Of all the injuries a person can suffer, a severe burn is one of the most painful. Damage to sensitive nerve endings deep underneath the skin is hard to treat and may cause a lifetime of suffering for victims. Add to it the psychological scarring often associated with physical disfigurement or mobility issues, and it’s clear to see why burn injuries can be so devastating.
According to the American Burn Association, almost 500,000 people per year receive medical treatment for burn-related injuries. Keep in mind these numbers are for hospital visits only and do not include private medical facilities or the many cases that go unreported. Sadly, a large share of these victims are children, the elderly or others who may not be able to care for themselves.
If you or someone you know has recently suffered a burn injury, contact The Sevey Law Firm today. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, and you never pay a penny out of pocket unless we win your case. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will gladly review your case and explore what type of compensation options may be available.
We’ve been serving burn victims in Northern California since 2005 and look forward to assisting you in your time of need. Call us now at (916) 788-7100 to get all your questions answered and receive the help you deserve.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
While most people associate burns with direct heat or flames, they are not the only risk factors involved in these kinds of accidents. Burns can happen both at home and work and usually occur with very little or no warning. Burn incidents are usually classified into four main categories:
- Thermal Burns – the type of accident most people are familiar with. Thermal burns are caused by direct exposure to fire, heat or other extremely hot sources.
- Electrical Burns – may occur when electricity passes directly through the body. These types of burns are difficult to diagnose and treat as much of the damage resides below the surface of the skin.
- Chemical Burns – are due to exposure or ingestion of toxic chemicals into the body. Damage to the skin or internal organs is frequently experienced.
- Explosive Burns – although similar to thermal burns, explosive burns may also include exposure to chemical agents or foreign objects at the same time.
A common misconception is to think that severe burns only happen during a large fire or major disaster. However, statistics prove this is not the case. Many reported injuries happen in or near the home and involve common everyday items.
Thousands of children and elderly are hurt each year because of poor supervision, lapses in judgment, or by simply being ignorant to the dangers around them.
Workplaces can be dangerous as well. Especially when it comes to the handling of chemicals, the maintenance of equipment or the safety of the properties themselves. Common sources of home and workplace burns include:
- Kitchen hazards – hot stoves, ovens and appliances cause thousands of injuries each year
- Bathroom hazards – scalding tap water, hot curling irons or placing devices too close to wet surfaces
- Living area hazards – space heaters, cigarette smoking and fireplace injuries
- Outdoor hazards – fire pits, power tools or heavy machinery
- Electrical hazards – exposed wiring or improper connections pose a major risk as well
- Poor facilities maintenance – defective equipment, switches or safety mechanisms often lead to injuries on the job.
- Although not a complete list, these examples show that burn injuries can happen just about anywhere. Some injuries may be unavoidable, but if you feel that neglect or negligence may have been involved, contacting a qualified personal injury law firm should be one of the first steps you take.
Types of Burns
When dealing with burn injuries, it helps to classify them into their various types. Each is used to address a distinct category of symptoms and associated damages. Medical facilities also take into account the type of burn as well as the surface area of the destruction when determining treatment.
The higher the degree of the burn – and the larger the circumference of damage – the smaller a victim’s chances for recovery become.
- First degree – usually affecting the top layer of the skin only. Reddened skin and mild pain are associated while recovery often takes place on its own in just a few days.
- Second degree – goes past the first and into the second layer of skin. Although second-degree burns can go away on their own also, medical care is advised to assess and monitor the damages. These types of burns may produce blisters and cause a “whitening” of the surrounding skin.
- Third degree – severe burns requiring immediate medical attention. Damage to underlying nerve tissues may reduce pain, but the amount of damage is normally extensive. Skin can become hard and leathery and often requires grafts or plastic surgery to heal.
- Fourth degree – are the most severe burns possible. At this point, the damages extend beyond just the skin and are introduced into the muscles and bones themselves. Fourth-degree burns are life-threatening and difficult (if not impossible) to recover from.
It should also be noted that smoke inhalation causes thousands of injuries each year as well. Fires involving furniture, building materials or chemicals produces toxic smoke that can lead to severe problems or death. Asphyxiation (or lack of oxygen) can cause permanent physical or mental disabilities in victims exposed to smoke inhalation.
Compensation for Burn Injuries
The cost of a burn injury can be enormous. In terms of both the physical and physiological damages as well as the financial expenses. Years of pain, follow-up surgeries and mental anguish can take their toll on victims and their families. That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced burn injury lawyer to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
A qualified personal injury attorney can assess the overall impact of a burn accident and request a settlement that will support the victim’s needs. Some expenses that may be recoverable include:
- Initial medical costs
- Ongoing medical care (including medication, medical treatment, and plastic surgery)
- Psychological counseling
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and diminished future earning capacity
- Loss of companionship or consortium
Selecting a Burn Injury Attorney
Time is of the essence when it comes to burn accidents. Both regarding treatment for the victim and preservation of evidence. After receiving medical care, patients should contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away to protect their rights.
The highly-skilled team at The Sevey Law Firm have the resources necessary to assist in your case. Our network of accident investigators, physicians and actuaries can help determine the facts of your incident and build a strong case to support your defense. These are key elements in ensuring fair compensation for your injuries.
We have a long history of representing accident victims in Northern California and take pride in helping patients and their families recover. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and never charge a fee unless we win your case. There’s no cost to speak to us, and we’ll quickly provide you with an honest evaluation regarding the specifics of your situation.
Don’t wait. Call us today at (916) 788-7100 to learn more about all the services we provide.