Children are injured by electric shocks and burns all the time. According to reports by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), over 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents occur each year. They report that almost seven children are treated in emergency rooms every day for electrical shock or burns caused by tampering with an electrical outlet. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) adds that 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home, when adult supervision is present. Electric injuries are serious, and if your child is injured, contact the Mobile & Montgomery personal injury attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt immediately.
When people come in direct contact with a source of electricity, an electric current passes through body, producing what’s called an electric shock. Depending on the current’s voltage and the length of contact with it, this shock can cause anything from minor discomfort to serious injury to death. You may be entitled to damages if your child suffers an electric shock injury. Experienced attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt may be able to help get the money you and your family deserve.
What Causes Your Child’s Electric Shock Injuries?
The dangers of electrical accidents lurk everywhere, in nearly every home in Alabama. Malfunctioning appliances, faulty wiring and installation and accidental contact are common causes of electric shock injuries. Toddlers experience electric shock most often when they bite into electrical cords. They also may receive shocks when they poke metal objects such as forks or knives into unprotected outlets or appliances. These injuries can also take place when kids use electric toys, appliances, or tools incorrectly. For example, an electric current may make contact with water in which a child is sitting or standing. Christmas trees and their lights present a seasonal hazard that pose a risk of electrical injury.
You might not know that power companies, construction companies, and building owners must abide by industry standard warnings and protections against accidental electrocutions. Standards apply to all household products that utilize an electrical power source. Manufacturers must provide proper insulation and ground fault protection for its products.
Injuries can vary from minor burns and scrapes to brain damage and death. The extent of your child’s injury will depend on several factors:
- the amount of voltage contacted
- the duration of contact
- what kind of circuit
- what kind of current
- the pathway the current takes through the body
- your child’s overall health
If your child comes into contact with an appliance or product and suffers an electrical burn or other injury, you may be able to find fault with the manufacturer. Attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt can help you navigate the complex task of determining what party may be liable in an electrical injury case. When power companies or contractors fail to provide adequate safeguards against accidental electrocution, you may be entitled to bring a claim against them for damages. Our attorneys understand applicable safety standards and laws and can help present your case.
Types of Child Electrical Injuries Suffered
There are essentially three ways to categorize electrical injuries:
- Cardiac: The electrical effect on the heart can cause it to arrest or otherwise malfunction.
- Internal Injuries: An electrical current passing through the body can injure muscles, nerves, and tissues.
- External Injuries: Contact with an electrical source can cause minor or significant burns.
Electrical shock has been known to cause some of the following specific injuries:
- Brain injuries such as; loss of cognitive abilities, loss of memory; frequent headaches, seizures, changes in personality, unconsciousness
- Nerve damages such as; tingling, numbness, neuropathy, hearing loss, spinal injury
- Cardiac injuries such as; fibrillation, arrhythmia, and arrest
- Skeletal, muscular and internal organ injuries such as; broken bones, heart muscle damage, ruptured eardrums, vision loss, renal failure respiratory failure, weakness
- Burns such as; arc burns, flash burns, flame burns, contact burns and oral burns
- Problems swallowing or breathing
The severity of the above injuries will vary in each circumstance, but your child suffers no matter what. Even basic burns can cause lifelong scars. Our experienced attorneys let you tend to your child’s needs while we tend to the process of seeking compensation from the party responsible for the injuries.
What You Should Do if Your Child Suffers an Electrical Injury
If your child does come into contact with an electrical current in your home, you should know what to do. Educating yourself on electrical safety and prevention are important steps toward keeping your child safe. Please consider the following suggestions from the United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health:
- Have someone call 911.
- If your child has come into contact with an electrical current from something in your home, if you can do so safely, turn off the electrical current. Quickly unplug the cord, remove the appropriate fuse from the fuse box, or turn off all circuit breakers. You should know that simply turning off an appliance might NOT stop the flow of electricity.
- If you can’t turn the electrical current off, push your child away from the electrical source. DO NOT use your hands, a metal object or anything wet. You must use an object that does not conduct electricity. A broom, chair, rug, or rubber doormat may be used to push the person away from the source of the current. If you can, stand on something dry, and that doesn’t conduct electricity, like a rubber mat or folded newspaper.
- When your child is away from the source, check their pulse and breath. If either has stopped completely or seems unusually slow, start first aid.
- If your child has minor burns, gently remove any clothing that comes off easily. Rinse the burned area in cool running water until the pain eases. Because there may be internal injuries, even children with seemingly minor burns should seek medical attention.
- If your child shows signs of shock, lay him or her down. Elevate the legs and cover the child with a warm blanket or jacket.
- Stay with your child until medical help arrives.
- If there may be a spine injury, do not move your child’s head or neck.
Keep in mind the following things that you should NOT do even though you want to help your child:
- Do not touch your child with your bare hands if he is still connected to an electrical source.
- Do NOT apply ointments, ice, butter, medication, cotton balls or adhesives to burns.
- Do NOT remove dead skin or blisters.
- After you shut off the power source, do NOT move your child unless they face immediate danger of additional injury.
You should know that the best way to protect your child from dangerous electrical injuries is to take recommended safety precautions. Covering all electrical outlets, keeping wires out of reach and properly supervising your kids can make a big difference. Regularly check your appliances and products for damage that may lead to electrical injury. Educate yourself and teach your children about the dangers of electricity.
Contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, Serving Montgomery, Mobile & Birmingham
If your child is burned or injured because of faulty wiring, a defective product or a negligent contractor, our attorneys can help. Farris, Riley & Pitt can help navigate the complex Alabama laws that govern electrical accident cases. It cannot be easy to care for an injured child. It can be physically, emotionally and financially exhausting. Our compassionate attorneys can help you get the compensation you may be entitled to so you can focus on your child.