What You Should Know About Burn Injuries
For many people, facing a burn injury is a top fear. According to the American Burn Association, hundreds of thousands of people are treated for burns every year. Tens of thousands are hospitalized, including in burn centers. If you or a loved one has a burn injury due to someone else’s negligence, you need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The Mason Law Firm is here to help you.
The 2013 National Burn Repository (NBR) 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 eight 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 nonwork-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 three 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 air bag deploy in the accident, releasing the air bag with force and chemicals.
Damages And Scarring
Burn injuries can be devastating. They result in severe physical injuries and 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.
Understanding The Law
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:
- Must prove that the responsible party owed a duty of care to the victim
- The responsible party breached this duty of care
- 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.
You Can Prevent Burns
The better course of action would be to prevent such accidents in the first place. Here are some helpful hints for home safety:
- Smoke alarms save lives. Make sure you have smoke alarms on every floor, including near all bedrooms. You should test your smoke alarms once a month.
- Make a plan. Your entire family, including the children, should develop and practice a fire escape plan. Everyone in the house should plan for two ways out of each room. Agree on an outside meeting place.
- Be careful in the kitchen. Pay close attention to food on the stove, and do not let children cook without adult supervision.
- Watch your water temperature. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent scalding.
Different types of burns require different treatments. 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 is 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.