Dangers of Electrical Burn Injuries at Work

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Electrical burns are one of the most serious injuries that an employee can suffer on the job.

They may be left with lasting injuries that can keep them from working for an extended period or even permanently. When that happens, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim or potentially a lawsuit against a third party. Reach out to the experienced Jacksonville workers’ compensation lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to learn more about your legal rights and the claims process.

What Are Electrical Burns?

The human body is a conductor of electricity, as it is primarily made up of water and ions. This means that electricity can pass through the body, which can cause serious injuries. The skin may be left with severe and long-lasting burns.

Electrical burns can range from superficial to severe. One can suffer a burn that affects all layers of the skin and can even damage muscles and internal organs.

Short-Term Risks of Serious Burn Injuries

Electrical burns have the same short-term risks as any other type of burn injury. In the immediate short-term, one can even go into cardiac arrest from a severe burn. One can also suffer from rhabdomyolysis, which is when substances from inside damaged muscle cells can leak into the blood.

In the days after the burn injury, one is at risk of a serious infection. Burn wound infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses.

Long-Term Effects of Electrical Burn Injuries

When a burn penetrates through the top layer of your skin, you may be at risk of suffering permanent long-term injuries. You may be left with scarring and disfigurement that may require numerous skin grafts to repair. However, scarring from burns is often permanent and can usually never be fully repaired. The changes to your appearance could result in depression and anxiety.

Burns can also injure the muscles, tendons, and nerves. The most serious burns can reach through the skin and destroy muscle and tissue, damage that may be irreversible and can lead to permanent loss of the use of a limb. Doctors may have to amputate the limb if there is a serious risk of infection and little hope of recovery.

Common Causes of Electrical Burns in the Workplace

There are many ways workers can suffer electrical injuries on the job, including:

  • Coming into contact with overhead power lines, especially when using ladders or lifts
  • Contacting buried utilities when workers are unaware of their location
  • Being present when electricity touches water
  • Being burned when there is a faulty motor or wiring in electrical equipment
  • Coming into contact with exposed wires on the ground that are carrying electricity
  • Being present around overloaded circuits

All it takes is a brief moment of electricity passing through your body to cause severe burns.

Preventing Electrical Burns at Work

Preventing burns in the workplace falls largely on the employer and the safety measures that they take to protect their employees. Employers must follow an entire set of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards relating to electricity. They can face serious penalties if they are found to have violated OSHA rules, including fines and potentially being shut down.

Measures for preventing electrical burns at work include:

  • Only assigning certain work tasks to employees who are qualified and trained to be around electrical currents
  • Ensuring that all employees receive adequate training in electrical safety
  • Frequently inspecting and maintaining work equipment that relies on electricity
  • Providing workers with insulated tools and personal protective equipment when working with live electricity
  • Not overloading circuit boards and outlets
  • De-energizing circuits before performing work on anything electrical

Compensation for Electrical Burns at Work

The most likely route to financial compensation for your injury is the workers’ compensation process. You are not allowed to sue your employer in a personal injury case under nearly every circumstance. Additionally, if you were at fault for the accident, you can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Your attorney will review your case to help determine whether there is a third party who you may sue for your injuries. You do not have a legal relationship with a third party that would prevent you from filing a lawsuit. Potentially responsible third parties may include:

  • Utility companies: The utility company may be liable for unmarked and buried cables or damaged power lines.
  • Third-party contractors: Although you are not able to sue your employer, you may be able to sue a third-party contractor who was present at the site and caused your injury.
  • The property owner: If the property was not owned by your employer and there were dangerous conditions on the property that caused your burns, you can sue the owner.
  • Product manufacturers: Your electrical burns may have been caused by a defective piece of work machinery, and you can hold the manufacturer responsible in a product liability lawsuit.

It is in your interest to find a third party to sue, as it could result in more compensation, but it is not always possible. If you are filing a workers’ compensation claim, you want to maximize the amount of compensation that you would receive in a settlement agreement. An experienced attorney is here to stand up for your legal rights when you are dealing with an insurance company that may not want to pay you fully.

Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have been hurt on the job, you should consider getting legal help for the workers’ compensation claims process. It always helps to know your legal rights and have someone experienced to guide you through the system, especially when you have been seriously injured.

Various issues can arise with workers’ compensation claims that require the help of a knowledgeable attorney. You can schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys by calling us today at [phone[ or sending us a message through our firm’s website.

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