Suffering an electrical injury may be traumatizing and overwhelming. Along with the physical trauma, the ensuing medical bills and inability to work may leave a person feeling hopeless and unsure of how to proceed.
However, you have legal rights after suffering an electrical injury. By working with a Michigan electrical injury lawyer, you could understand your options and have a legal ally help to guide you through the ensuing claims process.
Electrical injuries are actually a spectrum of injuries—ranging from mild electrical shock caused by a low-voltage household current to a devastating injury from a high-tension electrical wire. No matter the circumstances, an injury attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could help.
What are the Most Common Causes of Injuries?
Electrocution injuries can occur anywhere there are electrical outlets or power lines. The most common causes of these accidents are:
- Downed utility company power lines touching fences or on the ground in neighborhood areas
- Direct contact by a worker with an energized power line
- Direct contact by a boomed vehicle with an energized power line
- Electrical equipment that is improperly installed or maintained
- Electrical equipment that is not secured or fenced in from the public
- Faulty wiring by a contractor or repair person
- Defective machinery
- Lightning strikes
- Improper equipment or the lack of proper safety protection
Who are the Most Common Victims of Electrical Injury Accidents?
Anyone can be the victim of electrocution in their own home, in their yard, or in their workplace. Common victims of these accidents include:
- Utility workers
- Construction workers
- Tree trimmers
- Transportation workers
Many electrocution injuries occur when an innocent person comes into to contact with a downed power line or electrical wire in their neighborhood, or even in their own backyard. A person may even step in a puddle of water in the vicinity of a live electrical wire without even coming into direct contact with the wire. Other times, an unsuspecting victim may touch a fence where a downed electrical wire is resting on top of a fence, even a good distance away from the victim.
Furthermore, workers are often the victims of electrical injuries and shocks. Many workers, especially in construction and utility jobs, work near live wires and electrical sources. For example, tree trimmers, sign works, utility workers, and telecommunication employees work near these dangers on a daily basis. Serious injuries occur then their is direct contact with an electrical source or when a piece of equipment, like a crane or even a tool, directly touches a power wire or electrical wire. It only takes an instant for a large amount of electricity to cause serious injury or death. A Michigan lawyer who is familiar with electrocution injury claims could help to determine if another party or company is to blame for an individual’s injuries.
What Types of Injuries are Caused by Electrocution?
Electrical injuries are very serious and can lead to permanent injury and death. The treatment for these injuries is often extensive and requires lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation. Common injuries include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Nerve damage, including numbness and tingling
- Breathing problems and lung failure
- Problems with hearing and swallowing
- Problems with vision, including blindness
- Damage to internal organs, like the hear, kidneys, and liver
- Permanent brain damage and cognitive impairments
Many times, the harm caused is permanent and irreversible even with prompt treatment and the best possible medical care. Therefore, the costs associated with treating these injuries is often significant.
Understanding Power Company Liability
Because of the high risk of serious injury or death from escaping electricity, a power company or person maintaining electrical wires must use increased care proportionate to the danger. These electrical companies have a higher standard of legal care because of the known danger of electricity.
Important factors include the amount of current. For example, a low-voltage household has 120-440 V, a high voltage one has 440-1000 V, while high-tension voltage is anything greater than 1000 V. Furthermore, the type of current—alternating current or direct current—the path of the current, the length of contact, and the events associated with the injury are all considered. Power companies are heavily regulated by local, state and federal governments. Regulations include:
- The necessity of establishing sufficient clearance of an electrical line above the road
- Sufficient clearance of an electric line above the ground
- Maintenance of insulation material
- Specified markings on poles carrying high voltage lines
- Duties to raise a line once the power company knows or should have known that it was too low
Therefore, when these regulations are disregarded and an injury occurs, the power companies might be held liable. A tenacious Michigan electrocution injury lawyer could help an injured individual to understand how these legal nuances might impact their claim.
Seeking Recovery for an Electrical Injuries
In order to recover, a person must prove that the power company was negligent. Essentially, recovery for personal injuries or death to a family member can be obtained if it is established that the utility company violated the expected standard of care in its electrical operations. Examples of negligence include electrical lines that were either installed or maintained without proper insulation, electrical lines without enough clearance from the ground, buildings or combustibles, or lines that were improperly guarded.
Further, a claimant may be able to establish liability against the power company. This may happen if they can demonstrate that the power company failed to perform thorough inspections of its lines and failed to keep them safe from natural deterioration, foreseeable uses of the underlying or adjacent property, and changed conditions that made the power lines hazardous.
The same rules that apply to children apply to adults—however, a power company will have to use extra care if it knows children play in the area of its lines. Proving negligence is often difficult for underprepared claimants in Michigan, however, due to the nuances of the legal system. Therefore, the aid of a seasoned electrical injury lawyer may prove to be essential.
Call a Michigan Electrical Injury Attorney for Help
No matter the circumstances of an electrical injury, the resulting damages may include severe burns, electrocution, and even death. If you or a loved one was injured in any of these types of incidents, a Michigan electrical injury lawyer could help you pursue compensation against an at-fault company.
However, due to important deadlines on filing a claim, the sooner you reach out to a knowledgeable attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. the better chance you have of filing a successful claim. To start building a claim today, call a legal professional.
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