To avoid injury, you exercise caution. To avoid injury at work, you wear protective gear. You wear your seatbelt and drive limit. To avoid slipping on broken sidewalks, you pay more attention as you walk around your neighborhood.
But not matter how careful you are, sometimes you may be injured by circumstances beyond your control. No matter how careful you are, you may experience an injury from a burn. A bowl of too hot soup from your favorite restaurant might spill on your lap, and cause burns to your legs. Although burn injuries can range from mild to severe, they can have devastating effects.
Proving liability in a burn injury case most often requires contracting a personal injury attorney that specializes in fire injuries.
According to the American Burn Institution, “The primary causes of burn injury include fire-flame, scalds, contact with hot object, electrical and chemicals. Nine out of ten people seen in emergency departments for fire or burn injuries in 2011-2015 were treated and released. (91% treated and released, 2% with disposition of observed/left AMA/unknown. 7% were hospitalized or transferred).”
How Burn Injuries Occur
Flame Burns, a type of Thermal Burn, are some of the most common and well-known burn injuries in Tacoma, Washington, as well as the rest of the United States. According to a study by the American Burn Association, 46% of burn injuries are caused by direct contact with flame or fire. Some of the most common flame-induced burn in injuries include:
- Open flames from car accidents
- Electric fires
- Gas stoves
- Kerosene heaters
Sometimes, faulty equipment and electrical malfunctions in the workplace also lead to serious injury.
Fire burn victims often experience second- or third-degree burns depending on the intensity and heat of the flames. Second-degree burns heal faster, but third-degree burns may require reconstructive surgery and skin grafts.
Chemical burns are often caused by improper handling of chemicals like:
- Cleaning supplies
- Concrete mix
These burns only affect 3% of the population, but they can have severe side effects. If the chemical was severe, victims might lose their senses of touch.
Steam and Hot Liquids
Hot liquids can cause severe burns, as we have already mentioned. A liquid heated to dangerous levels can cause second-degree burns to the skin. If a person drinks such hot liquids, they can cause internal burns that may be very difficult to treat.
These liquids are the most likely to cause scalding burns.
- Tea and coffee
- Hot water from the tap
The skin can also be burned by steam from boiling liquids or cooking foods. Although these burns are usually less severe than others, they can still be serious enough to warrant medical attention. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, over 100,000 people visit the emergency department for treatment of scalding burns. Many of these patients are elderly or young children.
The risk of radiation burns is very low for most people. Radiation burns can be caused by defective medical equipment, such as X-ray machines and cancer therapy equipment. A person could suffer first- or second-degree burns depending on how long they were exposed to radiation and the intensity of that radiation. Some burns can even cause the skin to turn black.
Although manufacturers of medical equipment and tanning beds, try to make sure that the machine doesn't break, a damaged part or insufficient care could lead to burns.
In the United States, there are many burns that can be caused by electrical appliances. These burns are most commonly caused by:
- Clothes irons
- Curling irons
- Flat irons
- Electric stoves
- Hot plates
- Heating pads
Serious electrical burns can also be caused by faulty outlets and electrical wiring. Because the injury is often internal, these burns can cause greater damage than other types of burns.
An example: If an employee touches an electrical wire while at work, it could cause organ damage depending on how intense the current was.
The severity of the skin damage can affect how urn symptoms are displayed. The signs and symptoms of severe burns can take up to a week before they appear.
First-degree burn. This minor injury affects the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. It can cause redness or pain.
Second-degree burn. This type affects both the epidermis and the second layer (dermis) of the skin. It can cause swelling, reddening of the skin, and splotchy or white patches. It is possible to develop blisters, and the pain can be quite severe. Scarring can occur from second-degree burns.
Third-degree burn. This is the part that reaches the fat layer below the skin. The burned areas can be white, brown, or black. It may appear leathery. Third-degree burns may cause numbness.
When to Get Emergency Medical
- Burns that affect the hands, feet and face.
- Deep burns that cause severe skin damage to all layers or deeper tissues.
- Skin that appears leathery from burns
- Burns that look charred, or have black, brown, or white patches
- Chemical or electrical burns
- Burns with difficulty breathing in the airway
Infection signs include increased pain, swelling, redness, and oozing from wounds. If you have any of these symptoms, please call your doctor: a blister or burn that doesn't heal within two weeks, unusual symptoms that are not explained by the usual suspects. 2nd and 3rd degree burns can cause severe scaring when not treated promptly by a physician.
Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately if you have suffered any of the above burn injuries. These burns may be grounds for a claim, especially if they have caused you to miss work or left you with lasting effects.
An attorney can assist you in filing multiple injury claims. If you have suffered burn injuries from an equipment fire, you may be eligible to file both a workers' comp claim against your employer and a personal injury case against the equipment manufacturer.