In our history of helping people with personal injuries through our practice, burn injuries stand out as one of the most difficult, both physically and mentally, to endure.
Those who do survive a severe burn accident must face a long and slow recuperation. The likelihood for scarring, lifelong health issues and emotional trauma are, unfortunately, part and parcel of this particular type of injury.
Specifics of what survivors may have to deal with include disfigurement, cardiac arrest, life-threatening infections, loss of mobility and bone and joint problems. Many burn victims require countless operations and care for the rest of their lives.
What are the main causes of burn injuries?
House fires are the main cause of burn injuries in the United States; however, there are numerous types of burn injuries from other sources. Those include electrical burns from high-voltage live wires, lightning strikes, chemical burns, and burns from non-fire resistant clothing. There are even several cases where victims received severe burn injuries from cooking spray.
U.S. burn statistics
The National Institute of Health reports that there are approximately 4,500 burn fatalities annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicate an estimated 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention, annually. Of those, 20,000 are burns covering at least 25 percent of the body.
What are the different types of burn injuries?
Thermal burns are the most common type of burn injuries. These can come from excessive heat, open flames, boiling water, hot grease, hot objects and explosions.
Electrical burns, although not necessarily externally obvious, occur when an electrical current courses through the body, and meets resistance from body tissue. In this type of accident, the current can cause burns at entry and exit points, and do damage to muscles, tissues, bones, blood vessels and nerves. It can also cause cardiac arrest, if the current passes through the middle of the body.
Chemical burns occur when the body comes in contact with acids, alkaloids, and other corrosive materials. These materials actually eat away, or burn the skin as they infiltrate deep tissue.
What are the different classifications of burn injuries?
There are four classifications of burn injuries: first degree burns (superficial), which rarely require medical attention; second degree burns (partial thickness), which damage two levels of skin tissue; third degree burns (full thickness), in which all layers of the skin are affected; and fourth-degree burns, which extend into the muscles underneath the skin layers.
When do burn victims need a personal injury attorney?
Burn victims who might need a personal injury attorney are those who received their injuries due to someone else’s negligence. Examples can be a landlord who fails to have a working smoke detector installed; a manufacturer who fails to comply with fire-resistance clothing and other consumer product legal protections; and work-place accidents.
How to prevent burn injuries in the home
The Burn Center at UW Health in Madison, WI has dedicated a page on their website that includes helpful and important articles on burn and fire prevention. Please take a moment and check out their Patient Resources Page.
I hope this article is helpful and that it will make our readers more aware of how to avoid the terrible trauma of a burn injury.
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If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us at 920-725-8464, or toll free at 1-800-529-1552. Our personal injury consultations are always free.
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