Unfortunately, burns severe enough to require treatment are pretty common. Severe burn injuries can be devastating and life-threatening. They produce intense pain and scarring, and often involve lengthy periods of treatment and rehabilitation, including multiple surgeries. Both the memory of the event and the psychological effects of scarring and deformity can produce psychological problems that last for the rest of the victim’s life.
The pressure and anxiety of dealing with the injury itself is often compounded by the need to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury. That compensation is usually needed to pay for the victim’s care and support the family during the victim’s long absence from work. Obtaining the services of an experienced Texas burn injury attorney is the first step to making the family’s burden manageable.
Causes of Burns
Movies and other popular entertainment emphasize dramatic, crackling open flames in stories about burns, but these injuries occur in many other ways, too. The National Burn Repository reports that, for 2012, the following were the most common causes of burns:
- Flame injuries (44 percent)
- Scald injuries (33 percent)
- Contact with a hot object (9 percent)
- Electricity (4 percent)
- Chemicals (3 percent)
These injuries can occur anywhere; many happen right in the victim’s home. The American Burn Association reports that the burn injuries for which people were admitted to burn centers from 2002-2012 occurred in:
- The home for 72 percent of victims
- On the job for 9 percent
- On the street or highway for 5 percent
- During a recreational or sporting event for 5 percent
- All other places of injury accounted for only 9 percent
Burn Injuries and the Elderly
Our senior citizens are especially vulnerable to burn injuries, especially from fires. Cognitive problems (including the effects of prescription drugs) make it more likely that seniors will cause a fire. Diminished sensory abilities (smell, hearing, vision) make it harder for many seniors to notice a fire in its early stage, and diminished mobility makes it harder for them to escape a fire.
In addition, older people with balance and/or vision problems are prone to falls, which exposes them to potential burns from scalding and contact with hot surfaces.
Recovery and Complications
While most—96 percent–burn victims survive their injuries, they tend to stay in the burn unit for some time. The rule of thumb is one day for every 1 percent of the victim’s body that is burned. This gets very expensive, very quickly: burn unit costs vary from $35,000 to more than $1,000,000.
Complications most likely to occur in this time are infections, pneumonia, a serious skin infection known as cellulitis, and infections in the urinary tract.
In the longer term, victims are prone to continuing pain and psychological distress, which may qualify as PTSD. Physical function can be limited by scarring which prevents joints from moving normally.
The psychological effects of scarring are acknowledged to be more serious for women in our society.
Free Burn Injury Consultation
Establishing the extent of your injuries and associated losses is only a piece of all that needs to be done. First, you have to establish who is legally responsible for those damages, which means proving exactly what happened and why it happened. The first step in that process is finding and preserving the evidence related to the event that injured you. Then, that evidence needs to be pieced together into a compelling claim that starts the process of negotiating with the responsible person’s insurance company and lawyer.
With offices in Dallas, Texas, Aaron Herbert is a highly rated and Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Specialist, experienced in both establishing liability and proving damages. He has a long history of success in handling severe injury cases, reaching a fair settlement when possible, and taking the case through the trial process when necessary. In fact, he’s a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. His firm accepts cases throughout the state of Texas.
If you or a family member is suffering the consequences of a burn injury, call today. If the legal deadline for filing expires, you’ll lose your right to recover compensation. The first consultation is free, and because we accept cases on contingency, you’ll have no out-of-pocket expenses during the time we’re preparing and negotiating your case. You will incur no attorney fees, court, or legal expenses unless you recover.