Injuries resulting from fires or explosions are catastrophic for victims and often require lengthy and costly treatments. Explosions are a hazard of construction, utility maintenance, warfare, and defective household appliances. Burn injuries vary widely in terms of their causes and severity and can leave permanent damage.
Types of Explosion and Burn Injuries
Explosions are violent reactions, and fires are not the only hazardous result from an explosion. Depending on the location and nature of the explosion, individuals outside the immediate blast radius may still suffer from the concussive force of the blast, causing traumatic brain injury, striking wounds from flying debris, or impact injuries against hard surfaces. Those closer to the epicenter of the blast face serious burn injuries or respiratory damage from toxic fumes or smoke inhalation.
Fires and heat, electricity, radiation, and exposure to corrosive chemicals can cause burns.
- Thermal burns result from exposure or contact to fires and hot surfaces. Scalding from hot water or steam is a common type of thermal burn.
- Chemical burns are caused by contact with corrosive substances that damage the skin. Some toxic fumes may cause internal chemical burns to the lungs and respiratory system.
- Radiation burns are the result of exposure to ultraviolet or other types of radiation. Sunburn is a commonly seen radiation burn.
- Electrical burns are caused by exposure to electrical discharge. Along with the other effects of electrocution, high-voltage electricity can burn victims.
Depending upon the burn’s severity, different treatments may be required. First-degree burns affect only the outermost layers of skin, and may not require immediate medical attention beyond household first aid; they typically heal quickly. Second-degree burns damage the skin more deeply and are far more painful. Third-degree burns require extensive medical treatment and may result in skin grafts, as the entirety of the skin is damaged. Finally, fourth-degree burns reach through the skin to the underlying tissues or bones and require immediate medical attention.
What Victims Can Do About Burn Injuries
In some situations, the explosion or other source of a burn injury may have been the result of someone else’s negligent actions. Anyone who has suffered a burn injury needs to be aware of their rights, so they can hold the responsible parties accountable for the damage they caused. In order to file any personal injury claim, the victim must prove the defendant was negligent, and this process involves three key factors:
- The responsible party owed the victim a duty of care to act with reasonable safety and pose no threat to those around them by their actions. In the workplace, employers are required to furnish their workers with a safe and hazard-free working environment.
- The defendant breached this duty of care in some way. An example would be failure to provide fire countermeasures in a workplace, such as an alarm system, extinguishers, or a sprinkler system.
- The negligent actions of the defendant directly caused the victim’s injuries.
Once these facts are established, the victim will be able to pursue a personal injury claim for a burn injury. In workplace accidents, if the burn was not caused by any fault of the employee, workers’ compensation benefits may cover the cost of some medical expenses and lost wages from time away from work, but workers’ compensation rarely covers the entire cost of a burn injury.
Burns are extremely painful wounds, and severe burns require extensive medical intervention, skin grafts, physical therapy, and possibly reconstructive surgeries. If you are injured outside of work due to a defective product, an unsafe public location, arson, or violence, you need to be aware of your rights so you can obtain just compensation for your expenses and pain and suffering.
We believe that anyone responsible for a burn injury must be held accountable and pay for his or her negligence or illegal actions. The burn injury attorneys of Douglas, Haun & Heidemann have more than 100 years of experience fighting on behalf of our clients in the Springfield, Mo., region, and have an extensive personal injury background. Don’t pay for the negligence of another, and get in touch with our team of experts if you have questions about a burn injury case.