There are 1.25 million burn injuries that require medical attention in the U.S. every year, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH). Burn injuries can range in severity from minor (first degree) to most serious (third degree). There are a variety of causes of burns, some of them terrible accidents and others the result of negligent or irresponsible behavior.
Burns occur when tissue is damaged by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight or nuclear radiation. First and second degree burns can be extremely painful. Third degree burns usually are not painful, because the nerves that transmit pain sensation have been destroyed. In very severe cases of extensive burns, loss of fluids can lead to depletion of blood volume, shock and dangerously low blood pressure resulting in death if not treated quickly.
Many burn injuries could have been prevented with proper safety regulations, safety equipment or responsible behavior when operating vehicles and dangerous machinery or handling dangerous chemicals. When unsafe behavior led to a burn injury, the person or entity that engaged in the negligence should be held accountable. A burn injury lawyer can help victims receive proper compensation from parties whose irresponsible behavior caused them harm.
Causes of Burn Injury
Burns can result from accident or from a broad range of negligent behavior. When burn injury results from the irresponsible or harmful behavior of a person or entity, the victim deserves compensation for cost of medical treatment, loss of income, and physical, emotional and psychological damage. There are many possible causes of burns including:
SeriousÂ car accidentsÂ can often be a source of burn injury, due to the presence of gasoline and other flammable objects. Fires and explosions can turn a serious car accident into a deadly one very quickly. If a car accident was the fault of a negligent, drunk or otherwise distracted driver, compensation may be awarded to victims of the accident.
Chemical burns are caused when caustic chemical compounds such as acid or base come into contact with the skin. Chemical burns are often severe, with toxic chemicals quickly burning down to the bone in many cases. These injuries may be the result of accident or assault.Â WorkplacesÂ such as manufacturing plants where large amounts of caustic chemicals are used are common sites for chemical burns. If safety precautions are not taken or not available, employers and business owners may be held responsible for injuries incurred do to this irresponsibility.
Electrical burns are caused by either an electric shock or an uncontrolled short circuit. Extreme internal damage can be caused, such as cardiac arrest, although some internal damage is not evident at the time of incident. Some electrocutions do not produce external burns at all. Common occurrences of electrical burns are seen in the workplace or when a person isÂ defibrillated without conductive gel.
Scalding occurs when a hot liquid comes into contact with the skin. Most common experiences with scalding are related to hot drinks or high temperature of bath or shower water. Scalding is frequently the cause of burns experienced by children younger than five.
Consequences of Burn Injuries
Burns can be terrible injuries harming not only the skin, but the muscles, blood vessels, nerves and bone. Severe burns affect much more than the skin. Additional consequences include
- Scars and disfigurement
- Extensive emotional and psychological damage
- Infection â€“ burns can damage the skinâ€™s protective barrier
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) â€“ occurs in patients with severe burns and causes the lungs to fail, sometimes proving fatal
Treatment of Burns
Approximately 50,000 burn patients require hospitalization. About half of those burn patients are admitted to a specialized Burn Unit or Intensive Care Unit (ICU), according to NIH.
First and second degree burns can heal in time without skin grafts, as there is enough underlying skin tissue to rebuild the skin. Third degree burns require skin grafting or application of artificial materials to cover and protect the exposed areas and trigger new skin growth. A skin graft is the process of removing either a thin layer or a full thickness of skin from a healthy part of the body and applying it to the burned area. When successful, the grafted skin is accepted by the remaining injured skin.
Joseph M. Still Burn Center
The Joseph M. Still Burn Center has dedicated over 30 years to treating burn patients and is considered the largest burn center in the country. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Joseph M. Still Burn Center takes pride in employing two intensivists who are aware of the challenges burn victims face and who continually create new courses of treatment. The Burn Center sees patients of all ages, ranging from two days old to 105 years old. Roughly 30% of the patient population is children, who are managed by a pediatrician with over 20 years of experience in treating young burn victims. Additionally, the Joseph M. Still Burn Center has physical and occupational therapists and psychologists on staff to treat their burn patients in all aspects.
Contact a Burn Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you care about has been the victim of a burn caused by the negligence of another person or entity,Â contactÂ Fried Rogers Goldberg for a free consultation to learn more about your right to compensation. You can also view our verdicts and case results by clickingÂ here.