Here are five of the most serious effects of electric shocks.
High levels of electricity when introduced to the body can kill immediately. Even low levels of current can affect the beating of the human heart which is caused by an internal electrical impulse. That’s why hundreds of people have been killed by Tasers used by law enforcement officers, even though the voltage used is relatively low. When alternating currents (AC currents) are introduced, it can cause the heart to beat in an unnatural manner. While any level of current over 10 milliamps (0.01 amp) is capable of producing painful to severe shock, currents between 100 and 200 mA (0.1 to 0.2 amp) are deadly.
Electrical injuries can cause burns. Voltage levels of 500 to 1000 volts will typically cause internal burns due to the large amount of energy that goes into the body. Damage due to current is caused through tissue heating. On occasions, an electrical injury can cause damage to internal tissues, often in an arm or a leg. The damage may be worse than one would expect from the burn on the skin. The Mayo Clinic provides advice on how to treat electrical burns.
3 Heart injury
In cases in which electric current has a direct pathway to the heart, a lower current can cause fibrillation. If it’s not immediately treated by defibrillation, fibrillation is usually lethal. All of the cells of the heart muscle move independently instead of in the coordinated pulses that are required to pump blood and maintain the heart’s circulation. Above 200 mA, muscle contractions become so strong that the heart muscles fail to move at all.
4 Neurological Effects
Electric current can cause interference with the body’s nervous control, especially over the lungs and the heart. In some cases, a severe electric shock that does not cause electrocution, has been shown to cause neuropathy. Victims of electrical shock can suffer memory loss and other neurological problems.
As well as causing severe burns, the arc blast produced by vaporizing metallic components during an electrical shock can shatter bones and damage internal organs. Wearing protective clothing can help shield the victim from arc-flash.
Electrical shock injuries can often be the fault of another person. It may be an employer who has failed to provide adequate safeguards or the owner or the manager of a building who has left exposed wiring or other dangerous devices out. On occasions defective power lines have been downed, causing injuries or death and lawsuits against power companies.
If you or a loved one has suffered an electrical shock injury, call us for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.
John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.
Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.
Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.
Cooper Hurley awards three $2,000 college scholarships annually to high school seniors in the Tidewater and Eastern Shore areas of Virginia. Eligible students can submit an essay of 500 to 1,000 words on the subject of Distracted Driving. We established this program to aid worthy scholars and to raise awareness of the tragic consequences of distracted driving, which we encounter too often in our practice.