Fire And Burn Injury Attorneys in Long Island
A burn injury can be catastrophic to the extent that they are often fatal or cause problems that last a lifetime. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, open flames and smoking are the leading cause of burn injuries in older adults. In children, burn injuries are most often caused by scalding. Burn injury risks are greatest in older adults and infants. Most people think of fire when it comes to burn injuries, but exposure to radiation, chemicals and electricity can also cause burns. A burn injury can have many different causes, from an exploding battery to a serious car crash.
The Long Island 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
Burns can result from thermal, radiation, chemical or electrical sources. Thermal burns are caused by heat sources, which raise the temperature of the skin and kill its cells and tissues. Fire, hot metals, scalding liquids and steam can all cause thermal burns. Burns can also result from radiation exposure. For example, you may suffer a burn after being exposed to the ultraviolet radiation of the sun or X-ray. Your skin can also be burned by various chemicals, including acids, alkalies, solvents, or detergent. Electrical burns can occur from exposure to an alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).
First, Second, Third Degree Burns
Burn injuries can range in severity from mild to life-threatening. First-degree burns are the least serious while third-degree burns are the most serious.
First-degree burns are also known as “superficial” burns. These injuries only damage the outer layer of the skin. If you have a first-degree burn, your skin will be red, painful and dry without blisters. Sunburns are the most common cause of first-degree burns. Touching a hot pot or oven, for example, can also cause a first-degree burn in many cases.
Most first-degree burns do not require serious medical attention, and permanent damage rarely results. Superficial burns are often treated with a cool, wet compress and a sterile, non-stick bandage. Over-the-counter pain relievers and topical ointments may also be used.
Second-degree burns, or “partial thickness” burns, damage the dermis, the middle layer of the skin, in addition to the epidermis. In a second-degree burn, the skin often appears wet or moist. These burns may also cause blisters, and victims can experience severe pain. People with second-degree burns may develop scarring.
In many cases, second-degree burns can be treated at home, according to WebMD. To stop the burn from worsening, rinse the burned skin under cool water until the pain subsides. Do not pop the blisters or touch the burn with dirty hands. Bandage the burn loosely with nonstick dress according to package instructions.
Third-degree burns, or “full thickness” burns, are the most severe. In patients with third-degree burns, the epidermis and dermis is completely damaged and the bones, muscles and tendons underneath may also be affected. If burns affect the bones, muscles, or tendons, then it may be known as a fourth-degree burn. The burn area looks white or charred. The skin may appear dry and leathery. Someone with a third-degree burn will not feel anything at the burn site because the nerve endings are destroyed.
Treatment for a third-degree burn depends on the severity, how much skin is affected, and the patient’s age. Patients may be treated with antibiotics, intravenous (IV) fluids, skin grafting, cleaning and debriding. Some burns must be treated in a special burn center.
Referral to a Long Island 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 two burn centers in Long Island; one at Nassau University Medical Center and one at Stony Brook University Medical Center in Suffolk.
Fire and Burn Injury Lawsuits
In terms of personal injury litigation, fire and burn injury claims may stem from a wide variety of lawsuits. For example, third-degree burns may be the result of a serious car accident, where the vehicle goes up in flames. In a construction accident lawsuit, a worker may have suffered an electrical injury due to exposed wires.
Personal injury lawsuits are usually based on negligence. In the above scenarios, the burn victim in the car accident may sue if the car crash was caused by a drunken driver, for instance. With the construction accident, perhaps a third-party company responsible for the wiring was negligent and violated safety codes, causing the electrical burn.
Fire and burn injuries may also be caused by a defective product. For example, there have been recent safety concerns surrounding fires and explosions from lithium batteries in various products. Lawsuits have been filed over e-cigarettes; a number of consumers have reported that the device exploded unexpectedly, causing burn injuries. In addition to injuries and medical bills, plaintiffs can also seek damages for property damage.
In October 2016, Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7 after numerous complaints that the phones caught on fire and/or exploded.
Hoverboards, a popular item among children, were also recalled in July 2016 due to a fire hazard. Sadly, one hoverboard fire killed two young girls in March 2017, prompting a government investigation.
Filing a Long Island Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit involving an accident that occurred on Long Island, contact one of our Long Island 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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