Electrical Injuries

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Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Electrical Injuries

Brien Roche

Electrical injuries resulting from the use and/or contact with electrical products are a widespread problem. The precise nature of the product defect may come in a number of forms.

Types of Products That May Produce Electrical Injuries

Some products or defects are more likely to lead to electrical injuries than others:

  • Electrical products designed to be used around water. Water and electric current are widely known to not mix well. Products that are designed for use with or around water must have safety features that reduce the risk of harm. The product may be a power washer to be used on a deck, an exterior house cleaner or a sump pump. Their design must account for the fact they are being used around water. Also they must be made in such a fashion as to reduce the risk of harm.
  • Grounding problems.  Electric current will always either seek ground or will follow the most conductive path back to its source.  What grounding does is to protect against electric shock by having a means for the  current to move from the product to the earth and not through the human body.  The product may be a tool, a vending machine or other device.  If it is not grounded, then it becomes a hazard.
  • Circuit defects as seen in a circuit control panel. This may also be seen in electric blankets that do not have a fail safe circuit.
  • Insulation defects.  Every electric product needs to be insulated so that the outside part of the product cannot become charged. If the outside part of the product is made of a conductive metal that may be a warning of danger.

Death or Injury

Many people assume that electrical injuries result in instant death. The fact is that the human skull is a poor conductor of current and therefore only a small fraction it passes into the brain. Most of the current passes through the body causing painful muscle contractions. In addition it causes burning and swelling of organs. It may require expert medical testimony to show the scope of this pain and suffering of the deceased or injured person. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Electrical Injury and Wrongful Death In Pennsylvania

In June of 2009 Carrie Goretzka was killed when a power line fell on her.  That power line had set trees on fire in her back yard and then fell on her as she went outside to get her cell phone to call 911.

The Plaintiffs alleged that the power company in that area, known as West Penn Power Company, could have cleaned the power line with a wire brush before splicing. This would have removed oxides from the wire. These corrode wire allowing heat to build up and eventually melt and fray the line.

In addition it was alleged by the Plaintiff that the company should have done an infrared inspection of its power lines to ensure they were not getting too hot.

In addition the plaintiff alleged that the fusing system within this line had been installed the wrong way. Therefore the pole was not properly grounded so the line did not lose power when it broke.

All of those were reported to be fairly simple fixes. Many of these fixes were admitted to by company employees.

As reported in the April 2013 edition to Trial Magazine, the jury in Western Pa. awarded $109 million to the family.

Power Line Causing Electrical Injuries

Power line injuries continue to be a source of electrical injuries in many locales. The victim does not see the overhead line with no insulation. This may be a result of that person’s lack of sharp vision. Problems with depth perception, fatigue or forgetfulness can lead to this. Other factors that can affect visibility are glare, sunlight, clouds, and rain. This is why many overhead lines are marked with highly visible orange balls.

Photos can provide great evidence of the trouble the victim has in seeing the danger.

Human factors testimony may be needed to prove the frequency of these types of injuries and the fact they can be reasonably foreseen.

Many of these injuries involve construction projects. The utility company is aware of where these people are working. Notice is given by the employer.

Fault of the power company can be premised on the notice from contractors working near to low hanging lines. Lack of adequate safety programs may also assist in proving fault. Simple warning systems such as orange balls or tell-tales dangling from the lines can be applied to overhead lines. These serve to warn people that are working nearby.

Certain standards are also established through the National Electric Code and also the National Electrical Safety Code. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Electrical Injuries From Blankets

Electric blanket fires and electric mattress pad fires are most often the result of a product defect. These types of product defect claims require prompt investigation. This should include recovery of the device and expert review of it.

These types of warming devices have a heating element in them which conducts less current as the material becomes warmer.  The “less current” it conducts the less heat it produces.  Under this theory the heating wire is “self-limiting”. That is the wire should not overheat to the point of causing  a fire.  However that theory does not always conform with the facts.

The primary maker of heating blankets is Sunbeam

There is a wealth of info available in regards to Sunbeam claims. In the past they have admitted that a fail-safe circuit is needed in its electric blankets.

With over 30 million owners of electric blankets and thousands of fires occurring per year these products are a danger and must be treated as fire traps for the user’s own safety.

Electric Blanket Safety

There are things that can be done to minimize the chance of injury or death from an electric blanket. However there are many cases where a faulty or unsafe product is the cause.

The City of Fairfax has material available dealing with the safe operation and care of electric blankets. Some of their recommended courses of action include:

    • Only use blankets approved by recognized testing agencies (like Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.).
    • Always buy new blankets. Second-hand blankets may not be safe.
    • Replace all blankets that are more than 10 years old. Most fires caused by electric blankets are caused by those older than 10 years.
    • Replace any blanket that is worn or torn. In addition replace them if the cord is frayed or the temperature control is damaged.
    • Turn your blanket off when not in use. Many older models have no internal temperature control to shut the blanket off when it gets too hot. If your blanket has no such control, consider replacing it with a newer model.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Should You File A Product Liability Claim?

There are many factors to think about when looking at filing a claim of product liability against the manufacturer. Brien Roche can provide guidance and resources for the thorough analysis of the product.

Contact a Product Liability Attorney

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured as a result of electrical injuries contact Brien Roche, an experienced product defect lawyer serving Fairfax, Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland.

Also see electricity for a review of Virginia case law.

In addition for more information on product liability see the pages on Wikipedia.

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Electrical Injuries

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation