Electrical Accidents on Construction Sites

electrical accidents

Construction worksites can be dangerous environments, hosting multiple work crews, heavy equipment, cumbersome materials, and many other potential hazards. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that about one in five fatalities across all U.S. industries were workers in construction, with electric shock accounting for one of the “Fatal Four” accidents (along with falls, being struck by an object, and being caught between objects).

Accidents involving electric shock are some of the most disturbing because of the extensive injuries and life-long complications for victims. At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., we have seen firsthand how lives are forever changed by electrical injuries. Fortunately, injured workers do have rights under Pennsylvania law.

Our experienced electrical injury attorneys will fight for the compensation you deserve for your losses, so you and your family can focus on the recovery process. Please contact our office to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team. Our personal injury lawyers can explain all of your potential legal options.

How Can a Philadelphia Electrical Injury Attorney Help Me?

A claim related to an electrical accident can be complex, with countless subtleties and pitfalls that affect your rights. At a time when you’re recovering from devastating electrical injuries, you need a knowledgeable lawyer to take the pressure off you by managing your claim(s) for compensation. A skilled electrical injury lawyer can help by:

  • Investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine exactly what happened
  • Identifying all potential sources of compensation, including workers’ comp benefits and personal injury claims
  • Gathering evidence to support your claim, including interviewing witnesses
  • Filing essential documents with your employer, the insurance company, and other potentially liable parties
  • Engaging in negotiations to resolve your claim and demand fair compensation for your losses
  • Arguing your case in court if the opposing parties are unwilling to settle for a fair amount

If you are ready to speak with an attorney about the details of your case, please contact our law firm now. The consultation is free, and there is no fee unless we win your case.

Is Electric Shock Injury a Catastrophic Personal Injury?

There’s no legal definition for what constitutes a catastrophic personal injury from an electrical shock. However, a severe electrical accident could have catastrophic consequences.

From a physical injury standpoint, you could suffer total permanent disability – which would most definitely be catastrophic. Your injuries could include loss of major bodily systems, severe burns, amputation, or loss of organ function.

Many cognitive injuries are also categorized as catastrophic because a victim may lose significant independence and rely on others for care.

Catastrophic injuries typically leave a victim with astronomical medical costs for ongoing treatment.

Can I Recover Compensation for Electrical Injuries?

Yes, you may be able to seek payment as the victim of an electrical injury on a construction site. This may come through a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim. The types of compensation that may be available to you, depending on your claim, include:

  • Medical Bills: Severe electrical injuries may require significant medical care, including emergency treatment, surgery, physical therapy, pain medications, and more. Surgery is a critical issue in terms of your losses, since you may require multiple procedures spanning several months or years.
  • Lost Wages: Your injuries may prevent you from working in the immediate aftermath of the electrical accident, but the implications can extend into the future. OSHA data reveal that almost 25 percent of electrical injury victims require more than 31 days off work. In some cases, you may be able to work eventually, but with limitations that reduce your income.
  • Pain, Suffering, and Non-Economic Losses: While you may not be able to place a dollar value on how awful you feel, Pennsylvania law still allows you to seek compensation for your subjective losses in a personal injury claim. You no doubt experience pain, suffering, emotional anguish, scarring, disfigurement, and many other hardships.
  • Wrongful Death Compensation: If you lost a family member in an electrical accident, you may qualify to recover monetary damages through a wrongful death claim. It’s possible to seek reimbursement for funeral and burial expenses, as well as costs to treat your loved one’s injuries prior to death. You can also pursue compensation for how the person’s death leaves a void in terms of love, support, education, guidance, and financial contribution.

What Can Cause Electrical Accidents?

There are a multitude of conditions present at a construction workplace that can contribute to electrical accidents. The environment itself comes with inherent dangers, as people are working with various electrical utilities, power tools, and machinery.

OSHA reports indicate that many electrical injuries are the result of unsafe work practices, lack of training, and issues with equipment – all factors that are preventable. Negligence is far too common in construction, renovation, and demolition, and it’s usually the workers on the front line who are most at risk of fatal or injury-causing electrical accidents. Some common causes include:

  • Defective wiring
  • Faulty installation of electrical components
  • Malfunctioning electrical tools or equipment
  • Electrical outlets placed in unsafe areas, such as wet or humid spaces
  • Ungrounded or exposed wiring
  • Failures of high-voltage switches
  • Improper contact with electrical outlets
  • Construction cranes striking, knocking down, or making other contact with high-voltage lines
  • Excavation equipment digging up, pulling, or making other contact with underground electrical lines

Compliance with OSHA safety regulations is the best policy to prevent electrocution, shock, and other electrical injuries. The agency has enacted thousands of measures and is aggressive in conducting inspections to ensure compliance. OSHA also mandates certain types of protective gear for employees who may be exposed to electrical malfunctions, such as insulated gloves, face and eye protection, sleeves, hoods, and rubber matting.

Still, OSHA does issue countless of citations for violations of safety standards. Employers may be penalized for improper insulation, maintenance of tools, and the failure to issue proper safety equipment.

What Injuries May Result from Electrical Accidents on Construction Sites?

The exact nature and severity of electrical injuries will vary depending on the source. For a minor zap, it’s possible you won’t even notice any physical manifestations. Although you may need to visit an urgent care center or your own physician, your prognosis may be positive. However, bodily harm from a strong electrocution or shock can be serious, life-threatening, or even fatal. Categorizing these injuries is complicated, but there are some features that allow for classification.

  • Electrical Contact Injuries: This form of bodily harm is typically a burn falling into degrees developed by the medical community. A first-degree burn is akin to a sunburn, so it may come with some discomfort. Second-degree burns penetrate the outer layers of skin and may extend into the epidermis. A third-degree burn can lead to horrific nerve damage. Victims of the more serious burn degrees will likely require skin graft surgery and possibly cosmetic or corrective surgery.
  • Secondary Electrocution Injuries: When the power of an electrical accident is extreme, it can blast a victim several feet – which can be catastrophic when he or she is elevated on a ladder, scaffolding, or other height. Broken bones, traumatic brain injury, concussion, spinal cord injuries, cuts, and abrasions are common.
  • Internal Electrical Injuries: A jolt may pass through an individual who is exposed to electrical current, meaning damage to internal organs may not be obvious. Victims may suffer heart attacks and other internal damage.

It is possible that there could be many other health complications from an electric shock injury. The only way to know for sure is to seek medical attention immediately, even for minor injuries. A healthcare provider will monitor your heart to assess any abnormal issues and conduct tests to determine whether you have suffered any other serious trauma.

You should always seek the advice of a trusted attorney after an accident on the jobsite. To discuss the specific details of your electrical injury case, please contact Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. You can schedule a free case assessment by calling our firm at 1-866-569-3400.

Our Philadelphia electrical injury attorneys can review your situation right away and get started on a strategy for demanding the full compensation you need to recover. Our law firm does not charge any fees upfront or out of pocket to begin work on your claim, and you only pay us if we win money for you.