According to the American Burn Association, approximately 450,000 patients receive treatment in emergency rooms and hospitals for burns year after year in the United States. This does not include the burn injuries that are treated in hospitals, private clinics and medical offices, or government run community health centers. According to reports, out of these 450,000 burn injuries, about 3,400 result in deaths each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), burn accidents involving fires are the third leading cause of death in the home across the US.
Where Do Most Burn Accidents Occur?
The large majority of burn accidents occur in the homes of victims. People also sustain burn injuries while at work, in car accidents, while playing a sport or participating in other recreational activities, or other miscellaneous places.
In short, burn injuries can take place in almost any place, which is why it is important to be aware of the common risks or causes for burns – it is the best way to ensure that you avoid this type of injury and the pain associated with it.
Types of Burn Injuries
There are four types of burn injuries:
- First-degree burns: This type of burn affects the skin’s outermost layer, generally resulting in pain, redness, and discomfort. First degree burns can be treated with OTC remedies, such as topical analgesics, antiseptic ointments, and bandages.
- Second-degree burns: This type of burn is more serious, extending into the underlying layer of skin and may cause blisters, redness, hardening or stiffening of muscles, tendons and other tissue and severe discomfort. Second-degree burns take about 3 to 8 weeks to heal.
- Third-degree burns: This type of burn extends through all layers of the skin, or the entire dermis, and into the fatty layer underneath. This can potentially destroy the nerves and leave severe scars. Third-degree burns are extremely painful and lead to leathery, waxy, white skin. Victims of third-degree burns will need immediate medical attention as well as pain management, like a narcotic pain medication.
- Fourth-degree burns: Such burns penetrate into the muscle and bone, past the skin and fat. They leave permanent damage to the muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons. Fourth-degree burns often require the affected limb to be amputated.
Common Causes of Burn Accidents
When people think of burn injuries, they usually think of fire. However, there are a number of different ways that burns can occur, many of which have nothing to do with flames of any type. Some of the most common causes of burn injuries include the following:
- Scalding from hot liquid or steam
- Electrical burns
- Chemical burns as a result of contact with acid, lye, or other toxic substances
- Ultraviolet burns caused by tanning lamps or beds
- Radiation burns caused by x-ray or cancer therapy
- Contact with hot metal, glass or other surfaces or objects
- Fire or flame
All of the types of burns have the potential to be extremely severe and cause damage to multiple layers of skin, nerves, muscle or other tissues, and in some cases, they can even expose the bone. Burn injuries may require surgeries, skin grafts, and more to try and replace the damaged tissue.
A large number of burn victims suffer permanent disfigurement and scarring. Burn injuries also often cause psychological damage in victims as a result of the severe pain and scarring that comes with these injuries.
Common Medical Complications Caused by Burn Injuries
As mentioned earlier, burn injuries, unfortunately, can often lead to severe complications, impeding and prolonging recovery. Some of the most common medical complications resulting from burn injuries include the following:
- Septicemia and bacteremia, or the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream
- Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat
- Systemic infections/blood infections
- Kidney, or renal, failure
- Skin infection, or cellulitis
- Respiratory failure
- Urinary tract infection, or UTI
- Infection of the wound
In addition to injuries, burn accidents can involve smoke inhalation. When you inhale too much carbon dioxide or other potentially harmful gases, it can result in damage to the respiratory system. With heavy smoke inhalation, your airways can get blocked and your lungs can get damaged. It can also cause suffocation, even if you are not directly exposed to burns. Many people die each year as a result of asphyxiation in house fires.
Burn Accidents and Personal Injury Claims
When a burn accident is caused by another person’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, the injured party can take legal action against the responsible party. Burn injuries can have a devastating impact on a victim’s life – permanent disfigurement, or scarring, disability or psychological damage.
Because of this, every victim has the right to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the party at fault and recover damages, such as medical expenses, future medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, and more.
With burn accidents, it is critical to have a robust and prudent personal injury attorney to help you file the claim or suit. They are well versed in the process and will know exactly what you need to have a successful case. They can provide the expertise as well as poignant witnesses to prove that your burn injuries were caused by another person’s negligence.
Your legal pro will help determine the worth of your burn injury case and ensure that you recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to by law. With an experienced burn accident injury legal counselor, your chances of recovering damages increase significantly.
We Know How to Deal With Burn Accidents
If you or a loved one has been severely injured in a burn accident, you should contact a burn injury attorney for assistance. Your legal professional will review your case and make sure that your rights are protected by taking the best legal course of action for your case. Call the legal experts at Fetterman & Associates for burn accidents at 561-845-2510 today for a free case evaluation.