Recovering Damages Following Catastrophic Burns
Electrical shocks can be extremely dangerous, causing nerve damage, soft tissue damage, internal organ damage and, in almost every occasion, catastrophic burns. Because of the amount of energy involved in an electrical injury, victims often suffer third-degree burns and even fourth-degree burns, which can extend down to the nerves and bones. Whether your injury was caused by a live wire, arc flare or defective product, you are likely dealing with costly medical bills, extensive time off work and a great deal of physical pain.
If you suffered an electrical burn because of a negligent individual’s actions, then you deserve full and proper compensation for your losses in the form of a personal injury claim. But to get the most out of your claim, you will need the aid of one of our skilled Seattle burn injury attorneys at Pendergast Law. For nearly 30 years our firm has been providing knowledgeable representation to our community, and we can prepare a strong case for compensation and advocate on your behalf in settlement negotiations or in a jury trial. Call us toll-free at 888-539-9211 to learn how we can help you.
What Are Electrical Burns?
While serious burns are often the result of fires or chemicals, electrical burns are due to a victim directly coming into contact with an electrical current. When the electrical energy passes through the body, it can severely burn the point of contact – often, a hand or foot – as well as the inside of the body as the electricity moves throughout it. Because of this, these burns often go well past third-degree burns and lead to catastrophic internal trauma in addition to the damage to the skin, which often results in scarring.
Electrical burns can be classified as either low or high voltage, depending on the amount of voltage distributed by the electrical source and how long the victim was in contact with the source. Low-voltage burns may only involve 500 or fewer volts, but they can still be extremely damaging, especially if the victim has any underlying health conditions, and they can be the results of defective household appliances. In contrast, high-voltage burns can be caused by high-powered electrical equipment, including defective generators, industrial power tools and power lines. Both types of electrical burns require immediate medical treatment to determine the extent of the internal trauma and prevent costly scars.
Types Of Electrical Injuries
As a whole, electrical injuries are broken up into four categories, each of which may include burns:
- Flash: Flash injuries refer to arc flashes, which may occur when a generator suffers a discharge or power lines crash against the ground, causing sparks to fly off of the cables. While the electricity does not directly flow through the victim’s body, the arc flash can cause low-voltage burns, ranging from first- to third-degree burns.
- Flame: Small fires can occur as a result of electricity coming into contact with nearby fabric and clothing, burning the individual wearing it. This can occur in arc flashes as well as direct contact with electricity.
- Lightning: Although it is less common for Seattle residents, lightning bolts can cause short but high-voltage bursts of electricity to pass through the body, causing minor burns. While in most situations a victim cannot file a claim for being struck by lightning, as you cannot pursue damages from the weather, if a negligent property owner increased your risk of suffering a lightning strike, then you may have a premises liability claim.
- True: Also referred to as direct contact burns, true electrical injuries occur when a victim comes into direct contact with the electrical source, such as exposed or faulty wires.
All these instances can result in catastrophic burns that require extensive treatment, both for the physical effects of the burns and the emotional trauma.
Treatment For Electrical Burns
The damage caused by your electrical burns must be evaluated by a medical professional, who will often determine a treatment plan based on both the internal trauma you have suffered from the electricity and the severity of the burn. Burns are often categorized based on how deeply they penetrated into the body, but because electrical burns tend to go deeper into the body, treatment plans must adapt to accommodate for internal and external trauma.
After suffering an electrical burn, your doctor may have to clean the wound to prevent infections, apply stitches and bandage the area. Antibiotics may be required to avoid future infections, and you will likely require medication to manage the pain. It is not uncommon for electrical burns to lead to severe scarring and disfigurement, which may require skin grafting and plastic surgery to fully heal. This can be especially distressing if the burns are along your arms, legs, face or neck, as you will have a constant visible reminder of your injury.
However, this is only the external damage of an electrical burn. If you suffered nerve damage, your doctors may schedule surgery to reattach or repair the damage. However, it is a very real possibility that you can suffer paralysis if the nerve was catastrophically burned. In addition, damage to your soft tissues and muscles could lead to long-term disabilities, such as limps and chronic pain. Bottom line: Electrical burns can lead to a lifetime of medical treatments and, as a result, costly bills.
Filing A Claim For Damages
After suffering an electrical burn, you are likely dealing with a large amount of pain, countless medical appointments, therapy to deal with any lasting damage and significant financial costs. In most cases, victims choose to grin and bear it, utilizing their health insurance and paying out of pocket to deal with recovery. However, if your injuries were the result of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation.
The type of claim you can file will vary depending on how you suffered the injury. For example, an electrical burn suffered at a construction site will lead to a workers’ compensation claim against an employer, but if the injury was the fault of a defective power tool, you may also be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
In contrast, faulty wiring in your household may lead to a personal injury against the company that constructed the house or the contractor who installed the wiring. However, if the burns were the result of a faulty appliance, then your claim may instead be against the company that manufactured it.
Individuals who have suffered electrical burns may be able to pursue compensation in the following scenarios:
- Product liability claims involving defective products or improperly marketing appliances
- Premises liability claims involving negligent property owners and landlords who failed to fix a faulty wire or socket
- Electrical fires caused by defective appliances, faulty wiring and a lack of smoke alarms
- Personal injury claims against careless or negligent electricians
However your injuries were caused, if you suffered an electrical burn due to someone else’s reckless or negligent actions, then you deserve proper compensation. But, to ensure your claim is not denied, you will need the aid of a skilled personal injury attorney.
Why You Need An Attorney
Electrical burns, like other injuries, are often covered under liability insurance policies. This means that, for you to recover compensation, you will have to file against the at-fault party’s insurance company. While, in a perfect world, we would expect insurance companies to provide coverage for our injuries, many are not that charitable. The insurance company may attempt to minimize your injuries, devalue your losses and reject your claim to protect their bottom line.
However, if you allow a skilled Seattle personal injury lawyer to handle your case, you will have a higher chance of receiving full and proper compensation for your injuries. Members of our team at Pendergast Law are part of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum as a result of their dedication to fighting for injured clients and ensuring that they receive fair representation in the claims process. If you have suffered an electrical burn due to someone else’s negligent actions, then contact us toll-free at 888-539-9211 to learn how we can advocate for your rights to compensation.