Hot tub electrocution is a serious danger that can cause death or serious injury. It occurs when faulty wiring or poorly maintained equipment releases an electrical current into the water, which can enter the bodies of people in the hot tub. There are signs to watch for and safety precautions that can be taken.
Can you get electrocuted in a hot tub?
You can get electrocuted in a hot tub. If electrical current is sent into the hot tub water as a result of faulty underwater lighting or wiring or ungrounded pumps or filters, then the electrified water can cause the electrical current to enter the bodies of anyone in the hot tub and electrocute them.
Signs of hot tub electrocution
Signs that electricity or an electrical current may be posing a risk of a hot tub electrocution or electric shock to you or others include: (1) a tingling sensation; (2) muscle cramps; (3) not being able to move; and/or (4) feeling like something is holding you in place.
Can hot tub electrocution involve electric shock drowning?
It can involve electric shock drowning. This occurs when an electrical current is sent into the hot tub water and the electrified water serves as a conductor of the electricity as it passes through the body of the person in the hot tub. Paralysis and possible drowning can result.
What are the causes?
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has identified the following as hazards as potential causes of hot tub electrocutions:
- Faulty underwater lighting
- Aging electrical wiring that has not been inspected in years
- The use of sump pumps, filters, power washers, and vacuums that are not grounded
- Electrical appliances (such as radios, TVs, stereos)
- Extension cords and power cords falling or being pulled into the water
- Lack of GFCI protection (Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupters) for lighting, circuits, switches, fixtures, outlets and other electrical receptacles
Can you file a lawsuit if injured or killed?
If you or a loved one suffered injuries after a hot tub electrocution, then you may have a lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation and other damages for your injuries. If you lost a loved one in a hot tub electrocution, you may have a wrongful death lawsuit.
The potentially responsible parties in such lawsuits include the business or homeowner that owns the hot tub, the company that installed the hot tub, the electricians and/or contractors who were responsible for inspecting, maintaining and operating the hot tub and anyone who was responsible for overseeing and supervising people’s use of the hot tub.
Hot tub deaths by electrocution statistics
Between 2002 and 2018, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that there were 47 incidents involving injury or death in hot tubs, pools and spas. These incidents resulted in 33 fatalities and 33 injuries.
Being proactive about ensuring that the area in and around a hot tub is safe, properly maintained and repaired and free of electrical hazards is the best way to prevent a hot tub electrocution.
The CPSC recommends that “inspection, detection, and correction of electrical hazards” in or near a hot tub is the “best protection for families.”
In fact, the CPSC offers the following safety tips for preventing this type of accident:
- Know where all of the electrical switches and circuit breakers are for the hot tub and lights are located and how to turn them off immediately in the event of an emergency
- Stay out of the water during thunderstorms (for outdoor hot tubs)
- Have a qualified electrician regularly inspect and upgrade your hot tub to ensure that it is compliant with the National Electrical Code and local codes
- Make sure that all electrical wires, switches, outlets and junction boxes are located five feet or more away from water (as required by the NEC)
- Install GFCIs on underwater lighting circuits, pumps and electrical equipment, electrical circuits and receptacles
- Test GFCIs monthly
- Use battery-operated appliances instead of cord-connected appliances in and around the hot tub
- Post an emergency plan within clear view of those using the hot tub
- Make sure that overhead power lines and junction boxes are positioned at a safe distance from the hot tub
Need help from an experienced electrocution lawyer?
If you or someone you love is a victim of serious personal injury or death caused by electricity, you can call and speak with Jeff Feldman, perhaps the nation’s most experienced electrocution attorney. Jeff has litigated cases involving low hanging power lines and against utility companies in states throughout the country. You can call toll free at (800) 548-0043 for a free consultation.
(Source: U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, “Don’t Swim With Shocks – CPSC, American Red Cross Warn of Electrocutions in Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas,” Release number: 03-125; U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, “Don’t Swim with Shocks: Electrical Safety In and Around Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs,” Safety Education, Safety Guide)