When we think of injuries caused by the negligence of others, we rarely think of burn injuries. But these injuries can be far worse than that painful feeling you get when you accidentally touch a hot stove.
A burn injury can require a hospital visit, and in some cases, may even result in life-long complications, disabilities and death. House fires, scorching hot water and electrocutions are just a few common causes of severe burn injuries.
How severe are burn injuries?
Burn injuries range in severity. They include:
- First-degree burns, which are mild and only affect the surface of the skin
- Second-degree burns, which are more severe than first-degree burns and affect the outer and lower lawyers of the skin
- Third-degree burns, which affect the dermis and deeper layers of skin
- Fourth-degree burns, which can affect muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments
According to Mayo Clinic, severe or widespread burns can cause fatal complications. These include:
- Bacterial infections and sepsis
- Fluid or blood loss
- Dangerously low body temperature
The American Burn Association estimated that burn injuries resulted in roughly 40,000 hospital visits in 2010. This included 30,000 visits (60 percent) to 128 hospital burn centers. The average number of hospital burn center visits each year now exceeds 200. Additionally, the fatality rate of burn injuries is 3.2 percent.
Injuries are usually caused by fires (43 percent), contact with hot liquids (34 percent), or electrocution (4 percent). Roughly 73 percent of burn injuries happen at home; eight percent happen at work, five percent happen on streets/highways, and five percent happen while engaging in recreational activities or sports.
Real cases in Chicago
Our law firm recently won a $2 million settlement for a woman killed by a hot shower. The incident occurred while a woman was in the shower while her husband was working. The water suddenly rose to 152 degrees, which is enough to cause instant second-degree burns and possibly third-degree burns. The woman was found dead about five or six hours after the incident. We found that the landlord, property manager and condominium association were responsible for her death because they had installed a water heater that was the wrong size for the building, causing dangerously hot water to build up and then spray out all at once.
If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury, it's best to speak to an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer. If negligence was found, you may be entitled to compensation for your recovery and losses. Contact Coplan + Crane today and find out how we can help you.