Every year in the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of people who suffer burn injuries that are serious enough to cause them to seek medical care. To be sure, over the course of a single year alone, the American Burn Association reported that there were nearly half of a million burn injuries receiving medical treatment in medical centers throughout the United States. What’s more, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that burn injuries are a leading cause of morbidity throughout the world.
While some burn injuries are entirely preventable and occur as a result of things that could not be prevented–such as lightening–the majority of burns occur in the home or the workplace and are preventable. If you have suffered a burn accident and injury in West Virginia, our experienced burn injury attorneys at the law offices of Bailey, Javins, & Carter L.C. encourage you to get the medical care you need, and then to contact our law offices for a free consultation as soon as you are able. We will work hard on your behalf to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Top Causes of Burn Accidents and Injuries
There are many different things that can cause burns, ranging from fire or hot liquids to less commonly thought of causes, such as certain chemicals or radiation, or even sunlight. In fact, there are multiple types of burns, including:
- Thermal burns. Thermal burns are the most common type of burn injury, and the type that nearly everyone has experienced to some degree, even minor. A thermal burn is the type of burn a person sustains by coming into contact with a hot surface. Hot liquids, steam, flames and fire, and hot surfaces can all cause thermal burn injuries.
- Electric burns. Electric burns are most common in the workplace, although it is possible to suffer an electric burn at home as well. Electric burns occur when the body comes into direct contact with an electrical current. These types of burns can have both external and internal effects, burning the skin andcausing injury to internal tissues.
- Chemical burns. Chemical burns occur when a person comes into contact with a harsh or dangerous chemical. Some common–even household–chemicals that can cause skin or eye burn injuries include bleach, ammonia, and chlorine.
- Radiation burns. Radiation burns are the least common type of burn injury, but they can be very serious. Radiation burns are most often reported amongst patients seeking treatment for cancer, and therefore radiation therapy.
As stated above, burn injuries can occur in the home or the workplace, or in a number of other places, including outdoors, while at a store or business, or in school.
Degrees of Burn Injuries and Long-Term Effects
Burns are not only characterized by type, but by degree as well. The least severe of burn injuries are called first-degree burns, which are superficial, only damaging the outermost layer of the dermis. These burns are no doubt very painful, but they only sometimes require medical treatment, and only cause minimal skin damage, which means that scarring is typically very light, or nonexistent.
Second degree burns are more serious than first degree burns, affecting both the top layer of skin and the dermis directly beneath it. Second degree burns do usually result in scarring, and will also cause blistering. Second degree burns also cause some thickening of the skin.
Third degree burns are the most serious burn type, and demand immediate medical attention – third degree burns can be fatal. Not only are the layers of skin damaged in a third degree burn injury, but the injury may be serious enough to cause damage that exposes fat and bone, and destroys nerve endings. For this reason, third degree burns may actually be less painful, despite being so much more severe, than second degree burns.
Some medical professionals also recognize fourth degree burns, calling them the same as third degree burns except for that fourth degree burns extend even deeper, causing damage to tendons, joints, and bones.
While first and second degree burns will likely heal with time, leaving the victim with potential scarring but no loss of mobility, nor incurrence of a disability, the same cannot always be said for third (and fourth) degree burn injuries. To be sure, these types of burns can leave a person with permanent scarring and disfigurement, immobility, and a barrage of related health complications. Burns this serious not only cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat, but also prevent a person from returning to their job or activities they once loved, leading to loss of income and psychological harm.
Liability for a Burn Accident in West Virginia
As stated above, most burn injuries are preventable. When a burn injury occurs at home or in the workplace, parties who might be liable include:
- The manufacture of a defective product (that lights fire without warning, that doesn’t contain a warning label, etc.);
- The negligent driver of a car (when burn injuries are caused as a result of a car accident);
- A landlord or building manager who failed to install working smoke alarm detectors;
- An employer that failed to ensure workplace safety standards were adhered to; or
- Any other party whose actions caused or contributed to the burn injury.
If you have been involved in a burn accident and suffered harm, it is important that you understand concepts like negligence, liability, and your ability to pursue damages. If you were injured on the job, our law firm can help you to pursue a workers’ compensation claim or a third party liability claim for damages. If you were injured at home or on private or public property, our legal team is prepared to build your personal injury lawsuit.
Contact Our Law Offices Today
Burn injuries can have serious consequences, and are sometimes even fatal. At the law offices of Bailey, Javins, & Carter L.C., our experienced West Virginia injury attorneys want to make sure that you have the legal representation that you deserve. If you have been harmed in an accident resulting in burn injuries, please contact our law offices directly today to schedule your free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis.