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Lawyers for Electrocution Accidents

two laborers working on power lines, electrocution accidents

A source of electricity can pose a serious risk to individuals – in the home, commercial or public property, and the workplace – if proper safety measures are not adhered to. Electric shocks can cause serious injuries, such as burns, nerve and heart damage, and even death.

While these accidents can happen to anyone, workers in the construction industry are at a particularly high risk of electrical injury, because their work tends to often be in close proximity to power lines and exposed wires. In fact, electrocution is one of the four leading causes of death on a construction site, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). In 2019 the Electrical Safety Foundation (ESF) reported 166 electrical deaths, a 3.75% increase from 2018 and the highest amount since 2011. This is a disturbing trend.

Overhead and buried power lines are the cause of most of these deaths. The law requires that contractors make workers aware of the location of both overhead and underground electrical lines to minimize the chances of accidental electrocution, but if they fail to follow the law, they are putting workers at risk and may be found legally responsible.

Our attorneys are skilled in litigating accident cases and have attained top results, including $5.5 million and $5 million settlements in electric shock lawsuits. If you were injured as a result of electric shocks or have lost someone who tragically died as a result of electrocution, please call 212-736-5300 or fill out our Contact Form. Our lawyers are here to help you explore your legal options after a serious injury.


  1. Causes of Electrical Accidents
  2. Injuries Associated With Electrocution Accidents
  3. How To Prevent Electrocution Hazards on Construction Sites
  4. Can I be Compensated for My Injuries Outside of Workers’ Compensation?
  5. How Can My Attorney Prove My Income Loss for the Past and Present?
  6. Contact an Electrocution Accident Attorney Today

Causes of Electrical Accidents

While electricians and other workers on construction sites are more likely to be harmed by electrical accidents, many of these accidents are preventable. In many of these cases, fatalities occurred because little or no electrical safety training was provided to the workers on the site. Increasing awareness through education and training can help prevent further accidents from occurring.

According to OSHA, there are three major types of electrocution hazards in construction:

  1. Contact with overhead power lines, including lines that may not be de-energized
  2. Contact with energized sources such as live parts, damaged wires, or defective equipment and tools
  3. Improper use of extension and flexible cords

Between 2011 and 2018, 38% of all electricity-related work deaths were caused by overhead power lines. In some instances, those in charge may not properly de-energize these lines, including power companies. Using tools and equipment such as metal ladders, cranes, and scaffolds close to power lines also increases the risk of these accidents.

Other causes of electrocution accidents include:

  • Unsafe or damaged tools
  • Equipment not used in the manner prescribed
  • Faulty wiring
  • Poorly marked construction zones
  • Short circuits
  • Live wires that are ungrounded
  • Improper cord use
  • Wet conditions

Even when the power system at a construction site is properly grounded, electrical equipment can quickly become hazardous under certain conditions, especially because it carries extremely high voltage. The misuse of electrical equipment and extension cords can also increase a construction worker’s risk of suffering an electric shock.

Injuries Associated With Electrocution Accidents

Electrical injuries on construction sites can be costly and even deadly. Burns and internal injuries are among the serious effects of an electric shock on the human body. Some other injuries that can result from electrocution accidents include but are not limited to:

  • Death
  • Burns, which can result in blistering and cause damage to internal organs
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Nerve Damage or Injury
  • Cardiac arrest due to shock
  • Post-electric shock syndrome, which includes seizures, headaches, and memory loss
  • Brain injuries
  • Neck and back injuries caused by falls from electrical shocks

These injuries can have a lasting effect on the lives of victims and their loved ones.

How To Prevent Electrocution Hazards on Construction Sites

When it comes to electrical hazards on a construction site, one must always be aware of their surroundings. Power lines, one of the leading causes of electrical fatalities, should always be considered dangerous, whether covered or exposed. Workers also need to be trained in the proper procedures while performing their tasks. As with all construction work, preparation is key, especially when dealing with electrical currents in cramped or high spaces.

It is the responsibility of the employer, general contractor, or owner to properly train workers, provide safety equipment, and maintain a reasonably safe worksite. According to OSHA, workers should be trained in these ways to protect themselves from being electrocuted on the job:

  • Identify all sources of electrical energy
  • Inspect all electrical equipment before use
  • Use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) with all power tools
  • Use intact and properly rated cords (i.e., correct AWG)
  • Do not use damaged equipment – take it out of service
  • Institute an equipment grounding conductor (EGC) to ground noncurrent-carrying metal parts of equipment
  • Notify all personnel that equipment must be shut off
  • Assume that all overhead wires are energized at lethal voltages
  • Never assume that a wire is safe to touch even if it is down or appears to be insulated
  • Never touch a fallen overhead power line. Call the electric utility company to report fallen electrical lines
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities
  • Never operate electrical equipment while standing in water
  • Never repair electrical cords or equipment unless qualified and authorized
  • Have a qualified electrician inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before energizing it

If working in damp locations, inspect electric cords and equipment to ensure that they are in good condition and free of defects, and use a GFCI outlet.

Can I be Compensated for My Injuries Outside of Workers’ Compensation?

The law varies from state to state. For example, in New York State, barring special exceptions, you cannot sue your employer. However, if you are electrocuted on a job site, workers’ compensation is not your only remedy. Pursuant to Labor Laws Sections 240, 241(6), and 200, an owner and general contractors are responsible for the safety of works on a job site and any injuries resulting from unsafe conditions on that job site.

If you are electrocuted while performing work on a job site, you can file a third-party personal injury claim to obtain compensation for additional costs that workers’ compensation cannot provide, including: (1) past and future pain and suffering and (2) lost wages, both past and future wages that workers’ compensation cannot fully recover.

How Can My Attorney Prove My Income Loss for the Past and Present?

Workers’ Compensation attorneys can only fight to obtain a portion of your income that you were earning at the time of your electrocution incident. You will have to rely on your third-party personal injury action and attorney to fight for all your past and future lost wages you are entitled to.

A skilled personal injury attorney will hire an economist that will be able to evaluate your earnings at the time you were electrocuted and project your future loss earnings because of your work-life shortening or inability to work after your accident. Using a highly credentialed economist who generates a report of your past and future lost earnings is a powerful and effective litigation tool to use during negotiations or published to a jury during trial to prove your lost earnings. Hiring the right personal injury attorney is a crucial decision. Before hiring a personal injury attorney, you should ask what that attorney intends to do to prove and obtain all of the lost wages you are entitled to.

Contact an Electrocution Accident Attorney Today

The firm has represented electricians and other workers in electrocution lawsuits throughout New York and obtained numerous successful results on their behalf.

Select electrocution accident results include:

  • $5,500,000 settlement for an electrician who fell 14-16 feet from an extension ladder after receiving an electric shock, sustaining a head injury
  • $5,000,000 settlement for a laborer who suffered an electric shock while performing excavation work
  • $2,600,000 settlement  for a Local 3 electrician who suffered serious injuries after being shocked twice by power lines that should have been de-energized

If you or someone you know suffered an electric shock accident, contact us today at 212-736-5300 or fill out our online form for a FREE case evaluation.

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Contact Block O’Toole & Murphy for a free legal consultation today. Simply fill out the short contact form below or call us locally at 212-736-5300.