According to the American Burn Association, an estimated 450,000 burn victims received medical treatment in 2013. From this total, 40,000 were hospitalized, including 30,000 at hospital burn centers.
The 2013 National Burn Repository Annual Report had other key findings, including:
- About 69% of the burn victims were men.
- The mean age (sum of the ages of all burn victims, divided by the total number of victims) for all burn victims was 32 years old.
- About 20% of the burn victims involved children under the age of 5.
- About 12% of the burn victims were 60 years old or older.
- Almost 8 out of 10 reported cases were caused by fire/flame and scalds (something wet, such as hot water or steam).
- 72% of the burn injuries were reported to have occurred in the home.
- 70% of the injuries were caused by non-work related accidents.
- About 5.9% of fire/flame injured victims suffered pneumonia, which was the most frequent complication.
- For those victims who were hospitalized but did not survive their injuries, the medical bills per case for their death were over 3 times greater than those charges for a surviving victim. In fact, these charges averaged nearly $13,000 more than the surviving victims.
Burns are generally caused when the skin is exposed to fire, flame, laser, light, chemicals, electricity or fast moving part (such as a rotor wheel).
Sometimes, car accident victims suffer burns when their airbag deploy in the accident, releasing the airbag with force and chemicals.
Damages and Scarring
Burn injuries can be devastating. They result in severe physical injuries, severe pain, and cause emotional damage to the victim and his/her family.
After a burn heals, there may be scarring, which can be permanent unless it is properly handled by a professional.
- Less severe burns (superficial partial thickness burns) that heal in less than 10 days generally may develop into a scar.
- More severe burns (deep partial thickness burns) that heal between 14 and 21 days, may place the victim at a risk of scarring.
- Burns that take more than 21 days to heal (full thickness burns) and burns that require skin grafting are at high risk for developing scars.
Incidents resulting in burn injuries are generally based in tort law – negligence or products liability.
In order to prove negligence, the victim must prove a list of elements:
1. Must prove that the responsible party owed a duty of care to the victim;
2. The responsible party breached this duty of care.
3. The responsible party’s breach was the direct and proximate cause of the victim’s burn injuries.
Under a products liability action, the party responsible for the burn injury is generally the party who manufactured or produced the equipment that caused the burn. An example of this would be where a portable heater is manufactured in a defective way, causing burns to a consumer.
An example of this would be where a portable heater is manufactured in a defective way, causing burns to a consumer.
The better course of action would be to prevent such accidents in the first place. Here are some helpful hints for home safety:
- Install and maintain smoke alarms on every floor and near all bedrooms. Test your smoke alarms once a month.
- Create and practice a family fire escape plan, involving the children. Make sure everyone knows at least two ways out of every room and come up with a central meeting place outside.
- Use safe cooking practices. Never leave food unattended on the stove and always supervise or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens, and/or microwaves.
- To prevent burns from scalding water, check your water heater temperature. The Center for Disease Control recommends that water heater thermostats be set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
Different types of burns require different treatment. The best way to protect yourself or a loved one after a burn incident is to seek immediate medical attention.
If you or a loved one are a burn victim and the incident was caused by someone else’s negligence/carelessness or caused by a faulty product, we would be happy to look at your case and provide you with an honest assessment.
What makes us unique is that Burn Injury Attorney Mason Rashtian has litigated thousands of personal injury cases on both sides (from the defense side and the plaintiff’s side). As such, he is very experienced in litigating burn injury accidents and serious injury cases.
There is never a fee unless there is a recovery in the case.
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The Mason Law Firm
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Sherman Oaks, CA 91403