Kentucky Burn Injuries LawyerBurn injuries due to accidents or a structure fire in Kentucky can be some of the most painful a person can endure.
They may potentially be life threatening, cause severe scarring and result in life-long disabilities. Not only can the physical harm be painful and life-altering, the accident and injuries can result in a deep psychological and emotional impact.
Burn injuries caused by heat can occur in a vehicle accident, structure fire or a workplace where flammable materials are used. These types of accidents often occur due to the negligence of one party or another. The act of negligence can come from several sources:
- A negligent driver may cause the collision which resulted in a vehicle fire.
- A negligent manufacturer may produce a defective item that sparked the fire.
- A company that improperly maintained a vehicle or building could contribute to the cause of the fire.
About 485,000 people seek hospital treatment for some kind of burn every year, according to the American Burn Association (ABA). According to the ABA:
- Annually there are about 2,745 deaths from residential fires, 310 from vehicle crash fires and 220 due to other causes.
- A civilian fire death happens about every 2 hours and 41 minutes.
- The odds of a U.S. resident’s dying from exposure to fire, flames or smoke is 1 in 1442. According to the National Safety Council, that’s slightly less likely than drowning and about three times more likely than being killed while bicycling.
- Each year there are about 40,000 hospitalizations due to burns, with 30,000 of them at specialized hospital burn centers.
Deep or widespread burns can cause many complications, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Infection: Burned skin can be vulnerable to bacterial infection and increase the risk of sepsis (an infection that travels through the bloodstream, affecting the whole body which can progress rapidly and cause shock, organ failure and death).
- Low blood volume: Burns can damage blood vessels and cause fluid loss, which can cause low blood volume. If blood and fluid loss are severe, it may prevent the heart from pumping enough blood through the body.
- Dangerously low body temperature: The skin helps control the body’s temperature. If a large portion is injured, body heat will be lost, increasing the risk of a dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia). Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can be produced.
- Breathing problems: Breathing hot air or smoke can burn airways and cause breathing difficulties. Smoke inhalation damages the lungs and may cause respiratory failure.
- Scarring: Recovery from burns causes scars and keloids (ridges of overgrown scar tissue).
- Bone and joint problems: Scar tissue can form, shortening and tightening skin, muscles or tendons. This may permanently pull joints out of position.
- Internal injuries: If faced with a life-threatening injury like a severe burn, the body redirects blood to try to save the brain and heart. This can reduce oxygen and other important substances to the intestines and lungs.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that in the past the chances of dying due to serious burns were greater than today, due to improved treatments and understanding of how burns heal.
- In the mid-1970’s about 9,000 people in the U.S. were killed annually from burn injuries.
- Nearly all of those whose burns covered more than 20% of their bodies died.
- Burn centers were rare and most victims were treated in general hospitals
- Often those who survived the initial burn and injury likely died due to infections or other complications.
Currently the prospects for severe burn injury victims are much better.
- The number of fatalities due to burns has decreased to about 3,800 a year.
- Those with burns covering 90% of their bodies can survive, though they often suffer permanent impairments.
- More than half of burn patients are treated in specialized burn centers.
- Improvements have come in wound cleaning, skin replacement, infection control and nutrition.
- Bioengineering and cell culturing techniques allow the growth of replacement skin created by the patient’s own tissues. This results in more natural healing, more function and less scarring.
- Survival rates have increased dramatically along with the overall health, functioning and quality of life of survivors.
Thanks to developments in treatments, far more burn victims are surviving; but, depending on the severity, a burn injury can result in ongoing medical treatments and surgeries along with a lifetime of physical, psychological and emotional challenges. If your severe burn was caused by the negligence of another party, those responsible can be held accountable for their acts through a personal injury lawsuit.
Under Kentucky law some personal injury actions must be brought within one year. So it’s important that you act without delay in order to protect your rights to compensation. Call a Lexington, KY Injury Lawyer today at our local number — (859) 233-3641. Or use our toll-free number — 866-77JULIE. If you prefer, you may use our online inquiry form. We will be glad to make a free and confidential evaluation of your case.