The victims of fires and other burn injuries can suffer an extremely physical and psychological trauma, leaving them with massive medical bills, lost wages, and drastically changed lives. Severe burn injuries can lead to complications that can affect the victim’s overall health and quality of life, these injuries are extremely painful and can lead to extensive scarring. The scarring from burns is often permanent and may require multiple surgeries. The disfigurement from burns can also lead to emotional trauma that may require therapy. If you or a loved one has sustained a burn injury that was caused by another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
Different Types of Burns
Burns are classified by how deep they penetrate the skin. There are three (3) types of burn injuries:
- First-Degree Burns: first-degree burns affect only the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. The burn site is red, painful, dry, and with no blisters. Mild sunburn is an example. Long-term tissue damage is rare and usually consists of an increase or decrease in the skin color.
- Second-Degree Burns: second-degree burns involve the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of skin. The burn site appears red, blistered, and may be swollen and painful.
- Third-Degree Burns: third-degree burns destroy the epidermis and dermis. Third-degree burns may also damage the underlying bones, muscles, and tendons. The burn site appears white or charred. There is no sensation in the area since the nerve endings are destroyed.
- Fourth, Fifth and Sixth-Degree Burns: Burn damage that extends beyond the dermis into deeper tissue like muscle, tendons and even bone is extremely uncommon with a nearly 100% mortality rate. These burns result in complete loss of function for the burned area. The victim of such an extreme injury will require immediate medical treatment in order to provide the best chance of survival. Topical, oral and intravenous antibiotics may all be prescribed to help prevent infection. Treatment may include painful excision (removing dead and damaged skin), amputation and skin grafting.
Common Causes Of Burn Injuries
While burn injuries often occur in the home as a result of touching a hot surface or spilling scalding water, severe burns are frequently caused by another party’s negligence. In particular, burn injuries can be caused by:
- Defective products: Products with design or manufacturing defects or that lack proper warning labels or instructions (e.g. welding tools, electrical equipment, backyard grills), can cause serious burn injuries to consumers.
- Chemical Burns: Exposure to a strong acid or base can result in severe burns. Common causes of chemical burns include ammonia, bleach, automobile battery acid, and pool chlorination products.
- Burns Due to Gas Explosions: Gas explosions can occur due to a defective gas heater, gas stove, or gas line. Gas explosions often result in life-changing injuries that never fully heal.
- Burns Due to Automobile Accidents: Burn injuries can occur in auto accidents when a vehicle catches on fire, a hot liquid is spilled, or oil or gas comes into contact with the body.
- Fire-Related Burn Injuries: Nearly half of all burn injuries are due to direct contact with flames. These injuries often occur due to indoor and outdoor fires, cooking accidents, unattended cigarettes, and fireworks accidents.
- Burns Due to Scalding: About one-third of all burn injuries involve scalding. Scalding injuries occur due to direct contact with steam, spilled coffee, and other hot liquids.
- Premises liability: Property owners can be held liable for unsafe or defective conditions on their properties that result in burn injuries (e.g. faulty wiring that results in an apartment fire).
- Electrical Burns: Electrical burns tend to cause more sub-dermal damage than chemical and thermal burns. Exposure to electricity can also lead to heart complications, brain trauma, and damage to other organs.
- Workplace accidents: Workers are at risk of chemical and thermal burns in industrial and factory accidents, particularly when safety rules and regulations are not followed.
- Automobile accidents: Car accident victims can suffer thermal or friction burns and may also sustain life-threatening injuries if the vehicle catches fire or explodes.
Recovering Damages For Your Burn Injury
If the burn injury was due to the negligence or fault or of another party, California law states that the victim may be entitled to financial compensation such as:
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle damages
- Lost wages
- Life-changing disabilities
- Punitive damages
If you’re reading this because you or someone close to you has suffered burn injuries, you have the right to seek justice and compensation against the person or entity that caused those burns. When you are faced with recovery from a burn injury or dealing with the loss of a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is very important to take action and contact an experienced, qualified catastrophic injury attorney to protect your best interests. We will evaluate your case for free, perform a thorough investigation, identify all responsible parties, and help you fight for the maximum settlement. We have the litigation experience to take your case to trial if necessary.
File your claim and schedule your free consultation in English or Spanish today. Count on an experienced lawyer from Workers’ Advocate Law Group who has extensive experience in fighting for their clients’ rights.