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Legal Blog

Electrical Hazards Due to Missing AFCIs and GFCIs

Electrical hazards, which include fires and electric shock, are a common cause of injury and death in both the workplace and homes in the United States. If you have been injured due to the recklessness or negligence of another person, contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at (281) 283-8500 to find out how we can help you.

Common Electrical Injuries Can Be Prevented

On average, 400 people die from electrocution each year, and 4,400 are injured due to various electrical hazards, according to the American Burn Association. In addition, there are an estimated 141,000 electrical fires every year, which result in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. The National Safety Council reports that electrical accidents account for nearly one workplace fatality every day and nearly 4,000 workplace injuries each year.

There are four main types of electrical injuries: electrocution (fatal), electric shock, burns, and falls. If you experience an electrical injury at home or work, you may be able to recover compensation. Depending on your situation, any of the following may be held responsible for your injuries through a premises liability claim:

  • Your landlord
  • A maintenance company
  • A building or business owner
  • Your employer

Many of the electrical hazards that lead to injury and death are caused by aging or damaged wiring systems. Residential and business electrical systems should be maintained regularly in order to prevent common electrical injuries. The use of arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) and ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death due to electrical hazards. While AFCIs address potential fire hazards, GFCIs help prevent electrocution hazards. In order to be effective, these devices must be properly maintained and should installed by a professional.

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)

An arc-fault is the unintentional discharge of electricity in a circuit caused by damaged, overheated, or stressed electrical wiring or devices. Arc-fault conditions are particularly dangerous because they can go undetected and can produce incredibly high temperatures, thereby increasing the risk of a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 50-75 percent of all electrical homes fires in the United States are caused by arc-fault conditions.

AFCIs continuously monitor the electrical current in a circuit and provide protection by de-energizing the circuit when an arc-fault is detected. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 50 percent of electrical fires can be prevented with the proper use of AFCIs.

Your landlord, employer, or other person who maintains property should ensure that electrical circuits are not damaged or stressed. If they are notified that there could be a problem, they have a duty to investigate the situation or hire a professional to provide maintenance. If they do not, they may be responsible for any injuries that occur as a result.

Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

A ground fault is an unintentional electrical path between a power source and a grounded surface that can result in severe burns, shock, or electrocution. Ground faults most typically occur when equipment is damaged or defective, or when electrical parts are wet and being used in a high-risk area (e.g. kitchens, bathrooms).

GFCIs continuously monitor current flowing through a circuit and are designed to detect if the current flowing into the circuit differs from the returning current. These devices help prevent the risk of electrocution, electrical burns, and shock injuries by quickly shutting off electrical power when a ground fault or leak is detected.

GFCIs have been around since the 1970s and have helped reduce the number of annual deaths from electrocutions from 800 to fewer than 200. However, research from the Electrical Safety Foundation International indicates that nearly one-half of U.S. households never test their GFCIs, but that as many as 10 percent could be damaged.

Damaged or defective electrical parts can be dangerous. Although user error can contribute to injuries, proper maintenance can greatly reduce the risk that an incident will occur. If you are concerned about your safety, you should contact the person or company responsible for maintaining the damaged or defective electrical system. If nothing is done to prevent injury, you should contact our experienced premises liability attorneys for a free consultation of your situation.

Contact An Experienced Houston Personal Injury Attorney For Help

If you or a loved one has sustained an electrical injury due to a missing AFCI or GFCI in your home or workplace, contact the Houston personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. right away to discuss your legal options. Our skilled team of attorneys has extensive experience representing accident victims throughout the Houston area, and we always fight for the maximum possible compensation in every Texas personal injury case.

Contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at (281) 283-8500 to receive your free, no-obligation consultation.