Electrical equipment and devices make work tasks and daily life so much easier and pleasurable. However, electrical hazards in the workplace or at home can result in severe injuries and can even be fatal.
Electric shock injuries may range from relatively minor burns, muscles spasm and scarring to cardiac arrest, damage to the nervous system and amputations. The most common causes of workplace accidents are faulty electrical equipment, lack of risk assessment and inadequate training.
Your employer must take all reasonable measures stated by relevant legislation like The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 to keep you safe at work. This includes ensuring that all the equipment is safe, carrying out regular PAT testing and providing adequate personal protective equipment for the job.
If you or a loved one suffered an electric shock injury caused by negligence or a defective product, you might be able to make an electric shock claim. You could get compensation for your pain and suffering and any financial losses and expenses directly related to your injury.
To find out if you have a valid claim for electric shock compensation, call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser. Or, if you prefer, enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.
If your solicitor believes you have a valid case, they will offer you a no win no fee service, so you can pursue your electric shock injury claim without taking any financial risks.
Can I make an electric shock claim?
If you suffered an electric shock injury in the workplace, at home, or in a public place, you might be able to claim compensation. If you believe you could be entitled to electric shock compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. They can let you know whether your case has merit and how best to proceed.
Usually, an electric shock injury claim should be possible if you meet the following criteria:
- Another party, such as your employer or an electrician, owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently
- Their negligence led to an electric shock accident
- You suffered an injury as a result
If you decide to claim compensation for your damages, you will need to act within three years from either:
- The date of your accident
- The date you found out about your injuries
While it may seem like you have a lot of time to submit your claim, you should contact a solicitor sooner rather than later. This will allow them sufficient time to collect evidence, talk to witnesses and arrange for medical reports.
You may also claim compensation on behalf of a victim who cannot bring an electric shock claim themselves, including:
- If your child suffered an electric shock injury, you could represent them at any point before their 18th birthday. Afterwards, they will have another three years to start a claim independently.
- When somebody lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings themselves, either due to a pre-existing condition such as Alzheimer’s disease or the injuries caused by the electric shock. In this situation, there is no time limit to start a claim on their behalf, and the three-year countdown will only begin if they regain their intellectual ability.
- If a loved one has unfortunately passed away due to an electric shock injury, you will have up to three years after their death or after an autopsy reveals the cause of death to make a fatal accident claim.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
What symptoms and injuries do electric shocks cause?
Our bodies are very good electricity conductors. When an electric current touches or flows through any body part, it causes an electric shock. Depending on circumstances, exposure to electrical energy may result in no injury at all or have severe to fatal consequences.
Several factors affect how severe an electric shock injury is, including:
- The source of the shock
- The voltage
- How long the current flowed for
- Your overall health
- The electricity’s path through the body
- Whether the electrical current is direct or alternating
Depending on the factors listed above, an electric shock may cause a variety of symptoms and injuries, such as:
When an electrical current passes the body, it heats the tissue along the length of its flow, which may result in deep burn injuries that are often permanently disabling.
Muscles are stimulated by electricity, and when an electrical current passes through the body, it may cause contractions and violent spasms. The victim may be unable to let go of the source of the current, which may increase the severity of the shock. Muscles, ligaments and tendons may tear as a result of a sudden contraction caused by an electric shock.
A severe electric shock may cause fractures or dislocations in the body, either due to musculoskeletal contractions or if the accident causes the victim to fall.
The heart is also a muscle controlled by electrical impulses, and if an electrical current passes through it, it can disturb the heart’s rhythm and stop it from pumping blood. This can occur immediately after the accident or in the following hours. If the heartbeat is not quickly restored, the victim will pass away.
Damage to the nervous system
When nerves are affected by an electric shock, the consequences may range from mild pain, tingling or numbness to severe effects that may be permanent and cause difficulties moving a limb.
If an electrical current affects the central nervous system, it may cause a seizure, an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain. These may cause cognitive changes, loss of consciousness, confusion and uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs.
A high-voltage electric shock may affect the central respiratory control system and cause very fast or very slow breathing, acute respiratory arrest and even death.
