Believe it or not, burn injuries are among the most preventable types of accidental injuries in the United States. That should be good news, considering the fact that burn injuries can be horrific, resulting in permanent scarring or even death. However, according to the 2013 Fact Sheet published by the American Burn Association, an estimated 450,000 people received medical treatment for burn injuries. More than 60% of acute hospitalizations in the U.S. related to burn injuries. Unfortunately, catastrophic burn injuries are far too common. If you or a loved one has suffered this type of catastrophic injury, because of the negligence of someone else, you may be able to recover for those injuries.
Potential Causes of Burn Injuries
There can be many different causes of burn injuries. Serious auto and trucking accidents, as well as accidents involving buses and motorcycles, can result in serious burns due to the presence of large amounts of gasoline on the scene. Oil and gas are the leading cause of fire-related burns. Both of these substances are extremely flammable and prone to explosion under great pressure. Burn injuries also occur in the industrial or construction setting. In addition to fire exposure, burn injuries can result from exposure to chemicals, electricity, radiation and scalding liquids. Another rather common cause of burn injuries is defective products.
Medical treatment for catastrophic burn injuries
Similar to traumatic spinal cord and brain injuries, catastrophic burns often result in long-term or permanent disability. These injuries typically require years of rehabilitation and medical care, resulting in substantial medical expenses, at the time of the injury and in the future.
Secondary complications of burn injuries
Burns range from first degree to fourth degree. First degree burns affect only the outer layer of skin. Whereas, third degree burns reach through the full depth of skin to the tissue. The worst burns, which typically result in loss of limbs, not only is the skin tissue destroyed, but the underlying tendons, bones and muscle tissue are also damaged.
In addition to the damage from the burn itself, victims of burn injuries become at higher risk of other serious medical conditions, including infections, severe scarring and permanent internal organ damage. When fire is involved, victims may also suffer from smoke inhalation, causing asphyxiation or severe injury to the lungs.
Nonphysical damages resulting from catastrophic burn injuries
Severe emotional trauma is very common with serious burn injuries, stemming from the event itself, as well as the resulting scarring or disfigurement. Immediate medical attention is critical to receiving proper care and minimizing the permanent impact of the injury.
Initial treatment for severe burns often requires a year of hospitalization, followed by years of additional treatment, including multiple surgeries, wound care therapy, and psychological counseling. Due to the intensive medical treatment required, burn injuries usually very expensive. The victims are very likely to miss a substantial amount of time from work, or may not be able to return to their employment.
If you have questions regarding burn injuries, or any other catastrophic injury issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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