About four percent of all burn cases in the nation are electrical burns, according to the American Burn Association. Many cases involve occupational mishaps or very young children who bite electrical cords. Victims of electrical burns often have other associated injuries that occur as the electrical current passes through the body. The extent of the damage depends on the voltage of the current and how long the victim was exposed to it.
What are some of the causes of electrical burns?
Anytime someone comes into contact with an exposed wire, they are in great danger of an electrical shock. Curious children under the age of two are risk for electrical burns, both from biting cords and from sticking metal objects into sockets or appliances.
Other causes of electrical burns include:
- Appliances accidentally dropped into water.
- Coming into contact with power lines.
- Appliances, tools, or machinery that shorts out unexpectedly or that have exposed wires.
- Power supplies that are not shut off before someone attempts to repair or install something.
- Working with electricity, particularly in a damp, wet environment.
- Electric arcs where current jumps from one conductor to another.
- Improperly installed lighting or equipment
What are some of the symptoms and effects of electrical burns?
The symptoms and effects of an electrical burn vary according to the voltage of the current, where the entry point of the electricity was (mouth, hand, etc.), and whether the source was an electrical arc or a current.
If you sustained an electrical burn, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Lesions, muscle contractions, and extensive tissue or organ damage
- Visible second-, third-, and fourth-degree burns as the electricity is converted into thermal energy
- Grayish-white and depressed oral wounds
- Intense swelling
- Numbness or tingling
- Low-blood pressure and weakness
- Shock and feelings of disorientation
- Heart arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, seizures
If the tissue damage is extensive enough, amputation of the affected body part may be necessary.
How are electrical burns treated?
In an emergency situation, try to cut off the power source and call 9-1-1 immediately. The way the doctors will treat an electrical burn depends on the severity of the damage. Surgery may be necessary to repair damage, and the doctors may need to observe the patient for a while to see if any other symptoms start to manifest.
What else should I know about electrical burn injuries?
Complications are not uncommon with electrical burns, such as organ damage, scarring, and long-term neurological issues. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and quickly address any symptoms you notice.
Also, you should consider looking deeper into how your burn occurred. Clumsy or inexperienced homeowners who try to do electrical work around the house might suffer electrical injuries, for example. But in many other cases, electrical burns are the result of something that is out of the victim’s control. This might include a contractor who leaves an exposed wire. Other cases might involve a product that contains faulty wiring.
If the incident that caused the electrical burn was the result of a malfunction or someone’s negligence, you might qualify for compensation for your medical bills, disability, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.
If you have questions about your legal options, we can help you find a lawyer to answer them. Call our lawyer referral specialists today: 844-549-8774.