Electric Shock Compensation

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If you or someone close to you have suffered an electric shock injury in Queensland due to the negligence or fault of another party, you might wonder if you're entitled to electric shock injury compensation.

This straightforward guide aims to help you understand the intricacies of claiming compensation, including your rights to compensation, common causes of such injuries, an overview of the claims process, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim specific to Queensland. 

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After an Electric Shock Injury in Queensland

As a victim of an electric shock injury, it's important to understand your rights to claim compensation. As well as making a common law claim, there are several compensation schemes available to you depending on the circumstances of your accident: 

  • Workplace accidents: In the event of a work-related electric shock injury, two types of claims can be made. You can either make a statutory claim via WorkCover Queensland or, if your employer is self-insured, their workers' compensation scheme. Regardless of fault, you can make a claim. If there's employer negligence involved, you may pursue a common law claim.
  • Car and road accidents: Queensland requires all drivers to carry compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance. This provides compensation for injuries sustained in road accidents due to someone else's negligence.
  • Public Place Accidents: If you encounter an electric shock in a public place due to negligence, you can make a common law claim against the area's public liability insurer.

Electric shock injuries can range from mild to extreme. If you've been injured and it wasn't your fault, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer who can advise you if you can make a claim. 

Smith's Lawyers offer a free case review where you can understand your options.

Common Causes of Electric Shock Injuries

In 2019, there were over 150 reported cases of serious electrical injuries in Queensland. That's not to mention the thousands that likely go unreported each year. Electrical accidents can happen to anyone but are particularly common in the workplace. No matter where you get injured, when it's serious it can seriously affect how you live your life.

Here are some common causes of electric shock injuries: 

  • Faulty wiring or equipment: Damaged cords, loose connections, or poorly maintained equipment can cause electric shock injuries. Regular safety checks and equipment maintenance can significantly reduce these risks.
  • Inadequate training: A severe electrical shock can happen if a person handling electrical equipment is not properly trained. The most common cause of electrical injuries in Queensland workplaces is inadequate safety procedures. It highlights the importance of adequate safety training in the workplace.
  • Improperly installed electrical systems: If safety standards are not observed during installation, electrical systems can pose a significant risk. Contractors should always follow the safety procedures and guidelines.
  • Contact with overhead power lines: This is a common cause of severe injuries, especially in the construction industry. Always ensure that there's a safe distance maintained from these lines during work operations.
  • Exposure to Water: Water can conduct electricity, increasing the risk of shock. Always keep electrical equipment away from water, especially in jobs that involve working around water.
Common Types of Electric Shock Injuries

Not all electric shocks are the same. How badly you are injured depends on several things, including the voltage, current pathway, and duration of contact. Some of the most common types of injury include:

  • Electrical burns: These can occur when electricity comes into direct contact with the skin. The severity of an electrical burn can range from superficial to deep, burning not only the skin but also the underlying tissues and organs. This is common in workplace accidents, particularly in environments where electrical equipment is prevalent.
  • Cardiac arrest: A sudden electric shock can disrupt your heart's normal rhythm, leading to instant cardiac arrest. This occurs when a surge of electricity passing through the body momentarily stops the heart. Such incidents are not merely confined to workplaces; they can happen anywhere, including public spaces with improper wiring.
  • Neurological effects: Electric shocks can also affect the nervous system, leading to conditions like Neuropraxia, a temporary loss of nerve function. The impact could range from mild numbness to severe paralysis, depending upon the intensity of the shock and the body part affected.
  • Muscle, bone, and tissue damage: Electric shocks can sometimes cause serious damage to bones, muscles, and tissues. This generally happens due to the intense heat generated by the current passing through the body, leading to tissue necrosis or, in extreme cases, bone fractures. This is most notably seen in road and construction site accidents.
  • Psychological trauma: It's important to note that not all impacts of electric shock are physical. Anyone who has suffered an electric shock injury may experience psychological effects such as anxiety, sleep disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you've suffered an injury like those mentioned and it wasn't your fault, you may be entitled to make an electric shock injury claim. Personal injury solicitors, such as Smith's Lawyers, could help you understand your case.

Workers Most at Risk of Electric Shock Injuries

In Australia and New Zealand, 80% of electric shock fatalities happen in the workplace. Some roles tend to have a higher risk of an electric shock at work than others due to the nature of what they do. Some of the most at-risk include: 

  • Construction industry: Workers on building sites can come into contact with live wires or incorrect electrical installations during their shifts. Death from electric shock injuries is the second most common cause of work-related fatalities in the construction industry. Additionally, outdoor worksites might have overhead power lines, increasing risk.
  • Electricians: As they tend to deal with electricity directly, they're at a higher risk for electric shock injuries. They frequently encounter live wires, deal with electrical installations, and handle electrically powered equipment. Having to work both indoors and outdoors raises the risk of interacting with live power sources.
  • Maintenance workers: Those who perform routine maintenance or repairs can be at risk of electric shock injuries. This is most prevalent when they are required to service electrical systems or deal with faulty equipment or wiring.
  • Manufacturing industry: Workers in the manufacturing sector often work with large, power-reliant machinery that can malfunction due to electrical faults. Improperly installed or maintained machinery or a lack of safety features can enhance the risk of shocks.
  • Agricultural workers: Farm workers can face the risk of electric shocks from defective or improperly maintained equipment. Risks can also come from exposure to power lines, especially when handling large farming equipment.

