personal injury claim was filed against the tree maintenance company alleging that the company should have removed the tree since it was contracted by the power company to maintain the trees around the lines.
Settlement for $6 million in Washington (2016)
The plaintiff was working for a subcontractor on a road construction project. He was assigned to help steady the swinging pole. However, the defendants allowed the pole to become electrified during the process.
The plaintiff suffered traumatic brain injuries that resulted in cognitive and memory impairments and was unable to return to work. He also suffered entrance and exit burns in his hands and feet from the current. The general contractor and the subcontractor were cited for safety violations in connection with the incident.
Plaintiff Verdict for $1.806 million in Louisiana (2015)
This was a wrongful death case. The decedent was at a bar. He was invited up to the roof of the bar after closing in order to get a view of the Mississippi River. The operator of the bar provided him with alcoholic beverages while he was on the roof.
The decedent came into contact with a power line that was located in close proximity to the building. The lawsuit was filed against the bar owner for allowing patrons access to the roof with the dangerous condition and against the electric company for failing to warn customers of the dangerous condition.
Settlement for $3.1 million in Nevada (2015)
The plaintiff was a structural mover and was engaged in a job. He was on the roof, attempting to move low hanging wires. He was walking on the roof carrying a telephone cable when he contacted a high powered wire.
He suffered severe injuries and was in a coma for several weeks afterward. He suffered significant destruction of bones and muscle that resulted in multiple amputations. The lawsuit was filed against the county for issuing the permit since it knew or should have known that the roof was within six feet of high voltage power wires
Settlement for $1.05 million in Massachusetts (2014)
This was a wrongful death case. The decedent was an electrical apprentice who was working at a construction project. He came into contact with a live 277-volt circuit and was electrocuted to death.
There was a short circuit in one of the junction boxes that helped cause the injury. The decedent was trapped when current ran through him and he could not be freed. The lawsuit claimed that the workers were not properly trained in the electrical plan and that the property owner was aware of the issues with the main circuit breaker and did not fix them.
Settlement for $1.25 million in Pennsylvania (2014)
This was a wrongful death case. The decedent was working in asbestos removal as part of the renovation of a property. He came into contact with a high powered electrical line and was killed. The lawsuit claimed that the defendants should not have let anyone into the area where there was an active power line and failed to post diagrams of the power lines for workers to see.
Have You or a Loved one Been Electrocuted in Chicago? Get A Free Consultation after Electrocution Accidents Now
A Chicago electrocution injury lawyer or personal injury attorney generally may help you and your family get the compensation that you deserve from an electrocution injury.
Connect with the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to set up your no-risk free consultation today and find out how we can help you for your electric shock damage, medical bills, and elevated voltage harm.
Contact us at our Chicago office and talk to our personal injury attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
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Our injury attorneys currently represent clients in an attorney client relationship throughout Illinois, and the Chicago area including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Naperville, and Schaumburg.
Our law firm handles construction accidents, workers' compensation benefits, and medical malpractice cases involving burn injuries, disfigurement, nerve damage, and severe burns. Our practice areas relate to construction workers and other skilled laborers.