Every year, thousands of families suffer injuries or loss of a family member due to a fire. According to the latest figures released by the United States Fire Administration, there were 3,400 deaths and 14,670 injuries due to fire in the U.S. The agency also states there were 371,500 residential fires, 111,000 nonresidential building fires, and 204,000 vehicle fires. Fires are one of the top causes of burn injuries, but there are many other kinds of burns that occur as well. The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) classifies burns in three categories: thermal, electrical, and chemical.
Sadly, many burn victims are physically and/or emotionally injured and do not realize there is often financial and legal recourse for their injuries and losses. Especially since, in many cases, a third party may have been either directly or indirectly negligent which led to the fire erupting or set the conditions (or an act in motion) for another type of burn to occur.
At O’Dwyer & Bernstien, we understand the devastation New York fire and burn victims feel after surviving an injury, suffering the loss of a family member, acquiring a health problem, and/or losing their possessions. It’s very common for victims who have experienced thermal burns, electrical burns, or chemical burns, of various degrees, to be subjected to ongoing pain and suffering. Additionally, expensive medical bills usually result from these types of injuries on top of all their other losses to cope with, including wages.
“If you, or a loved one, have struggled with the pain and suffering that occurs in the aftermath of a fire or other type of burn, the knowledgeable burn injury lawyers at O’Dwyer & Bernstien can help you to begin to rebuild your life.”Brian O’Dwyer – Construction Accident Lawyer – O’Dwyer & Bernstien
Types of Burn Injuries
Medical professionals divide burn injuries into categories based on their severity.
Burns are classified as first, second, third, or fourth-degree burns:
These burns are the least severe and only affect the skin’s outer layer and don’t leave permanent damage. However, they are often painful, much like a sunburn.
These burns go a little deeper than first-degree burns and affect the lower (deeper) layer of skin. Victims usually experience redness, blisters, swelling, and pain.
Burns of this degree go as far deep as the innermost part of the skin. The area of the body where the burn is located may look blackened, charred, or white. Nerve endings are affected.
The most severe of burns, these go through the skin’s layers and reach the underlying tissue, sometimes reaching muscle and bone. Nerve endings are destroyed and the victim cannot feel anything in the area of the body affected.
Minor burns are usually treated at home, urgent care, or a doctor’s office. Moderate burns typically require hospital treatment. Major burns most often need intervention at a hospital’s specialized burn unit.
How Burn Injuries Occur
The CDC states statistics show every year there are 1.1 million injuries in the U.S. occurring from burns that require medical attention, with 50,000 of these injuries requiring hospitalization and 4,500 people don’t survive their injuries. Every year, up to 10,000 burn victims die from burn-related infections. A victim can suffer a burn injury in many ways.
Examples of the most common types of burns are:
- Coming into contact with an open flame.
- Being in the vicinity when a flammable substance, such as a liquid or gas, is ignited.
- Electrical currents passing through the skin leaving unseen damage beneath it.
- Chemical burns occurring after contact has been made with a caustic substance.
- Contact burns gotten by coming into contact with a hot object.
- Contact with hot liquids or steam which can scald the skin.
Many of these burns are painful and take a long time to heal. Injuries occurring from burns could leave victims suffering from pain, scars, disfigurement, infections, and psychological trauma, to name a few lasting effects. Some of the symptoms that burn victims’ experience may be long-lasting or leave permanent damage.
The good news is most victims today can survive even the most severe of burns (third and fourth-degree burns) with proper medical treatment and skin grafting. Fortunately, modern medicine has come a long way and medical experts can now help burn victims heal. However, it is still a difficult ordeal for the victims who have sustained serious burn injuries.
Fires, Burns, and Negligence
Fires in New York City can start a number of ways. They can occur in the home, at commercial sites, in car accidents, or at construction sites. While many burn injuries can occur as the result of a true accident, many other injuries could have been prevented by careful behavior or proactive planning.
When a third party does not take preventative action or commits an unsafe act, they could be negligent in the event a victim suffers a burn injury. Negligence comes in many different forms and circumstances. Here are a few examples.
- A company does not practice proper safety regulations for their workers or a supervisor ignores them and a fire erupts or a chemical spill occurs.
- A distracted, drunk, or drug-influenced driver crashes a car and creates an explosion.
- A homeowner or renter experiences a burn after an appliance shorts out when used as directed.
- A construction worker uses a defective power tool or comes into contact with unsecured wiring that gives the worker an electrical jolt.
- A night club overcrowds its occupancy and doesn’t take enough safety precautions when using pyrotechnics.
This list is not extensive but gives an idea of how a third party could be liable if you or a loved one is a fire, burn, or wrongful death victim. When unsafe behavior or practices lead to a burn injury, the party responsible should be held accountable.
“Negligence isn’t always easy to prove, but an experienced and knowledgeable burn injury attorney navigate the complex laws associated with fire and burn litigation to help victims get the compensation they deserve.”Brian O’Dwyer – Construction Accident Lawyer – O’Dwyer & Bernstien
How a Burn Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone you love has been exposed to a situation where they suffered a moderate or severe burn, you may be entitled to compensation. Money cannot erase the damage done by the negligence, but it can help victims recover lost wages or pay their often-extensive medical bills. A settlement can also enable victims to obtain access to the rehabilitation, surgeries, long-term care, or counseling for the trauma they’ve experienced—and all other medical services they may need to help them heal. The sympathetic personal injury attorneys at O’Dwyer & Bernstien understand the pain and suffering burn New York City victims and their families endure, and they will work hard to ensure they receive justice.
Our firm has been advocating for the rights of personal injury victims throughout New York for more than 100 years. Whether the burn injury occurred at home, on the job site, in a car accident, a commercial building, or in any other location, we’ll carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your accident, gather evidence, and determine if there was any third-party negligence involved. To learn more about burn injuries or to get a free consultation about your case, give us a call today at 212-571-7100 or contact us online. We’re here to help you heal.