Burns are among the most painful, debilitating injuries, yet can happen quickly and in a variety of places including your home, your workplace, a public business or as the result of an auto accident. According to the American Burn Association, approximately 486,000 people suffer serious burn injuries each year in the United States, with the majority of those occurring in the home or as a result of auto accidents.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a fire, call San Diego burn injury attorney Curtis Quay to discuss your case. The consultation is free and you pay nothing unless we win.
The Suffering of Burn Injury Victims
Burns can require weeks, months or even years of hospitalization, excruciating, chronic pain, multiple reconstructive surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. The victims of burn injuries often suffer permanent scarring and disfigurement which cannot be corrected by plastic surgery. Many burn victims go into shock when they suffer burn injuries over a large portion of their body.
Respiratory distress, electrolyte imbalances and infection are all potential side effects from serious burn injuries. It is crucial that the burn victim receive sufficient fluids during recovery, and in many cases the burned skin must be debrided daily—an extremely painful process.
While medical technologies for treating burn victims has advanced over the past decades, many people who survive serious burns may still suffer lifelong disabilities. Smoke inhalation can often complicate the recovery for burn victims, significantly slowing down the healing process.
Types of Burns
- First-Degree Burns: A first-degree burn is the least serious, and involves only the outer layer of a person’s skin. Those with a first-degree burn may have redness in the skin, minor pain and some swelling. First-degree burns generally do not require medical attention unless the burn overs a significant portion of the body.
- Second-Degree Burns: A second-degree burn penetrates both the first and second layer of skin, and is identified by a deep red color and blistering, as well as swelling and pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, if a second-degree burn is less than three inches in diameter, it can generally be treated in a home setting, however larger burns require medical attention.
- Third-Degree Burns: The most serious type of burn injury is a third-degree burn, which burns through all layers of skin, going into the tissue. The burned areas may look black, “charred,” white, and/or dry. Third-degree burns require immediate medical attention.
The Cost of Treating a Burn Victim
Consider the following regarding the cost of treating burn victims:
- Estimates place the cost of treating a burn victim—low intensity treatment for moderate burns—at $206,853.
- Severe burns without complications could cost as much as $1,617,345, and a severe burn with complications can cost more than $10 million.
- Disfigurement and scarring occur in about 66 percent of the cases, adding as much as $35,000 to the cost of treatment.
- Psychological complications occur in nearly 60 percent of the cases, adding between $16,000 and $75,000 to the cost of treatment.
- Infection, as well as pneumonia, sepsis and organ failure due to infection occurs in more than a third of all cases, adding $58,000 to $120,000 to the cost of treatment.
When you add in loss of income, you can see how financially devastating burn injuries can be for the victim on top of the physical and mental devastation. Because of this, it is imperative that you speak to a knowledgeable San Diego personal injury attorney who can advocate for your rights and fight for a fair settlement for your burn injuries.
Most Common Causes of Burn Injuries
According to WebMD, some common causes of burn injuries include:
- Burns from automobile accidents
- Scald burns caused by hot liquids
- Burns caused by lack of working smoke detectors in a home or business
- Electrical burns
- Chemical burns
- Burns caused by defective space heaters
- Burns from helicopter or plane crashes
- Fires and subsequent burns from defective wiring in homes and apartments
- Burns resulting from a defective product such as a defective fuel tank in an automobile
- Burns resulting from a construction site accident
Scald burns are perhaps the primary cause of burns, particularly among children and the elderly. Children can grab the handle of a pot on the stove which contains boiling liquid, while the elderly are susceptible to scald burns from bath or shower water when the hot water heater is set too high. Both children and the elderly have much thinner skin than most adults, therefore the burns are usually much worse.
In some cases, identifying who is liable for your burns could be difficult. For example, the burns resulting from an automobile accident may not be entirely the fault of the person who was responsible for the accident, but could also be due to a manufacturing defect in one of the vehicles. Fires in a home or business may start for any number of reasons, including defective wiring, a defective propane tank, a downed power line, or even arson.
The Long-Term Requirements of Burn Victims
Burn victims may experience disfigurement, scarring, emotional distress, extreme, chronic pain, loss of earnings and serious financial damage, and may require one or more of the following, depending on the severity of the burn injury:
- Months or years of medical care and nursing care;
- Months or years of physical therapy, and
- Long-term psychological care.
Getting Help from Your San Diego Burn Injury Attorney
If you are the victim of serious burn injuries due to the negligence of another, contact us to receive the compassion and compensation you deserve. We will investigate the cause of the fire which was responsible for your injuries, whether that fire was due to the negligence of another driver, a defective gas tank, another type of auto defect, a lack of smoke alarm at your home or on public property, or any other type of negligence. Your burn injuries may have left you with physical and psychological scars, overwhelming medical bills and lost wages.
You are entitled to a fair settlement for all these things and your San Diego burn attorney will work hard to ensure the insurance company fully covers your medical expenses (past, present and future), your lost wages, estimated lost wages for the future should you be unable to return to work, pain and suffering, and disability when warranted. You should be able to concentrate on recovering from your burn injuries rather than worrying how you will pay your monthly bills.