There are numerous well-known hazards that can bring harm or cause the death of swimmers whenever they're in or around bodies of water. Nevertheless, very few individuals ever consider the possibility of being electrocuted while swimming.
The fact of the matter is that yes, you can get electrocuted in a pool. Likewise, swimmers can also be subjected to deadly electrical currents when swimming around docks that are improperly wired. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 33 shock-related pool and spa deaths were reported from 2002-2018.
Regrettably, the true number of freshwater and pool electrocution deaths may be much higher than what official reports state. This is due to the fact that many electrocuted swimmers are killed by what is known as electric shock drowning (ESD)
Electric shock drownings occur when alternating currents (AC) of electricity are present in a body of water usually due to broken or faulty equipment that is present near the water. When this current goes through a swimmer's body, their muscles become paralyzed due to the electrical activity and they are no longer able to swim. As can be expected, without being able to swim and maintain one's head above water, a swimmer will quickly drown.
What is most unfortunate about ESD deaths is the fact that they leave very little trace behind. Unless someone witnessed the drowning, or if they sensed the electricity in the water when they attempted a rescue, then the death is likely to be ruled an ordinary drowning.
With ESDs, no visible injuries are left on the body. Electrocution injuries are quite visible when they occur outside of the water given the fact that the skin will often burn at contact points i.e. hands, feet, etc... However, in the case of electric shock drownings, since the entire body of the victim is submerged, there is no single point of entry of the electrical current into the body.
Electric shock drownings usually take place in private docks and marinas where a source of electricity can be found near the water.
These settings are prime for accidents involving electrocutions in water because individuals will often swim close to the dock where live wiring (such as for lights) is installed. Additionally, in private marinas, boats will often be 'plugged in' while they are tied up to the dock since they must continuously power bilge pumps to stay afloat.
Whether it is due to faulty insulation or simply poor maintenance, the current will flow from the faulty wire or boat, through the water where unsuspecting swimmers are, and into the ground.
Swimming pools can also serve as a prime environment for electrocutions in water. Pools will often have underwater lighting as well as nearby wiring for pumps and other electrical devices required to keep the pool running. Any kind of inadequate wiring/bonding installation, lackluster grounding, or poor upkeep can create a direct link between a source of electricity and the water itself, turning a fun pool into a deadly body of water.
It's only normal to wonder about ways of testing water for electric currents before jumping in, whether referring to a neighborhood pool or lake. However, avoiding such electrocution incidents is not so simple.
In many instances where water electrocution accidents occur, the current that caused the ESD was intermittent and not constant. This is to say, it's possible that at the moment that the swimmer entered the water, the current was not present. However, once swimming, the current begins to flow and the victim drowns only for the current to cease once more.
Moreover, currents running through water may be quite low in power, so much so that they are not initially sensed. An individual may inadvertently swim closer to the electric current and become "trapped," unable to swim away because they've been paralyzed by the current.
It should go without saying that, if at any point during a leisurely swim you feel a tingling sensation, then you should exit the water immediately. Unfortunately, most victims of water electrocutions don't get this chance.
When lives are lost or serious injuries take place, victims and their loved ones have the right to seek justice. There are construction, design, and maintenance standards put in place to avoid swimmers suffering from electrocutions in water. When these incidents do take place, it is very likely that someone's negligence caused it, and those affected have the power to pursue compensation.
The types of personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits that come after electrocutions in water can be very complex in nature. Hiring just any injury attorney to represent you and fight for your rights can prove fruitless.
For this reason, victims of freshwater and pool electrocution should consult a team of lawyers who has experience in this type of case. The team at AquaticAttorneys.com can help you find the experienced legal representation you need to establish a strong case for compensation.
Contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation in which you'll get to ask any questions you may have as well as learn more about the legal process and the validity of your claim. Don't delay as statutes of limitation may prevent you from achieving the compensation you and your loved ones deserve. Call now.