Electrocution is a common workplace injury on construction sites. You could struggle to find adequate support from worker’s comp after an electrical accident. If you suffered injuries from electrocution at work, consult an experienced attorney in New York for construction accidents as soon as possible to help you with your case.
A lawyer with William Schwitzer & Associates can explain worker’s compensation claims vs. personal injury claims and what compensation you can seek for your injuries. Learn more about your rights when you get injured at work on a construction site.
Common Causes of Electrical Injury on a Construction Site
There are several ways that electrical hazards can cause injuries at a job site. Common causes of electrical injury include:
- Failure to turn off a power supply in a work area
- Cranes, excavators, and other equipment coming into contact with power lines
- Failure to follow lockout or tagout standards on electric-powered equipment
- Live power sources coming into contact with standing water
- Failure to de-energize a system before beginning work
- Improper use of extension cords
- Failure to ground wires properly
- Miscommunication of electrical hazards between workers
- Failure to use the appropriate safety equipment when working with powered systems
Construction workers are at a high risk of suffering injuries from electrical sources on the job. Despite OSHA safety certifications and employer training, accidents still happen.
Regardless of the cause of the accident, if you suffered an electrical injury while following all necessary safety procedures, you could be eligible to file a construction accident injury claim for costs associated with your treatment, time off from work, and lasting disability. Contact a New York City construction accident lawyer to learn more about if you have a case.
Common Types of Electrocution Injury at Construction Sites
Electrical injuries can affect numerous parts of the body, including the muscles, internal organs, and nerves. The National Fire Protection Association published its 2022 reports on fatal work injuries and nonfatal work injuries that exposure to electricity can cause, citing that between 67-85% of all injuries were due to direct electricity exposure.
StatPearls (published January 2022) states that the four main electrical injuries are flame, flash (arc), lightning, and true electrical injuries. While flash and flame injuries are often superficial and can cause electrical burns, lightning and true electrical injuries involve a current traveling into or through the body.
Because the damage from even small electrical shocks can be extensive, common injuries include:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Cardiac dysrhythmia
- Muscle spasms and pain
- Breathing problems
- Nerve damage
- Severe burns
- Soft tissue damage
- Loss of consciousness
- Cardiac arrest
Electrical shocks are extremely dangerous, even at a low voltage. Factors that may affect the extent of the injuries include the type of current, your health, how the current moved through your body, and how quickly you received treatment.
Electricity takes the path of least resistance to the ground. If you suffer an electrical shock, the electricity will find the easiest way through your body to another charged area nearby. While some people only suffer minor injuries to their extremities, others suffer more severe injuries or death when the current passes through their heart, lungs, or brain.
Does Your Case Qualify for Worker’s Comp or a Personal Injury Claim?
Worker’s compensation is a no-fault system to provide compensation and care for employees injured on the job. In New York, worker’s comp may cover any medically necessary costs due to a workplace injury, including any of the following deemed necessary on a case-by-case basis:
- Medical care, including medical bills, prescription costs, hospital bills, and physical therapy
- Temporary disability, including up to two-thirds of lost wages due to missed work
- Permanent disability, if the worker is unable to return to work and complete normal activities in their job
- Vocational rehabilitation, including retraining costs or classes and partial income payments during training
In a worker’s comp claim, you don’t need to prove negligence by your employer or a subcontractor to receive compensation. If worker’s comp denies claims for any disability, rehabilitation, or medical bills associated with the injury, you can contact a New York construction accident lawyer to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation directly from your employer or another negligent party.
Differences between Worker’s Compensation Claims and Personal Injury Claims
One key difference between a personal injury lawsuit against an employer and a worker’s compensation claim is that the injured party must prove negligence by the employer, subcontractor, city, or other responsible parties that led to the accident and injuries.
Because construction sites often utilize several contractors and vendors to complete the work, determining fault for an electrocution at work can be complex. Sometimes multiple parties may be responsible for your injuries.
Additionally, the statute of limitations may vary depending on which parties were negligent. The typical personal injury claim statute of limitations in New York is three years. A 2013 meta study indicated that some patients may not show the effects of electrical shock until one to five years later or longer.
If filing a personal injury suit against the city, you must file a notice of claim in 90 days. You can then file a lawsuit against the city within one year and 90 days. If you suffered electrocution at work while under contract with the city, contact a New York City construction accident lawyer as soon as possible to start the claim process before the statute of limitations expires.
Seeking Compensation for Medical Bills and Other Costs After an Electrical Injury
In a personal injury lawsuit, you may pursue economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, future medical bills, out-of-pocket costs, medications, household assistance, and other costs associated with the injury, directly or indirectly.
Non-economic damages include those things that have no set dollar value, but areas where you suffered losses due to the accident, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Lost opportunities
Your NYC construction accident attorney can help you calculate a compensatory value for these factors to determine an appropriate settlement.
The court may also award you punitive damages against your employer in cases of gross negligence. The court implements punitive damages to punish wrongdoing in certain cases. If your employer has several OSHA citations or failed to uphold certain building and electrical codes, and your injury stemmed from a violation that wasn’t addressed, you could receive punitive damages.
Wrongful Death Due to an Electrocution at Work
If you lost a loved one due to an electrical accident at work, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim. While worker’s comp will cover some death benefits for the decedent’s spouse and minor children (or children attending school full-time up to age 23), these payments have a maximum limit and a basis in the decedent’s earnings.
Only certain people may file a wrongful death lawsuit or receive damages for a wrongful death in New York, including:
- A spouse
- A representative of the decedent’s estate
Damages can include pain and suffering of the decedent if they didn’t succumb to their injuries immediately after the accident, but the petitioner may not cite their own pain and suffering for damages. If you intend to file a wrongful death suit for the loss of your loved one in a work accident, seek help with your case from an experienced New York construction accident lawyer.
Contact William Schwitzer & Associates for Jobsite Injuries in New York City
If you suffer an injury or electrocution at work, you need to know what to do if you’re injured on a job site. For help with an electric shock case in New York City, turn to our experienced legal team at William Schwitzer & Associates. Call us today at 212-683-3800 or contact us online. We’ve helped clients recover millions of dollars in damages.