A burn is an injury to the skin or other organic tissue primarily caused by heat or due to radiation, electricity, friction, cold, or chemicals. Burn injuries can be very serious, and even life-threatening. A burn injury can leave the victim with physical and emotional scars for life.
Burn Injury Statistics
Serious burn injuries are far more common than most people realize. The following facts and statistics from the American Burn Association show the frequency and severity of burn injuries in the United States:
Types and Causes of Burn Injuries
A burn injury usually results from some sort of energy transfer to the body. Wounds resulting from burn injuries can be challenging to treat because burns differ in their types and severity.
There are different types and causes for burn injuries.
Most thermal burn injuries can be prevented by wearing adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) using fire prevention tactics and by having procedures and emergency action plans related to fire detection and protection.
Industry standards require that all workers who may come into contact with any chemicals be knowledgeable in Hazard Communication. Hazard Communication training covers the symbols and labels that communicate the risk level of chemicals. These labels should also include the steps workers can take to prevent burns if they encounter dangerous chemicals.
To avoid burns from electrical sources, high-voltage areas and machinery should be clearly marked. Workers should also make sure to identify live wires, avoid contact with water while working with electricity, and wear the personal protective equipment necessary to avoid burns by electricity. As with chemical burns workers should be trained on the types of electrical hazards they may find on a worksite and the standards that help avoid accidents.
Levels and Treatment of Burn Injuries
What is done to treat a burn in the first few minutes after it occurs can make a huge difference in the severity of the injury and the recovery process. For severe burns, immediate emergency care can even be lifesaving. Please do not attempt to treat serious burns unless you are a trained health professional.
First-degree burns will usually heal without significant treatment. However, if a first-degree burn covers a large area of the body, or the victim is an infant or elderly, emergency medical attention may be necessary.
Those who have suffered second-degree burns should immediately seek emergency medical attention.
The signs of a third-degree burns include a loss of multiple layers of skin, the remaining skin may feel dry and leathery and may appear charred or have patches that appear white, brown or black. Third-degree burns are often painless themselves, but because they are typically surrounded by patches of first and second-degree burns a victim may still experience pain.
Immediate medical attention is required for third-degree burns.
Immediate emergency medical attention is required for fourth degree burns and they will require extremely specialized treatment. The burn victim will need to be kept in a sterile hospital room until their wounds heal completely to prevent a possible secondary infection, which could be fatal. Even after the wound has healed, the victim usually requires extensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy just to be able to perform ordinary, everyday activities.
Workplace Burn Injuries
While a very large majority of burn injuries occur at home, workplace burns are a preventable source of injury. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has specific standards and regulations that employers must follow for fire and burn safety in the workplace and for the use and handling of hazardous chemicals and gases.
OSHA has released statistics regarding workplace burn injuries in the United States.
Possible Causes of Workplace Burns
Some common causes of workplace burn injuries include:
Some occupations that involve burn hazards include (but are not limited to):
Prevention of the Most Common Workplace Burns
Here to Help Victims of Burn Injuries
Burns can be among the most serious of all injuries, requiring surgery, physical therapy, and extensive rehabilitation. Burn injury victims suffer in ways many have difficulty understanding. In many cases, the event that caused the burn injury could have been avoided if the proper safety regulations were followed.
At Armstrong & Lee LLP, we understand how serious a burn injury can be, which is why we are dedicated to helping burn victims and their families. If you have suffered a burn injury in an accident that you believe was someone else’s fault we urge you to contact our law office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. Call 832-709-1124.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who do I hold responsible for causing my burn injury?
Who is responsible for your burn injury may not be obvious. The event that caused the burns may not have happened because of some obvious reckless or negligent action. Frequently burn injuries are caused by a malfunctioning product or faulty equipment. There may be multiple defendants in your case including an employer, property owner, equipment manufacturer, machinery installer, gas company, electrical company, or others. The attorneys at Armstrong & Lee are ready to hold any at-fault party financially responsible for your injuries.
Q: Does my attorney need to hire experts to prove my case?
Legally, it will be necessary prove how a negligent or intentional act directly caused your injuries and identify who committed that act. Even when it is obvious what happened to cause your injuries it may not be easy to prove who is responsible. In burn injury cases experts are often needed to prove who is the responsible party.
Q: What can I expect to receive as compensation?
There are two main types of monetary compensation available in burn injury cases.
The first is economic damages which include the amount of your past, ongoing and future medical expenses to treat your injuries, your past and future lost wages, and the cost of your future out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injuries.
The second is non-economic damages which are specific to you and your injuries and include your pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, impairment, and disfigurement.
Q: How are my damages calculated?
To determine how much you may be entitled to recover depends on the circumstances surrounding your injury. The type of burn injury, the severity of the burns, the treatment necessary, and the fault of the involved parties are all used to determine a fair compensation amount. For example, very serious burns can cause a loss of fingers or other body parts, lung damage, severe scarring, mobility issues and a multitude of other factors that should be included in compensation calculations. Having an experienced personal injury attorney such as those here at Armstrong & Lee are recommended to make sure nothing is left out.
Q: What happens if I was partially at fault for causing my injuries?
Answer: Even when are partially at fault for causing the event which lead to your injuries you may still be able to seek legal action. If your portion of responsibility for causing the event is less than or equal to 50% of the overall fault, then monetary recovery is still possible. However, there are some circumstances which would prevent you from any recovery such as if you were more than 50% at fault for your own injuries. If you have sustained burn injuries and believe that someone else is responsible, contact the attorneys at Armstrong & Lee to discuss your case and possible next steps.