Omaha Burn Injury Lawyers
Severe burns can cause damage beyond the affected area. The skin is our largest organ and is responsible for vital bodily functions, like regulating body temperature, keeping moisture in, keeping disease out, and allowing us to sense the world around us.
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Burns cause extreme pain and disfigurement, and can lead to further life-threatening conditions. Burn victims are expected to endure years of expensive medical treatment, surgeries, ongoing physical and psychological therapy, and may have months or years of lost income. If you are suffering from a severe burn that may have been caused by another person or company’s negligence, our legal team may be able to help. For a no-cost initial consultation, please call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 to speak with an Omaha personal injury attorney.
In the United States, 1.1 million burn injuries occur each year. According to the American Burn Association, 45,000 of these injuries require hospitalization and nearly 4,000 result in death. Of the burn victims admitted to the hospital, 44% listed flames as the cause, 33% listed scalding water, 9% direct contact with an overheated item, 4% electricity, 3% chemical, and 7% "other."
Burns are commonly acquired at home by using matches or lighters, dropping cigarettes, or leaving cooking unattended. Burn injuries may also be due to product defects, faulty electrical wiring, flammable household products or clothing, heater accidents, or faulty appliances. These burn accidents are preventable when companies take proper precautions before shipping their products out to consumers.
Burn accidents at work usually involve open flames and chemicals, a lack of safety precautions, or someone else’s carelessness. Automobile fires are typically caused by collisions and/or vehicle defects.
The larger the burn area, the more serious the burn is, and more consequences the victim will face. Here are the types of burns:
- Thermal burns: Thermal burns occur when the victim is exposed to heat from an external source. Flames and direct contact with heated items cause thermal burns.
- Scalds: Boiling liquids and steam can be just as dangerous as an open flame, and children are especially at risk of scalding accidents.
- Chemical burns: Acids, detergents, and solvents coming into contact with the eyes or skin can cause chemical burns. Even common household products carry this risk.
- Electric burns: These come in two forms: low-voltage electric burns, and high-voltage electric burns. The most common cause of low-voltage burns is a person touching an extension cord without insulation. High-voltage burns are much more dangerous, because in this form the electric current passes through the body, opening an entrance wound and an exit wound and potentially doing internal damage.
Burns are classified by degree or depth.
- First-degree burns: This type of burn is considered superficial and only damages the outer layer of skin, known as the epidermis.
- Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and the second layer of skin, known as the dermis. Characteristics of a second-degree burn are redness, high pain levels, and blisters.
- Third-degree burns: Third-degree burns destroy the epidermis and dermis, and often cause damage to the tendons, muscles, and bones underneath the subcutaneous level of the skin. The affected area may appear charred, or white in color. Third-degree burns are generally not painful because the nerve endings have been completely destroyed.
When the skin is wounded by a severe burn, the victim’s hair follicles, sweat glands, skin elasticity, and appearance may be permanently damaged. Burns may leave the victim threatened by diseases, breathing problems, dehydration, and infections. In addition to physical ailments, severe scarring may cause social and emotional difficulties.
Victims of burn injuries caused by someone else's negligence are entitled to pursue compensation for their losses. Damages will depend on the location and extent of your injuries and the specific circumstances of your case. Common damages in serious burn injury cases include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and medical devices
- Lost wages or earnings
- Loss of future earning potential
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
People can suffer burns in many different ways. Common causes of burn injuries include:
- Motor vehicle crashes: Gasoline can spill and ignite in a wreck, causing the vehicle to burst into flames. Every year in a recent three-year period, an estimated 171,500 highway vehicle fires occurred in the U.S., causing an average of 345 deaths and 1,300 injuries, as reported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Electrocution: This type of burn injury is common in occupations in the construction, electrical, and oil and gas industries. When workers are exposed to electrical current, it can cause severe damage to systems of the body or death.
- Defective products: When certain products malfunction, they may overheat and start a fire. These products include battery operated or electrically powered devices.
- Gas explosions: Water heaters, propane tanks, and gas furnaces can explode in homes or on work sites, causing serious burn injuries to people in the vicinity.
Today, 96.7% of people treated in burn centers survive, as stated by the American Burn Association (ABA). Regardless of severity, proper burn care is essential to heal the skin and protect against complications. All burns carry a risk of infection, as they make the skin vulnerable to harmful bacteria.
Severe burns require treatment at specialized burn centers. Skin grafts may be required to cover large wounds. After initial emergency treatment for severe burns, subsequent care may include:
- Water-based treatments, such as ultrasound mist therapy, to clean and stimulate tissue
- IV fluids to prevent dehydration and organ failure
- Pain and anxiety medications
- Creams and ointments, such as bacitracin and Silvadene, to help prevent infection and prepare the wound to close
- Specialty wound dressings to prepare the wound for healing
- IV antibiotics to fight infection
- Tetanus shot, frequently recommended after serious burns
If a large area of the body is burned, patients may require physical therapy to stretch the skin so the joints can remain flexible. Surgical and other procedures that may be required for severe burns include:
- Breathing assistance: A breathing tube may be necessary if the throat swells shut from burns on the face or neck.
- Feeding tube: This may be required for a person with extensive burn injuries who needs nutritional support.
- Surgical pressure relief: When a burn injury goes entirely around a limb, the scab can tighten and cut off blood circulation. A doctor may make an incision in the scab to relieve the pressure.
- Skin grafting: This is common in severe burn cases. A section of your skin or skin from other sources is grafted to replace scar tissue caused by a deep burn.
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery: This may be needed to improve the appearance and joint flexibility after severe burns.
If you were seriously burned by someone else’s negligence, you can trust Bottlinger Law L.L.C. to get the workers’ comp benefits or personal injury damages you are entitled to. Our founding attorney, Jason Bottlinger, handles complex personal injury matters throughout the Heartland, and our legal team has a successful track record of recovering just compensation for our clients. Please contact us at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
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