A Downed Power Line Can Be Downright Dangerous

A fallen tree has downed a power line and barricaded the street in a small town after a storm.

In the United States, there are over 400 electrocutions and more than 4,000 non-fatal electrical injuries every year. The highest fatality rates are due to contact with a downed power line.

If you were injured or someone you love was killed by electrocution, it can be helpful to understand what happened. An electrocution accident lawyer can evaluate your situation to determine who was at fault for the powerline hazard and hold them responsible for the harm they caused.

The electrocution lawyers at Muth Law, P.C. help people who were hurt by downed powerlines and other electrocution hazards. We are based in Ann Arbor and proudly represent injured people and their families throughout Michigan.

Understanding Dangers Posed by a Powerline Hazard

Power lines carry extremely high voltage, typically between 4,800 and 13,200 volts. To put this in perspective, the voltage used in the electric chair when someone has been sentenced to death is between 2,000 and 5,000 volts.

Contact with a downed power line can be extremely dangerous and can result in serious injuries or even death. A person can be electrocuted by direct contact with a downed power line, or through indirect contact by touching something the power line contacts.

Common Injuries from a Powerline Hazard

Injuries caused by electrocution are unique and can cause significant burns, amputations, and other complicated medical conditions. People who survive electrocution may experience severe traumatic brain injuries that can result in permanent brain damage and permanent intellectual, cognitive, and emotional disturbances that can last a lifetime.

Electrocution can cause severe, sometimes fatal medical conditions, including:

  • Ventricular fibrillation which occurs when the heart muscles do not contract properly and quiver instead of circulating through the body.
  • Bradycardia, a slower-than-normal heart rate.
  • Respiratory arrest, the cessation of breathing due to lung failure.
  • Hyperthermia, an elevated body temperature that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it dissipates, often caused by thermal injury to body tissue.
  • Fluid loss.
  • Metabolic acidosis, which occurs when the body produces excessive amounts of acid or when the kidneys cannot remove enough acid from the body.
  • Direct injury to vital organs.
  • Burns.
  • Sepsis, which can happen when chemicals released into the body to fight infection trigger an inflammatory response.

What To Do If You Encounter a Downed Power Line

If you encounter a downed powerline, assume it is live and carrying a high voltage. You cannot tell whether a downed power line is live just by looking at it. A downed power line may still be live even if it isn’t sparking, humming, or “dancing.”

When a downed power line touches the ground, the electricity can travel through the ground and energize the entire area. To avoid injury, stay at least 100 feet away. During rainy or wet conditions, you should stay even farther away because water is a good conductor of electricity and could become energized.

Don’t touch the downed power line, and avoid anything in contact with it.

Move to a safe location and report the downed power line to the local electric company. Call 9-1-1 so the fire department can address the situation as quickly as possible.

When moving away from a downed power line, shuffle, don’t walk. If you run or take large steps, you could conduct electricity from one leg to another, which could increase the potential for injury.

How an Electrocution Accident Lawyer Can Help

An injury or death caused by electrocution is tragic. Many people whose lives have been affected by electrocution want to understand what happened and need help making sense of an abrupt and painful loss. An experienced electrocution accident lawyer can help you make sense of what happened and offer support as you begin to put the pieces back together.

Because of the unique nature of electrocution injuries and death caused by electrocution, it is important to speak with an experienced electrocution lawyer who knows how to investigate the cause of the electrocution and has experience identifying and obtaining compensation for the economic and noneconomic losses caused by electrocution.

If your life was impacted by electrocution, contact an electrocution accident lawyer at Muth Law by calling 743-481-8800, emailing info@muthlawpc.com, or completing our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.

Categories: Personal Injury