People suffer from burn injuries every day. Injuries can be minor or result in lifelong pain and disfigurement. Burns happen from contact with electricity, fire or chemicals. They can occur at work or home. According to the American Burn Association 2013 fact sheet, 450,000 people are treated for burn injuries each year. There are 3,400 deaths annually from fire or burns.
Regardless of the source of the burn injury, survivors often endure catastrophic and disfiguring injuries. Victims must deal with suffering and immense pain. Psychological scars associated with burn injuries can be just as bad as the physical ones. Burn injury survivors can face tremendous medical expenses. All of these factors create immense stress for burn victims and their loved ones. If you or someone you love is suffering from burn related injuries, the attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt can help. We have experience with Alabama burn accidents and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve and ease some of your burdens.
Burn Accidents and Injuries
Burns can originate from different sources. Burns from heat or fire, chemicals, and electricity are the most commonly treated. The severity of injuries will vary depending on the nature of and length of exposure to the source.
Fire or Hot Objects
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2013, there were over 1 million fires reported in the United States. Civilians reported a home fire every 85 seconds. People reported one outdoor fire every 56 seconds and one vehicle fire every 167 seconds.
NFPA estimates that fire departments responded to an average of 366,600 residential structure fires per year from 2007-2011. The fires caused approximately 2,570 deaths and 13,210 injuries. They reported that during that period, the leading cause of house fires and related injuries was cooking equipment. Smoking materials caused the most home fire deaths. Fire that began in the bedroom caused one-quarter of all in home fire deaths. Fire that started in the living room, or family room caused another quarter. Kitchen fires caused 16 percent of home fire deaths.
Injuries from fire and objects are wide ranging. They fall into one of four categories:
- First-degree burns. Burns to the first layer of skin may include redness, minor swelling, and discomfort
- Second-degree burns. Injury to the first, second and sometimes third layers of skin characterized by moisture, swelling, blistering and pain; may leave scars
- Third-degree burns. Burns to all layers of skin and the underlying tissue; Third-degree burns always require medical treatment and may damage nerves and skin’s ability to regenerate. They are characterized by hard, dry, leathery blisters, severe pain and have a high risk of infection
- Fourth degree burns. Burns extend through the skin to injure muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. These burns always require medical treatment.
Chemical burns occur when there is contact with household or industrial chemicals in a liquid, solid, or gas form. The NFPA reports that between 2003-2007, 86% of burn injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms did not involve fire. During the same period, chemical burns made up 9% of the burn injuries. The list of chemicals that can cause burns is endless and includes chemicals found in household items and the workplace. Sulfuric acid, ammonia, acetic acid, calcium oxide and bleaches are a few of the common ones.
Contact with chemicals can cause internal and external injuries. External contact can cause burns and skin blisters, lesions or rashes. Ocular lesions or visual problems may also occur. If the contact is through ingestion, oral burns, drooling, swelling, wheezing and abdominal pain may be present indicating internal burns.
The majority of electrical accidents involving adults, take place in a work setting. According to reports by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), over 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents occur each year. Electrical hazards cause more than 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries in the workplace each year. Accidental contact with exposed parts of electrical appliances, faulty wiring at home or work, power lines or lightning may cause electrical injury.
When people come in direct contact with a source of electricity, an electric current passes through body, producing what’s called an electric shock. Depending on the current’s voltage and the length of contact with it, this shock can cause anything from minor discomfort to serious injury to death. The severity of injury from electrical accidents depends on several factors:
- the amount of voltage contacted
- the duration of contact
- what kind of circuit
- what kind of current
- the pathway the current takes through the body
- your overall health
Electrical accidents cause a wide range of injuries. Injuries include skin burns such as arc burns or flash burns. You may experience numbness, cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, seizures and headaches. You may find yourself unable to work like you were used to because of emotional trauma or memory loss.
Burn Cases are Complex: Contact Us
Burn injuries can happen anywhere; at home, in your car, or at work. Complicated injuries can affect the skin, muscles, bones, nerves and brain. Your case may vary depending where your accident occurred and the extent of your injury. For example, if your injury happened at work, your attorneys will need to understand very specific Alabama workplace safety laws. If your injury happened at home because of a manufacturing defect, your attorneys must have experience with product liability laws. In any case, your attorneys must understand the nature of burn injuries and have experts who can work towards getting you compensated for your pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses. Farris, Riley & Pitt has everything you need to get started on the road to recovery.