BURN INJURIES — There are up to 2 million reported cases of burn injury in the United States alone every year, of which over 4,500 are fatal. According to a 2007 study conducted by the American Burn Association, 40% of burn injuries with a known cause occur by fire or flame contact, 30% by scalding, 8% by contact with hot objects, 4% from electrical injury and 3% from contact with corrosive chemicals. Children and older people are most at risk for suffering a burn injury, and older people are more likely to die from a serious burn injury.
About 48% of burn injuries occur in the home (most to children and the elderly), 27% occur on streets or highways (including automobile accidents) and 8% occur in industrial or workplace settings. Burn injuries which occur in the workplace can be caused by dangerous conditions allowed to exist by the employer or by the negligence of third parties.
Defective products can also be a source of burn injuries, particularly with children’s clothing and toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission works in conjunction with many national organizations, including the American Burn Association and the National Association of Fire Marshalls, to make products safer in order to prevent burn injuries.
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, you should seek treatment for a burn injury if you experience one or more of the following: fever, pus-like or foul-smelling drainage, excessive swelling, redness of the skin, a blister filled with green or brown fluid, or a burn that does not heal in 10 to 14 days.
Recovery for second and third degree burns is typically slow and painful, and with third degree burns there is almost always uncorrectable scarring of the skin. Pneumonia is a very common complication following a burn injury, and because of the high risk of infection extreme care must be taken by medical teams with extensive experience in burn treatment in order to increase the chances of survival for a burn victim.
It is vital that if you or a loved one suffers a significant burn injury to seek medical treatment, preferably at one of the almost 150 specialized burn care centers in the United States which treat over half of all burn injuries. In the State of California there are currently 11 burn care centers which have been certified through the American Burn Association, including 3 ABA certified facilities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, as well as the UCSD Burn Center which has been treating fire and burn victims in San Diego and Imperial Counties since 1973. The more experience the medical center has with treating burn injuries the better chance of survival and healing with minimal scarring.
Burn injury victims have many legal rights and avenues to help them on the long road to recovery. A burn victim may be entitled to government benefits such as unemployment compensation, social security disability payments, and medical treatment payment provided through Medicaid. If the burn injury occurred at work, the injured worker will be entitled to workers’ compensation, and may also be able to file a claim against a negligent third-party wrongdoers.If the burn injury occurred as a result of an auto accident, there may be automobile insurance available. And if a burn injury occurs from a defective product, a products liability claim may be available against the manufacturer and seller of the product. In circumstances of a serious burn injury, where the costs of medical care can are significant, it is important to protect your legal rights by exploring all avenues of recovery.
Berman & Riedel, LLP is a San Diego based law firm that represents victims of elder abuse and neglect throughout the state of California. If you would like to speak with a nursing home attorney regarding the care an elderly loved one is receiving in a nursing home or other type of elder care facility, call Berman & Riedel, LLP today at (858) 350-8855. Our staff will happily provide you and your family with an initial free consultation to discuss with you the rights you may have and financial compensation you may be entitled to under California and federal law. To learn more about the firm’s elder abuse and neglect law practice, visit the page on preventing elder abuse. For more information on how to properly file a complaint regarding care received by an elderly loved one visit the page on reporting elder abuse.