You probably don’t give it much thought as you go through your daily routine, but the fact is that every day you encounter numerous situations which could result in a burn injury. From preparing breakfast in the kitchen, to being involved in a highway collision on your commute to work, to experiencing a chemical burn in the workplace – your environment is likely to be full of conditions and situations that could subject you or a family member to a burn.
If someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the situation which caused you to suffer a burn injury, they should have to bear the costs associated with your treatment and recovery.
The American Burn Association estimates that each year around 450,000 people in the U.S. receive burn treatment in a hospital, either in-patient or in the emergency room. Many more seek treatment in clinics and doctors’ offices. The Burn Association’s 2012 Fact Sheet reports that annually about 3,400 people die in this country as a result of a burn.
Some burns occur in unavoidable accidents, but others are caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness. When this is the case, a personal injury attorney can help the family receive compensation from the responsible parties – compensation that can offset the high cost of treating catastrophic burn injuries and provide some measure of relief for the pain and suffering they cause.
Successfully litigating personal injury cases in Indiana since 1981, Mike Stephenson offers compassionate counsel while aggressively seeking justice from those who have injured his clients. Call Mike at 1-855-206-2555 .
What is the source of most Indiana burn injuries?
Using the figures on admissions to burn centers, we can make some assumptions about burns in general. Listed here, in descending order, are the causes of most burns:
- Fire or flames
- Contact with a hot surface
Where do most burns happen?
The vast majority of burns occur at home – 69%, according to the American Burn Association. The Red Cross reports that American homes suffer an unwanted fire every 10 seconds, and every 60 seconds they suffer a fire serious enough to call the fire department. Cooking is the primary cause of home fires, followed by heat sources (such as portable space heaters and wood stoves) and electrical malfunction. Faulty electrical wiring, lighting and appliances cause hundreds of deaths and millions of dollars in property damage each year. Clothes dryers, extension cords, and battery chargers are typical hazards.
The workplace is the next most likely setting for a burn injury. Nine percent of burns are occupational injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes strict safety standards on employers; nevertheless, workplace fires and explosions kill 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers annually. Electrical burns are most common, caused by arcing or explosion. Some employees work near boilers or hot machinery that can cause thermal burns. Restaurant workers are especially prone to thermal burns, from deep fryers and grills. Chemical burns are also a hazard in some industrial settings where caustic chemicals and acids are used. You can read here about how Mike Stephenson helped some clients who were injured by electricity while on the job.
Motor vehicle accidents account for 300 burn fatalities each year. When cars or trucks collide, the gasoline in their fuel tanks can ignite, quickly engulfing the vehicles in flames. The occupants may have difficulty getting out and away from the fire due to injuries from the collision or because they are trapped inside by damage to the car. Motorcycle accidents can also cause burns, by contact with the hot exhaust pipe or muffler.
Who is responsible?
In many cases, burns are caused negligence. Mike Stephenson, of McNeely Stephenson in Indianapolis, can assess the conditions that were present at the time of your injury to determine whether another person or entity was responsible and whether you may seek damages from them in court.
Companies which ignore workplace safety regulations, fail to provide sufficient training, or store chemicals or other materials in an unsafe fashion can be held liable for burn accidents. Even when the injured worker is receiving workers’ comp benefits, compensation may be sought through a personal injury lawsuit against a third party who was responsible for causing or contributing to the injury — for example, the manufacturer of a defective product used on the job or a subcontractor.
Defective products cause fires in residences and on the highway, as well as in industrial settings. Household products recalled due to fire hazard range from pre-lit Christmas trees to carpeting. Defective gas tanks or fuel lines and battery malfunction can cause vehicle fires. Even electric cars are at risk of fire from their battery packs. Manufacturers can be held liable when they produce items that cause injury to the consumer.
Sometimes burns happen on properties that do not meet current fire codes or which do not have adequate escape routes in case of fire. In these instances, the property owner can be named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for burn injuries.
The Cost of Burn Treatment in Indiana
The financial burden of a serious burn injury can be overwhelming, both to the individual and his family and to society as a whole. More than $10.4 billion per year is spent on hospital treatments for burn injuries, according to the National Business Group on Health. Even moderate burns may turn out to be costly if there are complications. And for severe burns treated without complications, the average cost is well over a million dollars. With complications, a severe burn can cost more than $10 million to treat successfully. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates the total loss caused by burn injuries each year is $7.5 billion.
Burn injuries frequently require skin grafts or other surgical procedures, sometimes over a number of years. Disfigurement, scarring or tissue contracture occur in the majority of cases, as do psychological issues. Burn victims often suffer chronic pain, infections and impairments such as loss of eyesight. They and their families may have to deal with their loss of income and decreased future earning ability.
We believe justice matters
If someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the situation which caused you to suffer a burn injury, they should have to bear the costs associated with your treatment and recovery. This could include both economic and non-economic damages. “Economic damages” are things such as past and future medical bills; the cost of rehabilitation; assistive devices and prostheses; and lost wages. Typical “non-economic” damages are compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish resulting from the injury. Let our Indianapolis burn injuries lawyer fight for you.
The experience of Mike Stephenson and the resources of McNeely Stephenson can be your means of achieving justice when you are the victim of someone’s negligence or recklessness. Call 1-855-206-2555 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim.