Electric Shock Injury While on the Job – Is it a Personal Injury Claim or Workers Compensation Claim? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Working with electrical equipment or on power lines can lead to injuries or death. Often worker’s compensation will cover these injuries, but there are situations where a third party may be liable thereby enabling you to file a personal injury claim. Speak with an experienced Virginia electric shock lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Electric Shock Can Cause Serious Injuries

When you are subjected to an electrical shock, the current can pass through your body and cause catastrophic injuries or death. Electrical injuries can be either external or internal. External electrical injuries can cause serious skin burns. These burns, if over extensive areas of the body, can cause shock, secondary infections from bacteria invading damaged skin, and death.

Internal injuries can include damage to organs such as the heart, lungs, or other organs affected by the electrical current. Bones, muscles, and nerves can be affected. A person who has electrical injuries can experience abnormal heart rhythms and cardiac arrest.

Common Causes of Workplace Electric Shock Injuries or Deaths

Some causes of workplace electric shock injuries or deaths are contact with exposed wires on electrical appliances, electric shock caused by hospital equipment, contact with high-voltage power lines, and damaged or exposed electrical cords.

When an Electric Shock Injury Falls Under Workers Compensation

If you are the victim of an electric shock while on the job, in many instances, you will have a viable worker’s compensation claim that should be filed against your employer. This is a form of insurance most employers are required to carry to protect on-the-job injuries. A workers comp claim does not require you to prove that the employer was negligent which often means you will get financial compensation more quickly. The drawback is that workers’ compensation benefits are often inadequate. If you’ve suffered a life-altering injury at work your limited workers’ comp benefits may not be enough to sustain you or your family. Also, neither will they make up for all the pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a result of your injuries.

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Third Party Personal Injury Claim

If your electric shock injury was caused by the carelessness of a third-party such as a sub-contractor, product manufacturer, etc. you may be able to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses.

For example, if you were doing construction work on one of the hotels near the Virginia Beach oceanfront, and had an accident due to faulty equipment, the equipment manufacturer may be liable for your injuries.

Types of Third-Party Injury Claims

There are several types of work-related instances in which a third-party claim for personal injury compensation may be in order.

  • Construction accidents – if you’re injured while working at a site, there may a host of third parties that can be held responsible including contractors, subcontractors, a property owner, heavy equipment operators, or defective equipment manufacturers.
  • Car accidents – if you were on delivery or driving a vehicle for a work-related duty, or if you were injured in a car accident while on duty that was caused by a driver who’s not a co-worker, a third party claim may be an option.
  • Slip and fall accidents – if you sustain injuries in a slip and fall accident at work, the property owner may be considered a negligent party, depending upon the circumstances.

Proving Negligence for a Personal Injury Claim

A work injury compensation claim varies from a personal injury claim in a number of ways, one of which is the burden of proof.

If you and your Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer establish that a third-party claim is the right route for you to take, you’ll have the burden of proving the responsible party’s negligence to the courts in order to receive any personal injury compensation.

In order to win your case, you and your attorney will have to show that:

  • the third party owed you a legal duty of care;
  • they failed to carry out that duty;
  • the responsible party’s negligence caused your injuries; and
  • you sustained real and calculable damages as a result of the accident.

As it stands, this is easier said than done. Establishing proof in a third party claim requires the counsel and skill of an experienced lawyer.