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What should I do if I have been electrocuted at a business?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

If you have been electrocuted at a business in California, there are several important steps and legal considerations you should be aware of:

1. Immediate Steps After Electrocution: If the electrocution incident resulted in injuries, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms like serious burns, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, cardiac arrest, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or heart problems indicate the need for urgent medical care. It’s also important to ensure that the injured person is no longer in contact with the source of electricity and to call 911 if the situation is hazardous or if there are serious injuries.

2. Seeking Legal Help: Consulting with an experienced attorney specializing in electric shock accidents is advisable. An attorney can guide you through the personal injury claim process, deal with insurance companies, and help secure full compensation for the injuries and damages sustained.

3. Understanding Liability: Determining who is at fault for an electric shock accident involves considering where the accident occurred, who was involved, and the source of the shock. Common bases for claims include negligence, employee negligence, and premises liability. In cases of negligence, it must be proven that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty through negligence, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm or death.

4. Wrongful Death Lawsuit: If the electrocution resulted in death, the deceased’s family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit allows them to recover damages like funeral costs, burial expenses, lost financial support, and compensation for loss of companionship and support. In California, eligible family members include the surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren (if the deceased person’s children are deceased), or others entitled to the property of the decedent by California intestate succession laws.

5. Workers’ Compensation for Workplace Electrocution: If the electrocution occurred at the workplace, it might be covered by workers’ compensation, which provides medical care and lost income payments for individuals injured on the job. Workers’ comp generally covers medical expenses and lost wages but may not include damages like pain and suffering.

6. Comparative Fault Law: In cases where the injured person is partly to blame for the accident, they may still recover damages under California’s comparative fault law. The compensation amount will be adjusted according to the level of fault assigned to each party.

7. Business and Property Owners’ Responsibilities: Under premises liability laws, property owners and occupiers owe others a duty of care to maintain their property and warn others about any dangerous conditions. If an electrical shock occurs on someone else’s property, the property owner may be liable for dangerous conditions that existed on their property.

8. California Business Regulations: Business owners in California must comply with various regulations, including those related to employee safety and premises maintenance. This includes adhering to workers’ compensation insurance requirements for businesses with one or more employees and ensuring that the work environment is safe and free from hazards like exposed electrical wiring or faulty electrical equipment.

Can I sue after being electrocuted in California?

Yes, in California, you can sue after being electrocuted if you believe that another party’s negligence or wrongful actions contributed to your injury. Here are the key legal considerations:

1. Negligence: Most electric shock accident claims are based on negligence. To sue for negligence, you must establish that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached that duty through negligent actions, and that their negligence was a substantial factor in causing your harm or injury.

2. Premises Liability: If the electrocution occurred on someone else’s property, you might have a premises liability claim. This requires proving that the property owner or occupier was negligent in maintaining the property, leading to the unsafe condition that caused your injury.

3. Product Liability: If the electrocution was caused by a defective product, you might have a product liability claim against the manufacturer or seller of the product.

4. Worker’s Compensation: If the incident occurred at your workplace, you might be eligible for worker’s compensation. However, receiving worker’s compensation might limit your ability to sue your employer directly, except in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm.

5. Comparative Fault: California follows the rule of comparative fault, meaning you can still recover damages even if you were partly at fault for the incident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

6. Statute of Limitations: Keep in mind that there is a time limit for filing a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of injury.

7. Wrongful Death: In cases where the electrocution resulted in death, the deceased’s family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Given the complexity of these cases and the specific details of each incident, it is highly advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who can provide guidance based on the specifics of your case and help you navigate the legal process.

What are the most common ways that people get electrocuted?

The most common ways that people get electrocuted involve scenarios where they come into contact with electrical sources in unsafe manners. These include:

1. Contact with Power Lines: This is one of the most common and dangerous sources of electrocution. It includes contact with overhead power lines and underground power lines during construction or other activities.

2. Faulty Electrical Appliances: Using electrical appliances that are defective or improperly maintained can lead to electrocution. This includes appliances that have been damaged or have exposed wiring.

3. Electrical Outlets and Exposed Wires: Uncovered electrical outlets or exposed wires pose a significant risk, especially in homes with small children or in workplaces where safety standards are not rigorously enforced.

4. Water and Electricity: Mixing water and electricity is extremely dangerous. This includes using electrical appliances near water or handling them with wet hands, as well as the presence of downed power lines in water after a storm.

5. Improper Use of Extension Cords: Overloading extension cords, using them improperly, or using damaged cords can lead to electric shocks and electrocution.

6. Workplace Accidents: In certain industries, especially construction, mining, and electrical work, there is a higher risk of electrocution due to the nature of the work.

7. DIY and Home Repairs: People attempting do-it-yourself repairs or installations involving electrical wiring without proper knowledge or precautions can be electrocuted.

8. Lightning Strikes: Although less common, lightning strikes are a natural source of electrocution, especially for people who are outdoors during a thunderstorm.

9. Electrical Tools and Machinery: In industrial settings, the improper use of or accidental contact with electrical tools and machinery can result in electrocution.

10. Children Inserting Objects into Outlets: Small children sometimes insert metal objects into electrical outlets, which can lead to serious injury or electrocution.

It’s important to always follow safety guidelines when handling electrical equipment or working near electrical sources to minimize the risk of electrocution. Additionally, ensuring that electrical systems and appliances in homes and workplaces comply with safety standards is crucial for preventing such accidents.

How many people in California die from electrocution each year?

In 2022, California reported 14 fatal workplace electrocutions, a decrease from the 19 fatalities in 2021. Additionally, there were 2,103 nonfatal electrocution injuries in 2022, up from 1,987 in the previous year. However, non-workplace related electrocutions are not as closely tracked and it is likely that this number is far higher than workplace related electrocutions. These figures highlight the significant risk of electrocution in the workplace and underscore the importance of safety measures and regulations to prevent such incidents.

Los Angeles Electrocution Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured, or a loved one has been injured or killed due to electrocution in the state of California, you may have a right to sue the responsible party to college damages such as loss of income, pain and suffering, medical bills, and more. J&Y Law Firm in California is a personal injury firm that aggressively represents innocent individuals who have been electrocuted due to no fault of their own. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us at J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA at (877) 564-3611.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.