Some other symptoms you may experience after an electric shock injury include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Problems with vision or hearing
- Internal burns
- Amputations due to severe burns
- Damage to the urinary system
- Psychological damage, such as PTSD
Even if you do not have any noticeable symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as you can after an electric shock. Some internal injuries may be hard to detect at first and could manifest many hours later.
If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to an electric shock at work, you might be able to make an electric shock claim. If you feel you may be eligible for compensation, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
What are the main causes of electric shock injuries at work?
An electric shock injury can happen in any workplace due to faulty electrical equipment, lack of training or poor maintenance. However, electric shock claims are more common in certain occupations, including:
- Construction workers
- Catering staff
- Mechanics and engineers
- Maintenance workers and cleaners
- Hospital and care home staff
You may suffer an electric shock at work for many reasons, and your employer must take reasonable measures to prevent it. If they fail to meet the safety regulations, you could have an electric shock accident due to:
A brief spike in electrical voltage due to faulty wiring or an electrical overload can damage outlets and cause electrical fires. It can also affect the equipment or machinery you are using and may cause minor to severe injuries such as burns or cardiac arrest.
Exposed wires and other electrical components
Any loose or exposed wiring in a plug, socket, light switch or another electrical device could lead to severe injury and even death. Without a risk assessment and appropriate safety measures in place, employees may ignore these hazards and suffer an electric shock injury.
Earthing should be used in all electrical equipment to protect you from an electric shock injury. It does this by providing a path for a fault current to flow straight to the earth. It also includes a protective device such as a fuse that will switch off the electric current to a faulty circuit.
Poor maintenance and faulty equipment
Electrical maintenance ensures that all equipment is operable and safe for the job and should be a priority in every workplace. Faulty electrical equipment is the most common cause of electric shock claims at work. To prevent accidents, employers must conduct regular risk assessments and PAT testing.
Fire or explosion
Hazards like faulty electrical outlets, worn-out sockets that are not earthed or exposed wires can cause fires or explosions with devastating consequences. Employers must conduct regular risk assessments to identify and remove risks and safely store flammable materials.
Lack of training
Employers must provide adequate training to anyone working with or around electricity, and only qualified personnel should do electrical work. Employees must be able to recognise and avoid unsafe working conditions, understand the regulations and know how to control and eliminate electric shock hazards.
Lack of safety equipment
Electrical personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to prevent electric shock injuries when working with or around electricity. Depending on the task to be performed, PPE may include rubber insulating gloves and sleeves, flame-resistant clothing, non-conductive hard hats, shoes and eye protection. Employers must provide adequate and free PPE to all employees.
Lack of risk assessment
Carrying out a risk assessment should be the first step toward identifying electrical hazards and taking provisions to eliminate or minimise them. By law, every employer must conduct risk assessments in the workplace, and failing to do so might be a valid ground for an electric shock injury claim.
Contact with liquids
Electrical equipment should be kept away from water and other liquids at all times. Any equipment that is likely to be used near or come into contact with water must be specially sealed. Water entering an electrical device can lead to a short circuit with potentially catastrophic consequences for workers.
Failure to install electrical hazard warning signs
All electrical hazards must be signposted to alert staff and the public of dangers such as high voltage, live wires or dangerous cables. You might be eligible for electric shock compensation if you had an accident due to a lack of warning signs.
If you suffered an electric shock due to a workplace hazard, your employer could be liable to pay you electric shock compensation. To find out if you can make a work accident claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
Is my employer liable if I get an electric shock at work?
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, your employer is responsible for your health, safety and wellbeing at work. They have a general duty to ensure a safe environment and prevent an electric shock injury. A failure to do so could make them liable to pay you electric shock compensation.
As a brief overview, the Act requires your employer to:
- Carry out thorough risk assessments and put appropriate preventative measures in place
- Ensure the staff is responsible, competent and receives adequate training for their job
- Make sure that all the equipment used is safe, including computers and electronic devices
- Provide a safe and well-maintained working environment
- Provide suitable welfare provisions for employees
- Appoint a competent person to oversee health and safety at work
A breach of these duties could entitle you to make an electric shock claim against your employer. In addition to these general health and safety guidelines, there are specific regulations related to electricity safety at work, including:
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
These Regulations expand on the rules about electrical safety stated in the Health and Safety at Work Act. Employers have duties and responsibilities to ensure that all activities that use or may be affected by electricity are safe, and all foreseeable risks are assessed and minimised so far as reasonably practicable. Some of the duties imposed on employers are:
- All electrical systems must be constructed, maintained and operated to prevent danger.
