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Burn Injury Lawyer

Do You Need a Pennsylvania Burn Injury Lawyer?

Most people experience mild burns throughout their lives from everyday actions like quickly touching a hot pan. While these burns may be painful and lead to temporary discomfort, they are unlikely to cause long-term mental trauma or physical damage. However, many types of burns are far more serious than a superficial burn.

According to United States Vital Statistics, there are 450,000 emergency room visits due to burn injuries every year. After emergency treatment, 45,000 will be admitted to long-term care or treatment at burn centers. Tragically, an average of 3,500 (just under one percent) of these burn victims will not survive. Fortunately, though, most will live, thanks to advanced medicine practices.

Without a doubt, survival rates among burn injury victims are high, at just over 93%. However, many survivors of this type of catastrophic personal injury will face long-term rehabilitation and medical intervention. In addition, permanent disfigurement, loss of physical ability, and even brain damage can be lifelong results of burn injuries.

Read more on burn injury statistics.

REASONS FOR BURNS

Burns happen for a variety of reasons and in many circumstances. Below are some of the most frequent types of burns.

  • Contact with a flame (dry heat)
  • Contact with steam
  • Contact with hot liquids
  • Contact with hot objects
  • Contact with certain chemicals
  • Contact with electrical circuits
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to the sun’s rays
  • Friction created against the skin

Although many burns are completely accidental or self-inflicted, others can be caused by unsafe conditions or defective products. In those cases, the burn victim (or his or her family members) may pursue legal means to receive compensation.

For example, a Pennsylvania landlord who does not install or maintain working smoke detectors may be found negligent if a fire occurs and tenants are not warned. The tenant (or visiting guest) with burns–even if they are superficial–or other personal injuries could work with a lawyer to recover damages.

As for defective products that caused not only burns but fatalities, one Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, case that hit the headlines in 2017 illustrates the problem. A house fire broke out, ostensibly from a malfunctioning hoverboard. Not only was property destroyed, but two young girls died in the blaze. Others were hurt, but survived. Additionally, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit charge that the smoke detectors in the building never went off; accordingly, the property landlord is named in the case as a defendant.

STAGING OF BURNS

Regardless of how a burn occurs, the immediate damage to the skin and body parts is staged according to seriousness. As with any injury, the more invasive the wound, the longer the healing process.

First-Degree Burns – The least worrisome of burns is the first-degree burn. Generally, the pain and any discoloration of the skin is fleeting. Blistering is not present, and scars are exceedingly rare. However, even first-degree burns can be the basis for a negligence lawsuit. Just because the burn is mild doesn’t negate its effects.

Second-Degree Burns – These burns go deeper into the second layer of skin, the dermis. As such, they can cause swelling and blistering. Typically, the site of the burn heals but may lead to scarring. Plus, second-degree burns can lead to side effects like infections and hypothermia. For workers, a second-degree burn may make going to the office or job difficult.

Third-Degree Burns – A third-degree burn is the most serious of all burns because it permanently damages not only all the layers of the skin, but often the underlying soft and hard tissues and nerves. Not only can a third-degree burn leave lasting marks, but it can lead to more troubling problems, including brain damage.

BURN INJURIES AND BRAIN DAMAGE

Although most people envision damage to the skin when they picture any type of burn, a burn can go much deeper. In fact, one of the most common impacts of burn injuries sustained in a fire is brain injury caused by other factors involved in the incident.

Cerebral hypoxia is a condition in which oxygen is cut off from the brain, causing brain cells to die. Cerebral hypoxia can result in death, but more often results in permanent brain damage. Recovery from this type of injury is generally not possible, placing an immense burden on victims of burn injuries and their families.

Burns caused by electrical shock can also result in brain injuries.

When your body is exposed to a live electrical current, it can act as a conduit, causing cardiac and respiratory damage that cuts oxygen off from the brain. In other instances, the surge of electricity may cause a concussive shock to your brain, resulting in irreversible damage. In both of these instances, permanent disability may be added to disfigurement, further impacting every aspect of your life.

COMPENSATION FOR BURN INJURIES

Depending on the severity of your burn, you may suffer from extreme pain, disfigurement, and even paralysis surrounding the burn area. If your injury was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible.

The experienced burn injury lawyers at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller can help you carefully assess the full extent of your damages.

In burn injury lawsuits, our lawyers  generally seek the following types of damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life

EXPERIENCED BURN INJURY LAWYERS

If you or a loved one has suffered from a burn injury in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please contact Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller today to schedule your free initial consultation with a burn injury lawyer.