Electrical Burns and Electrocution in Arizona

Electrocution burns occur when electricity passes through a person’s tissues, often leaving an entry would and an exit wound.  Improper wiring and grounding, inadequate warnings and inadequate guarding are all problems that arise with electrocution burns.

An electrical burn may appear minor or not show on the skin at all, but the damage can extend deep into the tissues beneath your skin. As such, all electrical and electrocution burns should be treated as major burns.

If a strong enough electrical current passes through the body, internal damage, such as a heart rhythm disturbance or cardiac arrest, can occur. Often, the jolt associated with the electrocution can cause victims to be thrown or to fall, resulting in fractures, spinal  or other associated injuries

Electrocution burns are particularly common in the construction industry, but occur in the home and other contexts.  Early in his career, the leader of the Burn Injury Lawyers successfully settled a case involving a woman who was electrocuted and killed by an improperly wired freezer at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in a small Arizona town, leaving three surviving children.  The freezer had been shocking people and the franchisee hired a maintenance company that was incompetent and made the situation worse, leading to the woman’s death.

Causes and Types of Electrical Burns

A wide variety of causes and factors can lead to a serious electrical burn. These can include: touching objects that are electrically live, short-circuits, inserting fingers into electrical sockets, and falling into electrified water.  Electrical injuries are becoming more common and are now one of the top five leading cause of work-related traumatic death. In fact, nearly 1/3 of all electrical burns and many high-voltage injuries are work related.  Further, more than 50% of these injures result from power line contact. Stay away from power lines.

Electrical burns can be classified into six categories and may present themselves in any combination on a burn victim:

A burn produced by contact with a power source of 500 volts or less is classified as a low-voltage burn. The current at this voltage is not enough to cause tissue damage along its path except at the contact site. This type of burn may be mild, superficial, or severe depending on the contact time.

A high voltage burn is very severe and occurs when someone makes direct contact with the high voltage supply, causing damage to the entire body. Surface injuries are generally misleading as most of the damage occurs underneath the skin. In this case, sub dermal tissues and nerves are often severely damaged.

Flash burns are caused by electrical arcs that pass over the skin. The intense heat and light of an arc flash can cause severe burns. Although the burns on the skin are largely superficial and cover a large area, tissues beneath the skin are generally undamaged and unaffected.

An arc burn happens when electrical energy passes from a high-resistance area to a low-resistance area. Contact with the current is not required with an arc burn as the electricity ionizes air particles to complete the circuit. This process can generate heat as high as 4,000 degrees Celsius – hot enough to ignite a victim’s clothing.

Oral burns happen most often to children, the vast majority to those under three years old. Oral burns are generally caused by biting or sucking on electrical cords. Electrical current typically passes from one side of the child’s mouth to the other. The burn injury usually occurs in corner of the mouth  and adjacent upper and lower lip.

First Aid For Electrocution Injury or Burn

1. Do NOT attempt to rescue a person near active high-voltage lines. If it can be done safely, turn off the electrical current by unplugging the cord, removing the fuse from the fuse box, or turn off the circuit breakers. Turning off an appliance alone may NOT stop the flow of electricity.

2. Call 911 immediately.

3. If the electrical current cannot be turned off, use a non-conducting object, such as a broom, chair, rug, or rubber doormat to push the person away from the source of the current. NEVER use a wet or metal object as this may conduct the electricity and electrocute you.

4. Once away from the source of electricity, check the airway, breathing, and pulse of the person exposed to the current. If either has stopped or seems dangerously slow or shallow, start first aid.

5. If the person has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily, and rinse the burned area in cool running water until the pain subsides. If clothing cannot be removed, make sure the victim is not in contact with any smoldering materials.

6. Give first aid for burns.

7. If the person is faint, pale, or shows other signs of shock, lay him or her down, with the head slightly lower than the trunk of the body and the legs elevated, and cover them with a warm blanket or a coat.

8. Stay with the person until medical help arrives.

*Electrical injury and burns are often associated with explosions or falls that can cause other severe injuries. You may not be able to notice all of them. Do not move the person’s head or neck if the spine may be injured.

If you or a loved one suffered a serious electrical burn in Arizona, call the electrical burn injury lawyers at Arizona Burn Law at 602-52-BURNS.  The consultation is free and our experienced attorneys can help recover the compensation you need at this difficult time.

“Lance was here for us throughout the whole process, he got us a settlement that was beyond our expectations.” C.N. Burn Survivor *actual client not pictured


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