Burns are among the most painful and costly injuries the human body can sustain. Burns can result in nerve damage, loss of feeling, and chronic pain, and severe burns frequently require months or years of treatment with painful and expensive skin grafts. Because burns result in changes in to the survivor’s physical appearance, they are often accompanied by feelings of depression, anxiety, and diminished self-esteem. In many instances, burns are long-lasting injuries which can inflict years of physical agony, emotional trauma, and financial hardship.
Reiff & Bily is a Philadelphia personal injury law firm focused on helping persons harmed in severe accidents. We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania who have suffered from serious burn injuries. Our attorneys have earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell for outstanding legal ability and ethics, and we provide burn victims with a free case evaluation. Call us at (215) 274-0072 or contact us online to learn how our experience and resources can help you.
How do Burn Injuries Occur?
Approximately half a million people seek medical care for burn injuries in the United States. According to the American Burn Association, the exact number of burn injuries requiring medical treatment is 486,000. However, the number does not account for the 3,275 smoke inhalation related deaths or the 40,000 hospital admissions for treatment related to burn injuries.
Burn injuries are extremely common because they can be caused by so many sources and accident types, including but not limited to:
- Fires – Fires can occur in a broad array or locations, but the most common place for a burn injury to occur due to fire is the home. The risk of burn injuries due to fire in the home can be mitigated by the use of smoke detectors on all levels of the home and through frequent, regular battery testing.
- Car Crashes – Car crashes, truck crashes, and other vehicle accidents can cause burn injuries in a number of ways. To start, fuel and other substances can ignite following a crash leading to a fire. Some chemicals that may be spilled from the vehicle can cause chemical burns. Finally, friction burns are also possible.
- Heat – Any source of sufficient heat can cause serious burn injuries. This can occur while working on a car engine, cooking in a kitchen, or a broad array of other circumstances.
- Explosions – Explosionscausing burn injuries can occur in the home and workplace.Defective products ranging from lithium-ion batteries to other electronics can overheat and explode potentially causing serious burn injuries.
- Chemicals – Chemical burns are extremely serious and can cause significant pain and suffering. Chemicals ranging from drain openers to industrial solvents can casue serious injuries to the skin, eyes, and other parts of the body.
- Hot Liquids – Despite the lessons learned from the famous hot coffee case, some restaurants still insist on serving beverages at temperatures that are unsafe for human consumption. This risk is even more pronounced when the product is served through a drive-through window.
- Electrical Accidents – Electrical accidents can cause serious burns. Improperly insulated wires and other electrical faults in electrical systems and consumer products can lead to serious injuries of this type.
These are only a few of the more common ways that burn injuries are incurred. Unfortunately, many other mechanisms of injury can occur.
How Is the Severity of a Burn Injury Determined?
The main factors in assessing a burn injury include burn size and severity. Burns are categorized by their severity based on degree:
- First-degree burns — Minor burns that produce redness and swelling in the top layer of skin.
- Second-degree burns — More serious than first-degree burns. Second-degree burns produce redness and blisters in the first and second layers of skin.
- Third-degree burns — These are the most serious burns, and affect all layers of skin and the tissue underneath.
Burns are also differentiated based on root cause, and are divided into four main categories:
- Chemical Burns — Caused by chemicals such as acids, solvents, and detergents.
- Electrical Burns — Caused by an AC (Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current) electrical current.
- Radiation Burns — Caused by UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun, x-ray, or other radiation sources.
- Thermal Burns — Caused by fire, steam, liquid, or other sources of heat.
What Are the Effects of a Burn Injury?
Burns can obviously cause serious damage to the skin and body. However, burns can result in much more serious consequences than superficial injuries. Burns can cause numerous debilitating effects across many systems of the body. Depending upon the severity of the burn, effects can include:
- Tissue Damage
- Organ Failure
- Poor Circulation
Serious burn injuries can result in disfigurement, nerve damage, and death. Recovering from a burn injury may require lengthy rehabilitation and reconstructive surgeries. Additionally, a surgeon may have to perform skin grafts to allow the burn injury to properly heal. The process of recovering from a burn can be extremely painful, costly, and disruptive to daily life.
Can I Recover Damages for a Burn Injury?
Whether you are able to recover damages for your burn injury is a fact-sensitive question that will depend on a number of factors. For instance, did another party owe a duty to act reasonably to you to protect or warn you about a potential source of injury? If a dangerous and potentially defective product caused your injury, did the product lack adequate instructions and warnings or did it have a design or manufacturing defect? These are only a few of the inquiries a personal injury attorney must make to determine whether you can recover for your injuries.
Should you have compensable injuries, the amount of potential damages will vary based on your facts and circumstances. However, in general, your damages may include your pain and suffering and lost wages. Furthermore, if you are unable to continue working, you may also be compensated for your lost future earnings. In short, there are many factors that can affect the availability and amount of damages through a jury award in a burn injury case.
Work with Experienced Burn Injury Lawyers
For more than three decades, the experienced burn injury lawyers of Reiff & Bily have fought for injured Pennsylvanians and Philadelphians. If you or someone you love suffered burns in a Pennsylvania accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the negligent, careless, or reckless party. Call Reiff & Bily today at (215) 274-0072 or contact us online to request your free and confidential initial consultation.