The Three Types of Burns Caused by Electric Shock

According to the American Burn Association, about two-thirds of electrical burns occur in children under the age of thirteen. These burn injuries can be very serious because the electrical current causes more damage than is visible on the surface of the skin. Electrical burn injuries may occur when a child sticks a key or fork in an electrical outlet, chews on an electrical cord or pulls an electric appliance into the bathtub. 

Electrical shock injuries can cause three different types of burns: 

  • Contact Burn – Contact burns result from direct contact with the electric current. The current usually enters the body at one point, then travels through the body and exits at another. Internal damage occurs along the path of the current due to the heat of the electricity.
  • Flash Burn – Flash burns result from the heat of an electrical arc. In this case, the electricity does not enter the body, but moves along the surface. Flash burns may cover a large area of the skin but do not affect the tissues beneath the skin surface.
  • Flame Burn – Flame burns occur when a person comes into contact with articles that have been set on fire by an electrical current. 

The extent of an electrical burn depends on the type of current (AC or DC), the voltage and how well the tissue conducts energy. For example, blood vessels, nerves and muscles conduct electricity better than bones, tendons and skin. Injuries in which the current passes through the heart or the brain can be life-threatening. Since liquids are a good conductor, skin that is wet from either water or perspiration are more prone to electrical burns. 

Electrical burns are very serious and require immediate medical assistance. If your child suffered a severe electrical burn due to the carelessness or negligence of a daycare, school or caregiver, the Todd Law Firm can help. Call me, Georgetown child injury attorney David Todd at 512-472-7799 for a free consultation. Alternatively, you can download a free copy of my book The Seven Deadly Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Texas Accident Case for additional information.

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