Fire And Burn Injury Attorneys in New Jersey
The New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience successfully representing clients in personal injury lawsuits. If you suffered a burn injury and have questions about your legal rights, contact one of our attorneys today. Our firm offers free, no-obligation legal consultations. We work on a contingency fee; this means you do not owe any attorneys’ fees unless we win your case.
Accidents involving fire and burn injuries can be catastrophic. Burns are often deadly or cause lifelong problems. Burns can range in severity, from first to third-degree. Burns are most commonly associated with fire, but there are also chemical, radiation and electrical burns.
The Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library says that older adults mostly suffer burns from open flame and smoking. In children, scalding injuries are the leading cause of burns. Burn injury risks are greatest in older adults and infants.
Types of Burns
Burns can come from exposure to thermal, chemical, radiation or electrical sources. Thermal burns are caused by a heat source, such as fire, steam, hot metal, or scalding liquid. When the skin touches a hot surface, its temperature rises. If the heat makes contact long enough, cells and tissue of the skin will die.
Radiation burns are caused by exposure to radiation, such as the ultraviolet rays of the sun or X-rays. Sunburns are the most common example radiation burns.
There are also chemical burns, which can occur when the skin touches hazardous substances, such as acids, alkalies, solvents, or detergent.
Burns can also stem from an electrical source, such as an alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).
First, Second, Third Degree Burns
Burns range from first-degree, the least serious, to third-degree, the most serious. Burn severity is characterized based on what layer of the skin has been burned. The outermost layer of the skin is the epidermis, followed by the middle layer known as the dermis.
First-degree burns, or “superficial” burns, cause the skin to appear red, painful and dry without blisters. A sunburn, for example, is a first-degree burn. This is also the type of burn you may experience when touching a hot pot on the stove.
Most first-degree burns do not require emergency medical treatment, and permanent damage is rare. A superficial burn can be treated with a cool, wet compress on the skin and a sterile, non-stick bandage. You can also use over-the-counter pain relievers and topical ointments for pain and faster healing.
A second-degree burn, or “partial thickness” burn, gets past the epidermis and into the dermis. Second-degree burns can cause severe pain, blisters, and scarring. The skin often looks wet or moist.
WebMD states that many second-degree burns can be treated at home. However, the American Burn Association (ABA) says that partial thickness burns should be treated at a burn center if they cover more than 10 percent of your total body surface area. You can stop a partial-thickness burn from getting worse by running it under cool water until the pain is gone.
The skin may have blisters; if it does, do not pop them. If they are already broken open, bandage the skin loosely with a nonstick dressing according to package instructions. Wash your hands thoroughly before treating your burn injury.
Third-degree burns, or “full thickness” burns, are the most severe. With these burns, the epidermis and dermis are destroyed. Sometimes, the bones, muscles and tendons underneath are also burned. If this is the case, it may be referred to as a fourth-degree burn. Third-degree burns can cause the skin to appear dry, leathery, white, or charred. Patients with these burns do not feel anything at the burn site because the nerve endings are destroyed.
All third-degree burns should be treated at a burn center, according to the ABA. The type of treatment will vary based on the age of the patient, how much skin is affected, and other factors. Third-degree burns may be treated with antibiotics, intravenous (IV) fluids, skin grafting, cleaning and debriding.
Referral to a New Jersey 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
The only burn center in New Jersey is the St. Barnabas Burn Center in Livingston. This facility is verified by the ABA and the American College of Surgeons (ACS), meaning 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” according to the ABA website.
Fire and Burn Injury Lawsuits
If you suffered a burn injury in New Jersey, contact one of our attorneys for a free legal consultation today. Personal injury lawsuits generally seek damages for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.
For example, you may be able to file a lawsuit for third-degree burns following a car accident; the accident was caused by a reckless driver who did not follow the rules of the road. In another example, a construction worker may sue for electrical injuries caused by a third-party’s (i.e. a subcontractor) negligence.
Fire and burn injuries can also result from a defective product. Recent examples include e-cigarettes, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and hoverboards. All of these products have been subject to either recalls, lawsuits, or safety concerns due to a fire hazard. Hoverboards prompted a government investigation in March 2017 following the tragic deaths of two young girls who died in a hoverboard fire.
Filing a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit involving an accident that occurred in New Jersey, contact one of our New Jersey 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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