Product Liability Electrical Injuries
Electrical injuries resulting in product liability lawsuits involve household appliances, power tools, home, office wiring, outlets and fixtures, and other common devices we are around daily powered by electricity or carry electrical current for our use. When defects in these products cause injuries -- either from basic design defects, from manufacturing quality problems, problems with installation and maintenance, or from improper usage due to inadequate warnings and instructions -- a thorough and complete investigation of the product, its history, and the injuries that were caused must be performed. Doing so will help establish the causes and legal responsibilities for the product liability electrical injuries to secure proper compensation through an insurance claim or litigation for the injury victim.What Types of Defective Products Cause Electrical Injuries?
Literally, any type of product that uses or carries an electrical current is a possible source of electrical shocks, burns, or electrocution.
Just in recent years, the list of items recalled due to hazards for electrical injuries include:
- Kalorik electric food grills;
- Leviton electrical connectors;
- Apple wall plug adapters;
- Office Depot desks with electrical outlets;
- Hunter ceiling fans.
The trauma caused by accidental electrical injuries comes in many different forms and depends upon factors such as:
- Proximity to the electrical current, that is, did the current pass through the body or merely near it;
- Voltage of the current -- the electrical potential between the two points where current is flowing;
- Amperage of the current -- the net amount of electrical flow;
- Direction of the current flow -- alternating current versus direct current;
- Environmental factors that may either enhance or impede the flow of current.
The general types of trauma caused to the human body in an electrical injury incident can include:
- Burns to the skin and underlying tissues, either from fires caused by the electrical incident, electrical arcing or sparking near the body or at the entry and exit points of current passing entirely through the body;
- Muscle damage, either relatively minor from reflexive contractions due to the electrical current, or greater injury due to tissue heating and cellular damage with more prolonged exposure;
- Bone fractures and joint injuries -- either from powerful muscle contractions due to the current or from simple falls after exposure;
- Brain, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system injuries due to heating of nervous tissues, minor bleeding incidents in nearby blood vessels, and/or damage to the myelin coating of the nerve cells;
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy -- a chronic neurological condition that can be caused by electrocution or a variety of other traumas;
- Ear and eye injuries (including cataracts) after exposure to high voltage.
Various theories of liability may apply when electrical injuries result from defective products. Among these are strict liability, which often applies when a product is defective in its fundamental design -- that is, even when it is properly manufactured and used as intended, problems with its basic design make the product dangerous.
Legal theories of liability based upon negligence may apply to anyone along the chain from designer to manufacturer to distributor to a retailer who either acted negligently or negligently failed to act in a way that resulted in the defective product causing injury. This can range from errors in manufacturing that produced defects in the finished product to liability on the part of distributors and retailers who discover a product's defect makes it a danger to consumers but who then fail to warn or instruct past and future buyers of the threat.
Establishing the exact nature and cause of the defect will often require the use of forensic engineers and other experts to analyze the design and manufacturing of the product to pinpoint when and where the dangerous defect arose. Once the specific physical nature and cause of the defect become apparent, further investigation and discovery (depositions, written interrogatories, document production, etc.) will help to establish the facts pointing to who may have been negligent, how they may have been negligent, and how their actions or failure to act helped cause the injuries.
View this video describing the basic science behind electrical shocks and injuries:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqIVwa9VFDMSacramento Electrical Injury Lawyer
Hello, my name is Ed Smith, and I'm a Sacramento Electrical Injury Lawyer. Skin tissue burns and neurological damage from electrocution are apparent physical injuries resulting from electrical injuries caused by defective products. Beyond the physical injuries, however, an experienced personal injury attorney will analyze and document a client's other significant damages, from medical expenses for treating the wounds, to wage and income loss claims due to inability to work, to the "pain and suffering" general damages that result from the injuries. These issues are at least as complex to understand and prove as are the forensic engineering challenges of proving the defect and the litigation challenges of proving defendant liability. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident involving an electrical injury from a defective product, please call us for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400, or reach out to us by using our online contact form.
We are proud to be among the injury attorneys of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and to be members of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.
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