Fire And Burn Injury Attorneys in Florida
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency departments in the United States treated 486,000 burn injuries in 2011. Burn injuries are most associated with fires, but exposure to chemicals, radiation, and electrical injuries can also cause burns. Burns can range from minor, to life-threatening. Burns can be caused by different things. Being involved in a serious car accident can lead to fire and burn injuries. A defective product may explode, causing burns.
The Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library states that in older adults, burn injuries are most often caused by open flame and smoking. Scalding is the leading cause of burn injuries in children. Infants and older adults have the greatest risk of burn injury.
The Florida personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience successfully representing clients in personal injury lawsuits. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation. We work on a contingency fee; this means you do not owe any attorneys’ fees unless we win your case.
Types of Burns
The skin can suffer burns from several different sources. Thermal, radiation, chemical or electrical contact can all cause burn injuries. Thermal burns are the types of burns we think of most. These involve heat sources such as fire, steam, hot metals and scalding liquids. With thermal burns, the temperature of the skin rises, destroying cells and tissues.
Radiation exposure can also cause burns. Sunburns are a common example, where exposure to ultraviolet rays damage the skin. Another example is radiation burns from an X-ray.
Chemical burns can occur when the skin makes contact with certain acids, alkalies, solvents, or detergents.
Exposure to an alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) can cause electrical burns.
First, Second, Third Degree Burns
Burns generally fall into one of three categories of severity: first, second or third-degree. These range from mild to severe, respectively.
First-degree burns are the least severe. They are also known as “superficial” burns.” A first-degree burn is when the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, is affected. Symptoms include red, painful and dry skin with no blisters. The most common example of a first-degree burn is a sunburn. In many cases, touching a hot pan or oven can also cause first-degree burns.
Most patients with first-degree burns do not need serious medical attention. Superficial burns rarely cause permanent damage or scarring. You can treat these types of burns with a cool, wet compress and a sterile, non-stick bandage. Topical ointments and over-the-counter pain relievers can also be used to alleviate pain and promote healing.
Second-degree burns are also known as “partial thickness” burns. Both the epidermis and dermis (middle layer) of the skin are damaged in a second-degree burn. These types of burns can cause severe pain, redness and blisters. The skin often looks wet or moist. Second-degree burns can cause scarring.
According to WebMD, many second-degree burns can be treated at home. Run the skin under cool water until the pain is gone; this will lower the temperature of the skin and stop the burn from getting worse. Do not pop the blisters. When treating your wound, make sure you wash your hands first. If your blisters broke open, you can bandage it loosely with nonstick dressing. Follow the package instructions.
The most serious burns are third-degree burns. These are also known as “full thickness” burns. With third-degree burns, the entire dermis and epidermis are destroyed. Burns may even reach the bones, muscles and tendons underneath. If this occurs, it may be called a fourth-degree burn. The skin may appear white or charred, or look dry and leathery. Since all the nerve endings are destroying, the patient will feel numb at the burn site.
All third-degree burns should be treated at a burn center. The treatment will depend on how much skin is affected, the severity, and the patient’s age. Treatment may include antibiotics, intravenous (IV) fluids, skin grafting, cleaning and debriding.
Referral to a Florida Burn Center
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), the following burn injuries should be treated at a specialized burn unit:
- Partial-thickness burns covering 10 percent or more of the total body surface area (TBSA)
- All full-thickness burns
- Burns to the face, hands, feet, groin, genital area, or major joints
- Electrical burns such as being struck by lightening
- Chemical burns
- Inhalation injury
- Burns in patients with a pre-existing medical condition that may make recovery difficult
- Burns with trauma injuries (such as broken bones) where the burn injury is the most serious
- Children with burn injuries in hospitals that are not equipped to treat burns
- Burns in patients who require special care
There are three verified burn centers in Florida: University of Florida Shands Burn Center Adult Burn Center in Gainesville, University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital Burn Center in Miami, and Tampa Bay Regional Burn Center in Tampa.
When a burn center is verified, it means it has undergone a “rigorous review program designed to verify a burn center’s resources that are required for the provision of optimal care to burn patients from the time of injury through rehabilitation.” Burn center verification is a joint program of the ABA and the American College of Surgeons (ACS).
The Orlando Regional Medical Center has a burn and tissue rehab unit. The Burn and Reconstructive Centers of Florida is located at the Kendall Regional Medical Center.
Fire and Burn Injury Lawsuits
Fire and burn injuries may relate to various personal injury lawsuits. In general, when suing for an injury you must show that your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, which subsequently resulted in damages such as medical expenses.
For example, you were involved in a severe car crash in which your vehicle caught fire, causing third-degree burns. The accident occurred because another driver was not obeying traffic rules and driving recklessly. You can file a personal injury lawsuit for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In another example, an injured construction worker sues when exposed wiring causes an electrical burn.
A defective product may also pose a fire and burn risk. A recent example includes e-cigarette explosions from the lithium ion battery. Other products have also raised serious safety concerns due to a faulty battery that can explode or catch fire. In October 2016, Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7 after the phones caught on fire.
In July 2016, hoverboards were also recalled due to a fire hazard. Unfortunately, one hoverboard fire in March 2017 killed two young girls, prompting a government investigation.
Filing a Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit involving an accident that occurred in Florida, contact one of our Florida accident attorneys today. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations.
For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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