If you believe you have suffered an injury at work, then you could claim electric shock compensation. Speaking to a solicitor who specialises in personal injury claims could help you understand your options.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

Making an electric shock claim can be a daunting experience, especially if you're still recovering from the accident. We've created a general guide for what you can expect to go through when pursuing an electric shock compensation claim.

Remember, your health should be your first priority. So make sure to seek medical attention immediately after the incident and before you set out on the claims journey.

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage, or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need to Support My Electric Shock Injury Claim?

Like most personal injury claims, compensation for electric shock will need evidence. Gathering as much information as you can about your accident is essential to ensure your claim's success. Here are the types of evidence you may need: 

  • Medical reports: Detailed records provided by your healthcare provider are a vital piece of evidence for electric shock compensation. These will highlight the extent of your injuries, necessary treatments, related costs, and the anticipated duration of your recovery.
  • Witness testimonies: If your accident was witnessed by others, their accounts can play a key role in corroborating your claims. Written or spoken statements from witnesses can significantly shift the balance of proof in your favour.
  • Proof of accident: If you can provide photos, security footage, or documents concerning the accident scene, it will considerably bolster your claim. For instance, documenting the malfunctioning equipment or the unsafe environment can demonstrate negligence.
  • Details of expense: Keep a thorough record of all associated costs stemming from the accident. This might include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, travel expenses for medical appointments or required home modifications.
  • Proof of lost earnings: If your injury has prevented you from going to work, this evidence can be particularly valuable. Pay slips, bank statements or a letter from your employer can help substantiate a loss of income claim.

All electric shock injury claims are unique, so you may need to provide as much evidence as you can. Smith's Lawyers offer a free, no-obligation case review which could help you understand what evidence will help your case.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

When it comes to calculating your compensation after an electric shock injury, different factors come into play. The compensation primarily aims to put you in the same position you would have been if the accident had not happened. When the courts are considering a claim, they will commonly look at: 

  • Past and future loss of earnings: Compensation accounts for financial losses you have incurred and potential future losses as a result of the injury. This also includes loss of superannuation contributions due to the inability to work.
  • Hospital and medical expenses: Your compensation should cover not only your current medical expenses but also any future medical costs that are directly linked to your injury.
  • Rehabilitation costs: You may require additional physiotherapy or rehabilitation following an electric shock injury. Your compensation claim can include the financial burden of these treatments.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation also acknowledges the emotional trauma and distress that comes with experiencing such an injury. It's recognised that your quality of life may have been significantly impacted.

However, it's important to understand that the same injury does not result in a set payout amount. An early-career employee who loses the ability to work may earn more compensation than an employee close to retirement, for instance, as the younger employee will lose out on more years in the workforce.

It’s best to work with a lawyer who understands the nuances of compensation claims to ensure you are getting your maximum entitlement.

Time Limits for Electric Shock Injuries

In Queensland, you should note that electric shock injury claims usually need to be made within three years of the incident. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment. 
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have nine months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the nine months but must be within three years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have one month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (one month vs nine months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within one month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have three months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the three-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard nine-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have three years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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I was injured by a faulty appliance; who is responsible?

Liability can fall on different parties depending on the circumstances:

  • Product Liability: Claims can be made against the manufacturer or retailer of the appliance if a design or manufacturing defect led to the shock.
  • Property Owner Negligence: If you were injured in a rental or commercial property due to unsafe wiring or a defective appliance provided by the landlord, they could face a negligence claim.
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Could an electric shock injury have delayed/long-term impacts on my health?

Unfortunately, yes. While minor shocks may have transient effects, more severe electric shocks can result in:

  • Nerve Damage: Potential tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and chronic pain stemming from nerve damage.
  • Heart Problems: Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), cardiac distress, and increased risk of long-term cardiovascular complications can occur.
    Cognitive Issues: In some cases, impairments in memory, attention, and concentration can result, particularly after significant electrical burns.
  • Psychological Distress: Trauma, anxiety, and sleep disturbances after serious electrical shocks are common.
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Who do I need to prove was negligent for a successful electric shock claim?

The liable party varies greatly based on the specifics of your injury:

  • Employers: Their duty of care extends to providing safe equipment and ensuring electrical standards are met.
    Landlords: They have a legal obligation to maintain safe premises, including electrical installations.
  • Electricians: Negligent electrical work can create severe safety hazards.
  • Manufacturers: Faulty electrical products could give rise to a negligence claim.

Important: Legal advice tailored to your situation is vital. Experienced personal injury lawyers can help establish where negligence lies and investigate all possible compensation routes.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically, with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options to Electric Shock Compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
March 14, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.