If you have suffered a burn injury, contact Los Angeles burn injury attorney Joshua Glotzer today to discuss your case. We have 20 years experience helping accident victims and their families get compensation for their pain and suffering. The consultation is free and we get nothing unless we win.
According to the American Burn Association, there are approximately 486,000 burn injuries resulting in medical treatment annually. The cost of medical treatment can be substantial, ranging anywhere from $35,000 to over $1,000,000.
Even when victims survive a burn or fire accident initially, they often remain at a high risk of suffering a fatal infection for a long time after they were hurt. Moreover, studies have shown that burn injuries are perhaps the most painful injuries an accident victim can suffer.
Level of Burn Injuries
While there are technically fourth, fifth, and sixth-degree burn injuries, the vast majority of those who suffer this level of burn injury die. Following is an explanation of the first through third-degree burn injuries:
- Only the top layer of skin is affected by a first-degree burn. A sunburn is classified as a first-degree burn, with symptoms such as redness, pain, peeling skin and swelling in come case. First-degree burns usually heal within a week.
- A second-degree burn involves the first two layers of skin. The skin may be extremely red, blistered, and painful. In some cases, these blisters can open, leaving skin which appears moist. A second-degree burn can take more than three weeks to heal completely, and the victim of a second-degree burn can suffer severe pain.
- Third-degree burns are the most serious type of burns—that a person can survive. The burn causes damage to all layers of the skin, and can extend into the underlying body tissues, the bloodstream, the bones and the major organs, or can result in death.
Who is Liable for Your Burn Injuries?
Determining liability after a burn injury depends on the specific facts of your case. First, we need to understand whether negligence played a part in your burn injuries. If it did, we need to figure out who the negligent parties were, and pursue an action against them.
The following are the most common causes for burn injuries and who may be liable.
- Car Accident: If your burn injuries occurred following a car accident, even if the accident was due to the negligence of another, there could be other issues at hand, namely a manufacturing defect in the vehicle itself. You may have a claim against the negligent driver and motor vehicle manufacturer.
- Residential Fire: If you were burned in a residential home fire, the fire may have been caused by a defective propane tank, a downed power line, arson, or defective wiring in the home. Again, you may have a claim against the property owner and the manufacturer of the product that directly caused your injuries.
- Workplace Accident: Burn injuries may result from a negligent employer mishandling dangerous chemicals or failure to properly maintain electrical wiring. If so, you may be able to pursue a cause of action against the employer and building contractor.
While suing those at fault can never make up for all that victims have lost, doing so can help them secure their future and find closure by:
- Ensuring that the responsible individual or corporation is held accountable and prevented from hurting others in the future;
- Enabling victims and families to recover the compensation they need for hospital bills, physical therapy or rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost past, present and future income and funeral costs.
The Trauma of Burn Injuries
The most serious burns can require debridement and skin grafts, with many months spent in the burn unit and ICU. The injuries of burn victims take an enormous toll on their personal relationships, their finances, their job and their psychological health.
In the beginning, the struggle is simply for survival; later on, the recovery focuses on restorative care, yet the patient may still be undergoing extremely painful treatments.
Depression and anxiety are common during a burn patient’s recovery, and post-traumatic stress disorder can also appear. Burn injury patients may go through a grieving process for their former life (appearance, physical ability, mobility and employment).
Those with serious burn injuries may face:
- Months or years of medical care and the resulting expenses;
- Months or years of rehabilitation and nursing care;
- Months or years of physical therapy and psychological care;
- Severe scars and disfigurement;
- Loss of earnings, and
- Other financial damages.
In addition, other long-term issues that fire and burn injury victims can face include:
- Increased skin cancer risk;
- Permanent disfigurement and scarring;
- Multiple surgeries, including plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as skin grafts;
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation that can take months and even years;
- Permanent nerve damage.
Common Types of Burn Injuries
There are several types of fire injuries and burns that people can suffer. The differences often stem from what led to the injury.
Burn injury types include:
- Chemical burns – This injury can be caused by contact with industrial or household chemicals in solid, liquid or gas form.
- Heat-related burns – Hot liquids, steam, hot solid objects and fire can cause these injuries.
- Cold burns – This type of burn is caused by exposing skin to extremely cold conditions or objects.
- Radiation-related burns – These burns can be caused by sun exposure, X-rays, radiation therapy for treating cancer, sunlamps or tanning beds.
- Electrical burns – Burns caused by contact with an electrical source or being struck by lightning.
- Burns caused by friction – Friction burns, such as road rash, are a combination of a heat burn and an abrasion caused by scraping against a hard surface. This injury is often a result of a motorcycle or bicycle accident.
Causes of Burn Injuries
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention places burns and fires as the third-leading cause of death in the home. According to 2010 statistics from the National Fire Protection association, a fire-related death occurs every 169 minutes, and a fire-related injury occurs every 30 minutes. Further facts about burn injuries include:
- Fire or flame burns are responsible for 44 percent of all burn injuries;
- Scalding burns caused by wet or moist heat are responsible for 33 percent of burn injuries;
- Nine percent of burn injuries are the result of direct contact with a hot source;
- Electrical burns are responsible for four percent of all burn injuries;
- Three percent of all burn injuries are the result of chemical burns;
- The remaining burn injuries are the result of miscellaneous sources.
- Scalding is the most common type of burn injury among children under four years;
- Deadly residential fires generally start in the living or sleeping area;
- Nearly half of all scald injuries are the result of spilled food and drinks—the remainder are from hot tap water, and hot objects (irons, heaters, stoves);
- About 2,500 burn injury deaths are the result of residential fires;
- About 300 burn injury deaths are from vehicle crash fires, and
- About 550 burn injury deaths result from smoke inhalation, electricity and scalding.
Among children and the elderly, scald burns are very common. Children often grab the handle of a pot on a stove which contains boiling liquid, while scald burns from baths or showers when the hot water heater is set too high cause scald burns among the elderly. The problem is compounded by the fact that both children and the elderly have thinner skin than adults, therefore the burns are more serious.
How Your Los Angeles Burn Injury Attorney Can Help
With burn injuries, perhaps even more than most other types of injury, it is crucial that you have an experienced attorney by your side from beginning to end. Your attorney will be able to ensure the party responsible for your burn injuries compensates you properly for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
At Glotzer & Leib, LLP, we understand that the pain and severity of burn fire and explosion injuries cannot be overstated. What victims and families have to endure in the wake of such incidents is both unimaginable, and the fact that in many cases, it could have been prevented.
Los Angeles burn injury attorney Josh Glotzer is dedicated to defending the rights of injury victims and their families. As his case results show, Attorney Glotzer is a seasoned negotiator, investigator and litigator who is dedicated to finding justice for his clients and will do whatever is necessary under the law , including going to trial, if it is in his clients’ best interests.
For more information about burn injury cases and how we may be able to help you, call us directly (844) 821-5271 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation with our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. Remember, you cannot make this call too soon, as every second you wait, valuable evidence could be lost.