Perhaps one of the most terrifying accidents to witness is an electrocution. You may feel helpless and unsure of how to assist the victim without suffering injuries yourself. When an electrocution takes place in the water, the situation is critical. When an electrical current passes through a person's body, it causes the muscles to paralyze. The victim cannot swim to safety, and without immediate rescue, drowning is imminent.
The greatest danger for electric shock drowning occurs in marinas and near boat docks. If a recent day of recreation turned to tragedy when a loved one suffered an electric shock drowning, you may have many questions about how such an incident occurred and what your options are in the aftermath.
The unseen danger of electric currents in water
If electricity is near water, such as at a marina or boat dock, the chances of suffering an ESD increase. This danger is not exclusive to those who are swimming, but this is the most common circumstance. In fact, children swimming near boat docks or in marinas are the most frequent victims of ESD. Tennessee law requires owners of marinas and boat docks to take the following measures to reduce the risk of electrocution for swimmers:
- Receptacles in and around docks and marinas must have ground fault circuit interrupters.
- Owners of marinas and boat docks must post signs that warn swimmers of the danger of electrocution if they come within 100 yards of the dock.
- Owners must comply with routine safety inspections by the State Fire Marshall's Office.
- The SFMO also recommends that boat owners enlist the services of a certified electrician to test their crafts for leaking electricity.
- When electrical issues arise, it is wise for boat or dock owners to hire electricians who have training through the American Boat and Yacht Council and experience with dock and marina standards.
If you and your family practiced reasonable caution and avoided swimming too close to the marina, you have a right to seek information about who may be responsible for the circumstances that resulted in the electric shock drowning of your loved one. It is possible that the accident occurred due to someone else's negligence or failure to comply with Tennessee safety regulations. It may be in the best interests of your family to seek legal counsel and learn about your options for pursuing justice.