Almost everyone has suffered a minor burn injury during the routine activities of life — cooking, drinking coffee, working on the lawn on a hot day. But for thousands of people each year in South Carolina and across the country, burns are more than just minor annoyances. In fact, the American Burn Association reports that around 450,000 people in the U.S. received some type of medical attention as a result of suffering a burn during 2010. Of those who sought medical help, 45,000 were hospitalized as a result of the burn and 3,500 died.
The cost of these burn injuries, including medical treatment and lost productivity, is astronomical. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates the total loss caused by burn injuries at $7.5 billion every single year. This only scratches the surface on the real loss caused by burns. A much greater impact is felt in the devastation of family members who lose loved ones and the pain and suffering of those who suffer a burn and who need extensive medical treatment to recover.
The majority of burn injuries and deaths are preventable, and many burn injuries can be traced to another person’s carelessness. If you’ve suffered burn injuries because of someone else’s negligence, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers can help. Contact the Louthian Law Firm today toll free at (803) 454-1200 for a free evaluation of your case. You can also fill out our online contact form. There is no fee unless you recover on your claim.
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Vaping as an alternative to cigarette smoking might reduce your risk of lung and other cancers. But the hazards of the batteries that power the e-cigarettes are increasing at an alarming rate. Literally hundreds of people have been injured and maimed, some severely, by exploding batteries. As of July 13 during 2016 alone, at least 50 exploding battery situations in the US have occurred… read more
Burn Injury Dangers in South Carolina
While everyone, young or old, is at risk of a burn injury, the CDC indicates that men are more likely than women to experience these types of injuries. In fact, males account for 64 percent of the total costs related to fire and burn injuries.
The American Burn Association reports that 44 percent of patients admitted to burn injury centers in 2010 were injured by fire. Scalding injuries caused 33 percent of the injuries of patients admitted to burn centers, while 4 percent had suffered an electrical burn and 3 percent had suffered a chemical burn.
Injuries due to fire, electrical injuries, chemical injuries and other burns can occur in a variety of situations. Some examples include:
- Residential fires — Home fires, which are often started by cooking, cigarettes, defective products or electrical shorts, cause an estimated 87.5 percent of burn deaths, according to the American Burn Association. Once a fire ignites, it is often fed by furniture, some of which is made with a type of polyurethane foam so flammable that some firefighters have referred to it as “solid gasoline.”
- Car wrecks and truck accidents — Cars and trucks can catch fire in accidents, often related to defects in their design or manufacture. When they catch fire, they have a large, conveniently located source of fuel to keep them burning — the gas tank. Occupants of the vehicle must get out quickly in order to avoid serious burns, but sometimes that is impossible when doors jam or occupants are otherwise trapped inside.
- Workplace accidents — According to OSHA, when workers suffer an electrical shock or are exposed to electrical current, an electrical burn is the most common injury. High temperatures near the body that are caused as a result of an electrical or explosion arc can also cause serious flash burns. Thermal contact burns, on the other hand, can occur if a worker’s clothing ignites or if the worker comes into contact with overhead electrical equipment. Exploding boilers or water heaters, gas explosions and radiation are other major workplace burn hazards.
- Chemical exposure — Chemical burns can happen in residential and work settings. People can be injured by coming into contact with chemicals in the home, such as products intended for cleaning, hair care or nail care. Household products that can cause chemical burns include concrete mix, toilet cleaners, pool chlorinators and bleach. Workers in labs and in the cleaning or construction industries are also at a high risk of danger for chemical burns.
Whatever the cause, the extent of the damage will depend upon how severe the burn is and how deeply it penetrates. According to the Mayo Clinic:
- Superficial burns are called first-degree burns.
- Burns that penetrate the second layer of skin are called second-degree burns. These typically cause swelling and blisters and, if the burn exceeds three inches, it is essential to get immediate medical attention.
- Burns that penetrate the layer of fat below the skin are considered third-degree burns. With these burn injuries, the fire may damage or kill nerves, causing numbness.
- Burns that penetrate the skin, fat, bones and muscle are called fourth-degree burns. Fourth-degree burns are extremely serious since they can cause substantial nerve damage. Death is a common outcome when a person suffers a fourth-degree burn.
If you or a loved one suffers second, third or fourth-degree burns, the consequences can be devastating. In addition to significant pain, the burn injury can also cause scarring and disfigurement. Multiple surgeries, including skin grafts, may be necessary to try to repair the damage.
Our skin protects us from infection, regulates our body temperature and keeps internal organs hydrated. Burn victims who have lost significant skin often must spend months dealing with the results of that loss, which include permanent organ and body chemistry damage, as well as extreme temperature sensitivity that might not ever go away. And, of course, burns hurt — one burn specialist told Time magazine that not even morphine can take away the pain entirely.
The nonphysical consequences of burns can also radically alter victims’ lives. They may be emotionally traumatized by the experience that led to the burn. If they sustained serious, disfiguring burn scars, they may be further traumatized by radical changes in how other people relate to them and how they see themselves. Victims may feel too afraid, ashamed or angry to go back to normal activities, even work and school.
Our South Carolina Burn Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you or someone you care about is a victim of serious burns caused by someone else’s carelessness, you may be entitled to financial compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, physical disability, reduced mental health, disfigurement and emotional pain and suffering. If you’re considering a burn injury lawsuit, it’s important to talk with an attorney with significant experience in South Carolina personal injury law.
The Louthian Law Firm has been trying — and winning — severe personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in South Carolina since 1959. We’re committed to providing excellent, personalized service and the best results for our clients. To speak with a Columbia burn injury attorney today, call us toll free at (803) 454-1200 for a free evaluation of your case. You can also fill out our online contact form.