The American Burn Association reports that 450,000 people are burned and have to visit the emergency room every year in the U.S. Of the burns seen yearly, roughly 3,400 are fatal. If you or a loved one have been burned, there is a possibility that you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Determining whether you have a case can be difficult, so it’s best to contact our Morgantown, West Virginia burn injury lawyers to find out if you have a right to take legal action.
National Burn Injury Statistics
If an accident involves heat or exposure to toxic chemicals, it is easy for someone to be burned. You might be surprised to learn just how common burn injuries are. For example:
- On average, 200,000 children are burned by hot food or scalding water each year.
- In total, 250,000 children require burn injury treatment yearly. Of these, 15,000 are hospitalized, and 1,110 are killed.
- Out of the 3,400 burn injury fatalities that occur each year, 2,550 are the result of house fires, 300 are caused by vehicle fires, and the remaining 550 are the result of other causes.
- Burn injuries are not cheap to treat. Fatal burns from house fires alone total 3 billion dollars in treatment costs each year.
- It is more common for men to be burned than women. Men account for 64 percent of burns and $4.8 billion of burn treatment costs, whereas women account for 36 percent of burns and $2.7 billion of burn treatment costs.
How Do Burn Injuries Happen?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 44 percent of burns are caused by direct contact with fire. On average, someone is injured by a burn every 30 minutes in the U.S.
Fire-related burns are also the third most common cause of deaths that occur in the home. Someone dies in a home fire, on average, every 2.5 hours in the U.S.
Additional causes of burn injuries include:
- Being scalded by steam or a hot liquid (33 percent)
- Coming into direct contact with another type of heat source (9 percent)
- Receiving an electrical burn (4 percent)
- Being burned by chemicals (3 percent)
- Being burned by other causes (7 percent)
As Morgantown burn injury lawyers, we’ve also seen victims who have been burned by:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Defective Products
- Natural gas accidents
Types of Burns and How They Should Be Treated
How severely someone is burned depends on how long they were exposed to the chemical or heat source and what the temperature of the heat source was. Burns can damage internal organs, but they are classified based on the damage they do to the skin. Burns may be classified as full-thickness or partial thickness, but are more commonly divided into degrees.
First-degree burns (partial thickness) may result in red, non-blistered skin and/or slight swelling. These types of burns usually heal quickly (within a few days) if they don’t become infected. They should be treated by running the burn site under cool (not cold) water and applying an antibacterial burn cream. If the pain, redness, or swelling hasn’t gone down in 3-4 days, it’s best to see a doctor for further treatment.
Second-degree burns (partial thickness) occur when the damage extends beyond the first layer of skin. These types of burns can cause blisters and make the skin look as though it’s wet. Mild second-degree burns may be treatable if they are run under cool water, coated in burn ointment, and wrapped in a loose dressing. Severe second-degree burns that do not go away in 2-3 weeks or hurt for a week or more should be treated by a medical professional.
Third-degree burns (full thickness) happen when all the layers of the skin, and sometimes internal organs, are damaged. These types of burns can cause nerve damage so severe that the victim is no longer able to feel pain. They may make the skin look thick, black, leathery, or bumpy and should never be treated at home. If you or someone you know sustains a third-degree burn, do not rinse it or attempt to treat it in any way. Elevate the burned area, remove any clothing or item that is touching the burn, and go to the emergency room immediately.
Complications of Burn Injuries
Scarring and disfigurement after a burn can last a lifetime. If burns aren’t treated appropriately, they can result in blood loss, infections, tetanus, shock, and even death. Electrical burns and chemical burns are especially dangerous, as they can damage internal organs without showing external damage.
Burns to the feet, hands, face, or groin are much more dangerous and should be treated by a doctor or in the emergency room as soon as possible.
Severe burns may require the victim to undergo surgery or skin grafting which are both painful and expensive. Victims may also suffer emotional damage that can require therapy to overcome.
Why Should I Hire a Morgantown Burn Injury Lawyer?
Your right to seek compensation for your burn injury depends on the circumstances.
For instance, if you were burned in a place of business, like a school, retail establishment, or restaurant, you may be able to get money for your injuries. In this scenario, you could be able to file a suit against the owner or company who contributed to your burn accident.
If your burn was the result of a defective product, you could have the opportunity to sue the product’s manufacturer or retailer. If you were burned while working, you could potentially file a claim against your employer.
At Colombo Law, we employ an in-house medical professional to help us determine whether your burns are severe enough to seek compensation. After you’ve been treated by your doctor, you should schedule a free consultation with us so we can discuss your future treatment needs and develop a life care plan that shows how much money this experience will cost you.
Get in touch with us by calling 304-906-2815 to find out if you have a burn injury case.