- No electrical equipment should be used in a way where it may overload and become dangerous.
- Electrical equipment must be constructed or protected to avoid damage arising from mechanical damage or environmental conditions.
- All conductors in a system must be insulated, earthed, or otherwise suitably protected to prevent an electric shock injury.
- No work should be done on or near live conductors unless absolutely necessary and after taking suitable precautions.
- Portable appliance testing (PAT) must be undertaken annually by trained personnel to ensure electrical appliances and equipment are safe to use.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
These Regulations set out the duties of employers regarding the provision and use of PPE at work. The personal protective equipment includes clothing that offers protection against electric shocks and any additional accessories designed to prevent an injury.
Employers must provide adequate and free-of-charge equipment to all workers, even if they are self-employed or on a zero-hour contract. The Regulations require that PPE:
- Is appropriate for the risks involved and the environmental conditions in the workplace
- Can be adjusted to fit the wearer correctly
- It prevents or controls the risk of electric shock without increasing the overall level of risk
- Takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the person wearing it
- Is compatible with other PPE that it may be used together with
- Is adequately assessed before use to make sure it is suitable
- Is stored and maintained properly
- Is provided with instructions on how to use it safely
Examples of PPE to prevent an electric shock injury include hard hats, insulating gloves, safety boots, electrical safety mats and sleeves.
If you or a loved one had an accident at work because your employer failed to comply with this and other relevant legislation, you might be able to make an electric shock injury claim. To find out if you are eligible for compensation, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a trained legal adviser.
Can I claim for an electric shock accident at home?
If you or a loved one suffered an electric shock at home, you might be eligible for compensation. Domestic electric shocks are frequently caused by:
Manufacturers and retailers have a duty to supply safe products that will not harm consumers. If you suffered an electric shock injury because of a defective product, you might be able to claim compensation under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
Negligent building work
Construction and electrical contractors must have professional indemnity insurance. You could claim electric shock compensation from them or their company if you suffer an injury due to faulty electrical work such as improperly installed wiring.
Electrical work equipment
If you have to take company equipment home so you can continue working, your employer must take all reasonable measures to protect your safety. If they did not carry out a risk assessment or provided faulty equipment, you might be able to make an electric shock claim.
If you live in rented accommodation, the property owner must carry out regular checks and maintain the property safe under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. If they fail to meet their obligations and you suffer an electric shock injury, they might be liable to pay you compensation.
Claiming electric shock compensation for an accident at home follows the same process as any other personal injury claim. Your solicitor will assess your case and determine whether another party was responsible for your injury. If you have a valid claim, they will offer you a no win no fee service and help you gather evidence to support it.
To find out if you have a valid electric shock injury claim, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Alternatively, you can enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.
How much compensation can I claim for an electric shock injury?
The electric shock compensation you can claim depends on your circumstances, such as the extent of your injury and the financial losses you incurred. Your solicitor will consider how your accident affected your life and ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
In every electric shock injury claim, you can recover two types of damages:
Special damages for any financial losses and expenses directly caused by your injury, including:
- Present and future medical costs such as hospital stays and medication
- Loss of earnings from taking time off work
- Loss of earning capacity, if your injuries do not allow you to return to work or you must take a lower-paying job
- Costs of care and assistance, even if provided by a loved one
- Transport expenses to medical visits and legal appointments
- Adaptations to your home or car to accommodate your injuries
- Mobility aids, prostheses and other medical devices
- Counselling and physiotherapy
General damages for non-pecuniary, personal losses such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological damage and mental anguish
- Physical injury, impairment and disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life or life expectancy
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship in wrongful death cases
- Inability to engage in a hobby or leisure activity
The compensation for special damages is awarded by summing up all the expenses you can account for and predicting how much you will lose in the future.
