Electrical Accidents on Construction Sites
Philadelphia Lawyers Explain Electrical Risks in Construction
On construction sites, electrical accidents can occur, although safety regulations and procedures exist to protect workers from electrocution and other injuries. Buildings under construction may have exposed wires or electrical work that is at different stages of completion. Neglected electrical lines and currents may come into contact with ladders, scaffolding and other structures. Unfortunately, injuries from electrical accidents are often catastrophic, and are sometimes fatal. When workers suffer these types of injuries in a construction site accident, the victims and their families may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages from multiple parties.
At the law firm of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., our construction accident lawyers have experience handling electrical accidents and related construction claims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In preparing these cases, we consider the full impact of your injuries or loved one’s wrongful death. This includes both past and future medical bills, wage loss, home renovations, rehabilitation costs and other applicable expenses. In one past case, our legal team represented an electrical lineman who suffered multiple catastrophic injuries due to electrocution, including the amputation of both arms. In this highly complex and technical case, our attorneys obtained a settlement of $5.015 million.
What Injuries May Result from Electrical Accidents on Construction Sites?
Electricity can cause many severe and potentially fatal injuries when it comes into contact with an unprotected worker. Due to its unique properties, it can cause catastrophic injuries such as:
- Thermal burn injuries. If a worker touches a live wire or other source of electricity, then he or she may suffer burn injuries from the heat at the point of contact. This is typically the hands or fingers, but they can be anywhere. Depending on the duration of contact, burns may cause blistering, deep tissue damage and possibly irreversible charring of the skin, muscles, nerves and/or bones. Even with prompt treatment, victims may suffer disfiguring and debilitating scars.
- Electrical burn injuries. Since electricity can move throughout the body, extensive burns across the skin and through the internal organs are common results of electrocution. A worker can sustain electrical burns from contact with live electricity, or from electrical arcing from exposed sources.
- Cardiac arrest. If electricity travels through the heart, then a worker may experience heart failure or other serious cardiac issues. This requires immediate medical treatment to prevent death.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Workers can sustain brain injuries from falls following electrocution or from oxygen deprivation due to heart failure.
- Amputation. Extensive electrical burns to the limbs can cause so much damage that an amputation may be necessary.
- Wrongful death. Electrocution accidents are frequently fatal, either as a direct result of electric shock or due to catastrophic injuries.
Any of these injuries can require extensive medical treatment, including skin grafts, multiple surgical procedures and lengthy rehabilitation. Injured workers also face expenses related to wage loss, often for months or years, as well as accessibility modifications to his or her home. However, you may be able to recover these costs through workers compensation and third party claims.
What are the Most Common Causes of Electrocution and Related Injuries?
Electricity is extremely dangerous when not properly contained, which is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains strict safety guidelines for electrical companies and contractors. It is when companies neglect these regulations that a serious construction site accident may occur. Some of the most common causes of electrocutions in construction are:
- Lack of safety gear. Electricians and others working around electricity must have specialized equipment to protect them from serious injuries. This typically includes rubber gloves, sleeves and boots as well as more traditional gear, like safety harnesses and goggles.
- Faulty equipment. On construction sites, electricians may have to work directly with electricity, require specific tools. For example, a “hot stick” is a fiberglass tool for moving live wires. If this equipment is damaged or defective, then electrocution may result.
- Lack of proper grounding. Electrical wires must be grounded to direct and disperse electricity safely. Poor grounding due to lack of employee training or rushed work can cause electrical injuries to any worker who comes into contact with the wire.
- Lack of proper insulation. The metal filaments of wires must be insulated by a nonconductive material to prevent accidental electrocution. However, construction site negligence can result in damaged, missing or defective insulation.
- Poorly marked hazard zones. OSHA regulations require that companies working with electricity to clearly mark areas where there is a risk of electrocution. This allows other workers on the site to exercise due caution when in those areas.
- Lack of lockout/tagout procedures. Properly used, lockout/tagout procedures allow workers to isolate electrical sources to prevent accidental activation. However, these procedures are often neglected or misused.
- Accidents involving overhead power lines. If a crane accident or other circumstance compromises overhead powerlines, then the dangling live wires may cause serious and potentially fatal injuries to workers below.
More Questions? Contact Our Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers Today
If electricity harmed you or a loved one in a construction site accident, our attorneys are here to help. Even if you have already received workers compensation, you may be entitled to additional recovery through a third party claim. Construction sites are busy, so multiple companies often share liability for a single accident. In fully investigating an electrical accident to build a strong case for a client, we will consult with electrical contractors, safety engineers and other experts who can help us determine liability and document the impact of electrical-related injuries to our clients.
Our firm also handles wrongful death claims for families who have lost loved ones in electrocution accidents. While legal action cannot completely repair the damage caused by a construction site accident, it can replace lost income, loss of services and companionship, and loss of the enjoyment of life.
Contact us online today to speak with a knowledgeable construction accident lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Cherry Hill, New Jersey. We always offer free initial consultations and contingency fee agreements, so you pay us nothing unless we get results for you.