Burn Injuries: an Overview
By Sean Lally, Staff Writer
Burn injuries can be especially traumatic, both because of the severe pain (in the immediate and long term) and because of the potential disfigurement that can occur. In this way, a burn injury can truly change the course of your life. If you have sustained burn injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. The total amount will depend on the type and severity of the burn in addition to a number of other factors. For instance, if you have a first-degree burn you may not be entitled to as much money as in the case of a fourth-degree burn.
This post will provide an overview of burn injuries: how prevalent they are, some ways to prepare for a household fire, how to treat minor burns and the types of situations that might constitute negligence in a personal injury case.
Burn injuries are all too common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 300 children are rushed to the emergency room every single day because of burn injuries. Of those 300 children, two die. And, as reported by the American Burn Center, 486,000 burn injuries received medical attention in 2011. This number excludes injuries that may have been treated in facilities other than hospitals, such as clinics and health centers. Additionally, in 2015, 3,275 people died due to fires and smoke inhalation, 2,745 of which occurred in homes.
Fires are common in and of themselves. In 2015, there were 1,345,500 reported fires in the US, causing 15,700 injuries. As for hospitalizations, there were 40,000 in 2010.
There are a number of things you can do to prepare for the unfortunate circumstance of having a fire in your home. First thing’s first: get smoke detectors and put them on every level. Without these, you may not be given enough time to evacuate the premises when a fire ignites. Also, it’s advisable that you have two emergency-exits available to you, no matter what room you’re in. To that end, you may want to designate a meeting place, just in case you and your family are forced to use these exits. Once you escape, call the fire department.
Treating Minor Burns
If you incur a minor burn, there are a number of things you can do to suppress the pain and prevent further damage. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, once burned, you should place your hand beneath cold running water. You can also use a cold damp towel. Either way, apply the cool water to the burn for 10 to 15 minutes. You may also want to take some form of pain reliever if you’re really hurting. Additionally, you should be sure to remove any rings or tightly fastened outerwear that’s near the burned area. If the affected region inflames you could end up dealing with the added issue of immovable jewelry.
You might also want to use aloe vera or moisturizer, as these can help relieve discomfort associated with the burn. And if you accidentally break a blister, apply antibiotic ointment. You don’t want to deal with an infection on top of dealing with the burn. Of course, you should always seek out the advice of a medical professional after suffering a major burn.
Sometimes there’s no avoiding a burn injury. If you have received burns at no fault of your own, you might want to think about pursuing compensation. There a number of reasons you might be entitled to remuneration. Perhaps you were in a car accident, during which your vehicle burst into flames. Or perhaps you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice – a surgeon slipped and seared your skin. Maybe you’ve found your way into a construction zone and suffered chemical burns. You may even have been one of the unlucky consumers to have suffered a burn injury at the hands of a defective e-cigarette charger.
Whatever the situation, you might be able to recover lost income, expenses associated with medical care, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and disfigurement. You might also be able to receive other forms of recompense. In order to determine the proper course of action, it’s advisable to retain an attorney who has experience with burn injury cases. Having professional help can make a huge difference, especially when you’re tending to blisters and painful sores.