Burn Injury Lawyers
If you think about injuries due to an accident, you may think broken bones, whiplash or spinal injuries. They’re all possible, but added to them could be serious burns. They can be some of the most painful injuries one could suffer. If severe enough, these injuries can be fatal or cause disfiguring scars, chronic physical disabilities and psychological and emotional scars.
Causes of burn injuries
Burn injuries can be caused by toxic chemicals on the skin, boiling water or steam, or heat caused by flames in a vehicle accident or structure fire. These types of accidents often occur due to the negligence of one party or another.
- Negligence could be the cause of the collision which resulted in a vehicle fire.
- A chemical or defective item could have been negligently manufactured, sparking a fire.
- A negligent company or person may have improperly maintained a vehicle or building, leading to the fire.
About 486,000 people sought hospital treatment for some kind of burn in 2016, according to the American Burn Association (ABA). According to the ABA:
- Every year there are an estimated 2,745 people killed in residential fires, 310 killed due to vehicle fires and 220 from other types of fires.
- A civilian fire death happens about every 2 hours and 41 minutes in the U.S.
- The odds of a U.S. resident dying from exposure to fire, flames or smoke is 1 in 1,442. According to the National Safety Council, that’s slightly less likely than drowning and about three times more likely than being killed while bicycling.
- About 40,000 people are hospitalized because of burns, with 30,000 of them getting treatment at specialized burn centers.
Serious effects of a Burn Injury
Deep or widespread burns can cause many problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Infection: Burned skin is vulnerable to bacterial infections, and it increases the chances of sepsis (an infection that travels through the bloodstream, affecting the whole body, advancing rapidly and resulting in shock, organ failure and death).
- Low blood volume: Burns damaging blood vessels can result in fluid loss, which can cause low blood volume. If blood and fluid loss are serious enough, it may prevent the heart from pumping enough blood through the body.
- Low body temperature: Skin helps control the body’s temperature. If enough skin is seriously injured, body heat will be lost, making dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia) possible.
- Breathing problems: Breathing in heated air or smoke can burn airways and cause breathing difficulties. Smoke inhalation damages the lungs and can result in respiratory failure.
- Scarring: Burns can cause scars and keloids (ridges of overgrown scar tissue).
- Bone and joint problems: Severe burns can cause enough scar tissue to form that it results in the shortening and tightening of skin, muscles or tendons. This could pull joints out of position.
- Internal injuries: When the body suffers a severe burn, it redirects blood to protect the brain and heart. This can lower oxygen and other important substances to the intestines and lungs, causing damage.
Better treatments and outcomes for victims of burn injuries
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, in the past, the chances of dying due to serious burns were greater than today, when we have improved treatments and understanding of how burns heal. Currently the prospects for severe burn injury victims are much better.
- The number of fatalities due to burns has gone down from roughly 9,000 to about 3,800 a year.
- Those with burns covering 90% of their bodies can survive, though they often suffer permanent impairments. In the past, burns over more than 20% of the body were almost always fatal.
- More than half of burn patients are treated in specialized burn centers, which didn’t exist in the past.
- Improvements have come in wound cleaning, skin replacement, infection control and nutrition. In the past, those surviving serious burns would often die of infections.
- Bioengineering and cell culturing techniques allow the growth of replacement skin created by the patient’s own tissues. This results in more natural healing, better function and less scarring.
- Survival rates have increased dramatically, along with the overall health, functioning and quality of life of survivors.
Many more burn victims are surviving accidents; but depending on its severity, a burn injury can result in ongoing medical treatments and surgeries, along with a lifetime of physical, psychological and emotional challenges. If your severe burn was caused by the negligence of another party, those responsible can be held accountable for their acts through a personal injury lawsuit.
What you should do after a burn injury
If you or a loved one has been injured by a serious burn caused by the negligence of another party, contact an experienced burn injury lawyer at Bley & Evans Trial Attorneys at (844) 443-8385 for assistance with your personal injury claim.