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New Jersey contractor suffers severe electrical shock

Some Bergen County jobs are more dangerous than others, but that does not excuse negligence when a worker is injured or dies. Many employees hurt at work never look beyond workers' compensation benefits to cover their losses. They could be missing the chance to receive a damage award through a New Jersey civil claim.

Early reports of an accident in Alloway Township didn't identify a man who was shocked by 7,200 volts of electricity while doing work on a utility pole. The website NJ.com later reported that the 52-year-old victim was an out-of-state man, employed by a contractor for Atlantic City Electric.

An updated report said the worker had been assigned to do a maintenance project. The electrical accident took place while the man was standing in a work bucket attached to a truck. Responders apparently managed to lower the bucket and perform CPR until medical personnel arrived.

The hospital where the man was flown confirmed that the employee's condition remained critical a day after the accident. Reports did not say what injuries the contract worker suffered. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, electrical burns can cause severe tissue damage, internal hemorrhaging and muscle or nerve injuries that may lead to death.

The internal injuries are caused by a rush of heat as electricity moves through the body. Electricity also triggers violent muscle contractions, strong enough to shatter bones. Muscle contractions also can prevent a victim from letting go of the object that's shocking them or cause a fatal fall.

Electrical burns may occur in any setting, but are more likely when someone works regularly in unsafe conditions or with a defective product. An industrial, warehouse or manufacturing accident may be the fault of a third party. Victims who suffer serious injuries and their families can learn what qualifies as a liability claim and whether compensation is available by speaking with an attorney.

Source: South Jersey Times, "Man shocked in Alloway during utility pole work in critical condition, police say" Alex Young, Mar. 11, 2014

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