To calculate a suitable award for general subjective losses such as pain and suffering, solicitors and insurance companies refer to the guidelines published by the Judicial College. Based on their guidelines, you could receive:
- Up to £12,900 for a moderate foot injury causing no permanent or long-term damage
- £78,800 to £102,890 for a severe foot injury that requires amputation of part of or the entire foot
- Up to £11,110 for a simple leg fracture due to muscle spasms
- £225,960 to £264,650 for a very severe leg injury causing the loss of both legs
- Up to £4,461 for mild finger injuries such as burns or fractures that heal within six months
- £5,260 to £12,460 for hand injuries leading to reduced function in one or both hands
- £36,770 to £56,180 for arm injuries causing permanent or substantial disablement and chronic pain
- Up to £300,000 for amputation of both arms
- £7,830 to £22,730 for burns leaving moderate scarring to the legs, hands, chest, back or arms
- £8,550 to £28,240 for significant facial scarring
- Up to £104,830 for burn injuries that cover more than 40% of the body
- £19,070 to £54,830 for severe psychiatric damage that interferes significantly with daily activities
- £1,290 to £2,620 for electrocution with immediate unconsciousness and death within a week
- £11,770 to £22,350 for electrocution where the victim is fully aware before passing away within two to 12 weeks
After assessing your electric shock claim, your solicitor can give you a fair estimate of your compensation prospects. To find out more, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
What evidence will I need to make an electric shock claim?
If you suffered an electric shock injury at work or elsewhere and believe it was due to negligence, get in touch with a solicitor as soon as possible. They will be able to guide you through beginning your claim and help you collect evidence to prove what caused your accident.
When possible, gather as much evidence as you can as soon as possible or ask someone else to do this for you. The details and information which will help your solicitor build a compelling electric shock claim include:
- Photographic evidence of what caused your electric shock, such as exposed wires
- Photographs of any visible injuries
- Medical records detailing the extent of your electric shock injury and treatments you received
- CCTV footage of the accident, when applicable
- The contact details of people who have witnessed the accident and could give a statement
- A copy of a report to the Health and Safety Executive, if your injuries kept you from returning to work for more than seven consecutive days
- An accident report form that you should file with your employer, which will confirm when and where you suffered the electric shock
- Testimonies about the personal protective equipment (PPE) and training you received at work
- Evidence regarding the working practices and standards at your job
- Details of any financial losses and expenses you incurred because of the electric shock injury
After gathering all the relevant evidence and building your case, your solicitor will send a claim notification form to the defendant to inform them of your allegations of negligence. If they admit liability, your solicitor will begin negotiating your electric shock compensation.
If the other side denies liability or you cannot agree on a settlement, you may need to take the claim to court. In this situation, a judge will review all the available evidence and decide liability and a suitable award for your damages. However, it is highly unlikely you will have to go to court, as more than 95% of all claims settle without a trial.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and answer any questions you may have.
Can I claim for an electric shock using no win no fee?
A no win no fee agreement is the most common way of funding a personal injury claim. If your solicitor believes you have a valid electric shock claim, they will offer you a no win no fee service, also known as a conditional fee agreement, unless another funding option suits you better.
No win no fee is a written agreement whereby your solicitor takes the risk of working on your case without asking for any upfront fees. Moreover, they only get paid if your electric shock injury claim is successful.
As a standard part of any conditional fee agreement, your solicitor will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf. This is a legal expenses insurance that provides full coverage for the costs incurred during claiming if you lose the claim, such as:
- The opponent’s solicitor fees
- Medical and police reports
- Court fees
- Barrister and expert fees
- Copying/printing costs
As soon as you take legal action, you run the risk that you might have to cover the defendant’s legal costs if you lose the case. The ATE insurance provides peace of mind, knowing that you will not be left out of pocket if your claim fails. You only have to pay for the cost of the ATE insurance if you win compensation, and the cost of the premium is usually modest.
If you win the electric shock claim, the defendant is liable to pay most or all of your legal costs. You might have to cover some basic expenses that cannot be recovered from the other side and a success fee to your solicitor.
The success fee reflects the risk involved in a conditional fee agreement of your solicitor only being paid if the claim is won. Success fees cannot exceed 25% of the compensation you receive, and the percentage will be explained and agreed upon right from the beginning, so there will be no hidden or unexpected costs.