A recent injury settlement in Painesville, Ohio has brought to light the serious ramifications of taser misuse. Tasers may not be considered lethal objects, but in fact their use has resulted in serious injury and even death.
The Long Term Effects of Taser Use
Tasers are commonly used to defuse situations without the use of deadly force. Unfortunately in some instances, being tazed can result in long-term physical complications.
Heart Injury resulting from taser use is not uncommon. Prolonged ‘tazing’ can result in arrhythmia and heart attacks. If the victim survives, he/she faces a lifetime of medical care, medications, dietary and lifestyle changes and more.
Brain Injury can also occur from taser use. In the taser case mentioned earlier, the individual was ‘only’ tazed for 26 seconds. I use the word ‘only’ very loosely. The average cycle on a taser is about 5 seconds, so 26 seconds is 5x the standard cycle time. Lack of oxygen, and loss of consciousness can occur resulting in a severe impact on brain function. Motor skill deficits, judgment, concentration and speech can be adversely altered by a traumatic brain injury. This particular victim reportedly now suffers from cognitive deficits and memory loss, and is expected to need lifetime care as a result.
Impact Injuries may not be as dramatic as depicted on the big screen, but the loss of bodily control during the ‘tazing’ process will likely lead the individual to fall to the ground. This can result in impact with walls, furniture and other objects. These injuries should not be taken lightly as they can be cause for lifelong pain and suffering. Rehabilitation and drug therapies can become the new daily routine.
As with any injury case I handle, my two priorities are to gain fair compensation for my client and to set the precedent for future changes in training, policies and safe operation. The Painesville Police Department has made positive strides for taser safety since this event. The department trains officers more thoroughly on proper operation, recognizing the signs of trauma and other related case scenarios. While a taser is a valuable tool for law enforcement personnel, proper training is essential for safe operation.