The primary reason we became attorneys in the area of shock injuries and electrocution deaths was because the playing field is so uneven. Most attorneys do not understand the mechanism of electrocution, and the power and utility companies have traditionally bullied personal injury attorneys into low settlements without admitting wrongdoing because of this disparity of knowledge and resources. An easier way of saying this is we just wanted to truly help people and prevent tragic accidents, and this was a field of injury law where an experienced attorney could make a huge difference right away. From each case comes an opportunity for increasing safety awareness, much as we did with requiring public service messages from one utility as a condition of settlement in one tragic death.
Even the most tragic cases can serve as warnings that can save lives. It’s painful to write about, but we wanted to share the lessons from one tragic electrocution accident that can serve as a warning for all parents now.
Recently, a 15-year-old Ohio boy was electrocuted while attempting to conduct an experiment he saw on YouTube, according to the Associated Press.
An Erie County, Ohio sheriff’s deputy confirmed in published reports that Morgan Wojciechowski’s parents found him in the garage of their Vermilion Township home. The teen was trying to conduct an extremely dangerous demonstration called “Jacob’s Ladder,” involving a high-voltage traveling arc of electricity between two points.
Emergency crews were called and took the boy to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The young man was trying the electrical experiment on his own. It was not a school assignment.
The lesson all parents can take from this terrible tragedy is that the Internet and YouTube are the “Wild Wild West.” While a “science experiment” how-to video may seem harmless, it could be dangerous and even deadly, as in Morgan’s case.
And when it comes to electricity, nothing is without risk of great harm.
For example, in one YouTube video for “Lethal Electric Arcs (MOT Jacobs ladder), a warning states, “You can look, but don’t touch! These arcs of plasma are lethal enough to kill on contact! In this project, we’re using an old Microwave Oven Transformer (MOT) to extract some traveling electric arcs.”
Keep this simple rule in mind for your kids’ science projects
The good news is, it’s easy to protect your children while encouraging them to learn.
Remember this simple rule:
Have a qualified adult teacher present for any and all science projects that call for fire, dry ice, electricity and chemicals.
Do not try DIY science projects from the Internet at home. Ask your kids what they’re doing while tinkering in the garage and online.
Our attorneys send our sincere condolences to the young man’s family.
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