Protecting against electrocution, electrical shock injuries, after a car accident
Written by Jeffrey Feldman (http://www.electrocuted.com/author/jeffrey-feldman/
Important safety tips: Be aware; if safety is questionable, wait for trained rescuers to arrive; make sure power lines are de-energized; ‘ground’ sources of electricity
The horrible thing about the dangers of electrocution is that because people can’t see surging electricity – say from a downed power line – they often don’t know they’re in grave danger – until it’s too late.
As I’ve written before on the pages of this Electrocution Lawyer blog, this happens when a utility’s electrical wires fall down in someone’s backyard (http://www.electrocuted.com/2016/12/15/detroit-power-lines/
). It happens when a power line falls onto a person’s car (http://www.electrocuted.com/2017/02/02/power-line-escape/
But what about the dangers of electrocution and electrical shock injury after a car accident?This is something new and quickly emerging in the field of electrocution law. During my first 36 years of litigating electrocution lawsuits, the risk of death or serious injury from a car accident was almost non-existent, unless it was from a power line or electrical strike of the car itself.
But that was before cars started to resemble computers on wheels, as they do today.
And we didn’t have electrical cars 36 years ago.
This is a relatively new but still very serious danger for people. I’ve now seen first-hand the risks that arise to vehicle occupants and first responders and well-intentioned people coming to offer assistance from such car accidents.
A tragedy that occurred in Valley Village in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California (https://usnews.newsvine.com/_news/2012/08/23/13433684-2-good-samaritans-electrocuted-trying-to-help-car-crash-victim
), highlights the urgency of getting a utility’s lineworkers to the scene of a serious car accident as soon as possible.
Specifically, two women were electrocuted and killed, and five other people suffered electrical shock injuries when they rushed to help a car accident victim and came into contact with electrified water.
The motor vehicle accident victim had crashed into a fire hydrant and utility pole, knocking down a power line. The water gushing from the hydrant pooled under the car and the downed power line electrified the water.
When the well-intentioned, altruistic rescuers encountered the electrically-charged water, they received electrical shocks, which, for two people, were fatal and caused mortal injury.
What made matters even worse was that as people tried to help the injured rescuers, they, too, were hurt. Said one bystander: “‘I see two or three young gentlemen keep trying to rescue them and pull them to safety and each time they would try to pull them there were getting shocked.’”
It’s important to take note of what first-responders did to stay safe and to restore safety:
- “When Los Angeles firefighters arrived to the scene, they used rubber gloves and a long pole to pull the two women, who lay motionless on the ground, from the water.”
- “The Department of Water and Power shut off the water supply to the fire hydrant and electricity to the power lines.”
Additionally, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department noted:
“This tragic accident, in some ways can serve as a warning … Many people, with nothing but the best intentions, were injured and killed while trying to save others. This reminds all who want to help at the scene of an emergency to stay aware of their surroundings, and if there is any question as to safety, please wait for trained rescuers to arrive.”
I’ve been very outspoken in the past about how important it is that electrical linemen and first-responders (http://www.electrocuted.com/2016/05/04/downed-power-line-protect-first-responders/
) work well together to make sure that safety is restored as quickly as possible:
“[E]lectrical line workers are crucial. Linemen who arrive at a scene must de-energize a system by cutting off power to live lines and installing grounds to make the area safe. And letting all of the first responders know the wires are off is clearly imperative. Assuming wires are de-energized in such an emergency situation is a recipe for further disaster.”
The same can be said about alerting the public, first-responders and any passerby who would offer aid or assistance to a car accident victim about the hidden dangers involved.
This content has been taken from http://www.electrocuted.com/2017/02/26/protecting-against-electrocution-electrical-shock-injuries-after-car-accidents/