According to the American Burn Association, an estimated 450,000 Americans seek medical treatment for burns each year. Burn injuries are a leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with approximately 3,500 Americans perishing from burn injuries annually. Accident statistics indicate that about 50 percent of burn injuries are preventable. If a burn injury is the result of negligence or misconduct, the responsible party may face criminal and civil charges and penalties.
Types of Burn Injuries
Heat burns are the most common type of burns. Heat burns may be caused by steam, fire, hot liquids, or contact with heated appliances or objects. Other types of injuries, such as inhalation injuries, may also result from the incident that caused the burns.
Besides heat burns, there are several other types of burns injuries, including:
- Friction burns
- Electrical burns
- Chemical burns
- Radiation burns
Degrees of Burns
The severity of a burn is classified taking into account factors such as how many layers of skin are affected and whether other tissue and organs are affected. First degree burns are the mildest types of burns, although first degree burns can be dangerous if a large area of the body is burned. The most severe burns are sixth degree burns. However, these are rarely reported, as victims seldom survive fourth, fifth, or sixth degree burns.
Burn Injuries Causes and Liability
Many burns are caused by faulty equipment and negligence in workplaces. Workers’ compensation often covers medical treatment for burn injuries that have occurred at a workplace, but may only cover a portion of lost wages and does not compensate victims for pain and suffering. Workers choosing to utilize workers’ compensation should be aware that doing so waives the right to pursue legal action for the injury. It may be in the best interests of injured workers to seek the opinion of a burn injury attorney before utilizing workers’ compensation.
Burn injuries may also result from traffic accidents. Associated costs may be covered by a driver’s PIP insurance coverage. The burn injury claim may be paid by the injured driver’s insurance company or the at fault driver’s insurance company, depending on the details of the situation and the state laws in which the accident occurred. If burn injuries are severe or cause wrongful death, a burn injury attorney may be able to provide advice about seeking compensation from the driver that was determined to be at fault.
Apartment building fires often stem from faulty wiring, unmaintained appliances, and other hazardous situations that are a result of negligence on the part of the building owner or management. Buildings must be maintained to certain standards to prevent these types of incidents, or else the building owner may be liable for injuries that occur. City codes may also mandate that safety precautions such as smoke detectors and fire evacuation plans are put in place. Failure to follow city codes may result in fines for the building owner, in addition to other civil and criminal penalties that may be levied.
Results of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can cause severe physical pain, but may also cause scarring, disfigurement, and emotional trauma. Burn injuries can become infected, result in nerve damage, and cause other types of secondary injuries and illnesses. Treating the physical and emotional damage that has resulted from burn injuries may also cause burn victims financial hardship and additional stress.
Orlando Burn Injury Claims
Burn injury lawyers may be able to help burn victims recover compensation for the costs of medical treatment, emotional therapy, and lost wages. In addition, burn injury lawyers often help victims pursue compensation for general damages such as pain and suffering. If it is determined that burn injuries resulted from negligence or misconduct, the responsible party may also be ordered to pay punitive damages to the victim as a penalty to discourage future wrongdoing.
Burn Injury Lawyers
Burn injury lawyers understand what information is necessary to file a successful burn injury claim. Burn injury lawyers may assist in gathering medical reports, police reports, fire department reports, safety inspections, and other helpful documentation to prove liability for burn injuries. Burn victims are encouraged to seek a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible in order to expedite burn injury claims.
“Burn Incidence and Treatment in the United States: 2013 Fact Sheet.” American Burn Association. American Burn Association, n.d. Web. 8 Jun 2014. <http://www.ameriburn.org/resources_factsheet.php>
“Burns.” Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 May 2014. Web. 8 Jun 2014. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/burns.html>
“Burns.” WHO. World Health Organization, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 8 June 2014. <http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/other_injury/burns/en/>