Burns are common injuries. You could suffer burns from accidents, or from intentional behavior. When most people think of burns, they think of a stove or fire. However, many things cause burns, including extreme cold, like frostbite. Chemotherapy can cause chemical burns. Overexposure to UV rays can cause sunburn. So to can car and truck accidents.
If you suffer from burns because of another person’s actions, contact The Robert Pahlke Law Group for a free consultation. Our Nebraska personal injury lawyers are standing by to help you recover your life.
Causes of Burns
Common causes of burns include house fires, chimney fires, car fires, the sun, the cold, defective equipment, and spilled chemicals. However, faulty equipment could also cause burns.
For example, in one of our cases, a man was burned because of a defective gas meter and/or pump. When the plaintiff turned the gas on after replacing the meter, the gas would not flow. He turned the gas off and checked the meter and the pump. All seemed fine, so he turned the gas on again. This time, the system worked, but it forcefully shot gas and vapor through the system, causing it to escape the system. When it did, it hit the plaintiff and caught fire, burning the plaintiff. The jury awarded our client $5 million.
Types of Burns
With some burns, you might not realize your injury is actually a burn, such as with frostbite. Common types of burns include:
A friction burn occurs when something, such as a rope, rubs against the skin. The heat from the fast-moving object creates a burn, though a friction burn is also an abrasion. You can suffer friction burns in a cycling accident if your skin scrapes along the road, which is commonly known as road rash. Often, kids playing rough on carpeted floors get carpet burns from sliding around on the carpet.
Touching a wire plugged into an electrical outlet that has a short could burn the skin. When you are repairing a vehicle, and you cause electricity to arc off the battery, you could suffer an electrical burn. Burns could happen in a car accident where electric wires fall onto a car, and conduct electricity through the vehicle.
Heat (Thermal) Burns
A thermal burn could result from fire, steam, hot liquid, or touching something hot, such as a hot pan. Car accidents often result in fires, as does lightning striking a house or a tree. You might think that sunburn is a thermal burn, but it is actually a radiation burn.
Most people think of frostbite when during winter. Frostbite is a burn that not only happens when you spend too much time in cold temperatures outside, but also when you come into contact with cold objects for too long—HVAC workers, for example, or butchers working in freezers.
Most people think of chemical burns happening at work. However, many household items could cause chemical burns, including bleach and muriatic acid, which people sometimes use in pools. For people with tender skin or an allergy to a chemical, even detergent could cause chemical burns.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays cause radiation burns, commonly known as sunburn. Other forms of radiation burns include x-rays and cancer treatments.
Severity of Burns and Symptoms
Symptoms of a burn depend on how extensive the burn is, and include:
- Red skin;
- Peeling skin;
- White or charred skin;
- Pain; and
- Shock, which includes clammy skin, pale skin, bluish fingernails and skin; weakness, and lethargy.
The symptoms depend on the severity of the burn, which includes first-, second-, and third-degree burns. A first-degree burn is the mildest burn. You will have some pain, and the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, will turn red.
A second-degree burn burns through to the lower layer of skin—the dermis. Second-degree burn symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and blistering. Finally, third-degree burns affect tissue below the dermis. Symptoms include numbness at the burn site, and charred skin that might be white or black.
Recovering Damages from Burn Incidents
While damages are highly specific to the facts of each claimant’s unique case, in general, you can recover two principal types of damages from burn incidents, including special damages and general damages. An experienced burn injury attorney can help you perform a full accounting of your injuries, as well as the effects of the injuries on your life.
Economic damages, or special damages, are those items that you pay out of pocket, including:
- Past medical expenses for those expenses you incurred directly as a result of the burn incident;
- Future medical expenses for those expenses you will incur, including additional surgeries, follow-up appointments, and appointments for physical, cognitive, and psychological therapy.
- Past lost wages for the time lost from work because of the initial incident;
- Future lost wages for the time you won’t be able to work because of the burn or secondary medical issues related to initial burn incident;
- Medical equipment;
- The replacement or repair of personal property; and
- Funeral and burial expenses, if you lost a loved one because of extensive burns.
Non-economic damages, or general damages, are those that do not have a price tag attached, and include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of use of a body part or function; and
- Inconvenience, if you are not able to perform typical tasks such as shopping, cleaning, and home maintenance.
Contact The Robert Pahlke Law Group’s Nebraska Burn Injury Attorneys Right Away
Burn injuries are some of the most painful conditions to treat, and many patients suffer long-term complications as a result. Additionally, burn treatments can prove very expensive, often leaving recovering victims with untenable medical bills.
Nobody should have to pay for an injury caused by another party’s negligence. If you suffer from burns because of an accident, defective product, or from an intentional incident, such as arson, contact The Robert Pahlke Law Group at (308) 633-4444 for a free consultation.
Pahlke Law Group
2425 Circle Drive #200
Scottsbluff, NE 69361