Burn Injuries and Death from Accident Burns

Burn Injuries and Death from Accident Burns

The annual public service Burn Awareness Week was just observed here in Indiana and Illinois as well as the rest of the country.  Each year, the American Burn Association as well as other safety advocates work together during February to promote greater education and understanding of burn injury dangers.  It’s a big job because the subject covers a lot of territory.

Burns vary.  They can injure or permanently harm anyone, but they are particularly risky for kids and seniors.  There are several different ways that victims can suffer burns, from flames to chemicals to liquids.  They cause all kinds of harm, too.  Burns run from minor scald injuries caused by spilling a hot drink to permanent burn injuries caused in a car crash or fatal burns sustained in an on-the-job electric shock and are risks facing Indiana and Illinois.

Burns in Accidents: Flame, Electricity, Chemicals, Liquids

The American Burn Association works to limit and reduce the number of burn injuries sustained in this country, no matter the cause.  Their studies show that burns are dangers in all sorts of accident settings, including:

  • Residential home accidents;
  • Motor vehicle accident fuel fires;
  • On the job work injuries.

This is because burns can be caused not only from flames in a fire, but also from exposure to electricity, contact with chemicals, and scalds from boiling-hot liquid. 

All sorts of accidents can result in victims being seriously injured or killed by burns and burn injuries.  As we have discussed earlier, severe or fatal burns can happen in seconds in an accident at an Indiana or Illinois:

  • Hotel
  • Restaurant
  • Apartment
  • House
  • Job Site
  • School
  • Car accident
  • Truck crash
  • Industrial site
  • Construction site.

For more, read our discussion about how scalds can kill in “Burn Awareness Week is Next Week (February 2- 8, 2014): Preventing Burn Injuries Through Public Awareness of Common Dangers.

Serious or fatal burn injuries can happen in seconds, with the victim of an accident facing extensive medical care and treatment to deal with their burn injuries.

Consider the following sources of a severe burn injury that may be life-altering or fatal:

  1. Fire (from any flame, including those used in construction or industrial work like welding)
  2. Steam from boiling liquid (not necessarily water)
  3. Hot objects (like engines in a car or truck; irons; tools used on a construction site)
  4. Hot liquids (including hot soups at a restaurant or hot industrial glues at a plant facility)
  5. Ice (cold burns from skin exposure)
  6. Electrical current (electricity flowing through tools used on the job, tools used at home or school, etc.)
  7. Lightning (natural electricity)
  8. Chemicals (including acids and gases used in manufacturing, mining, and industrial facilities)
  9. Radiation (this can include radiation therapy as well as from tanning booths, X-rays, etc.)
  10. Friction (motor vehicle accidents can cause friction burns where the victim is thrust against the asphalt, pedestrians; bicyclists; and motorcyclists are prone to friction burns in crashes).


Treatment of Severe Burn Injuries

Burn injuries involve overwhelming damage to the human body.  Care and treatment of burn injuries, particularly severe burns, mandates immediate and emergency care as well as specialized treatment over long periods of time.

In fact, today, there are specific “burn centers” dedicated exclusively to the care and treatment of burn victims.  The American Burn Association reports that over 60% of severe burn victims are admitted to these burn centers.

These are special care facilities focusing on the most serious of burn injuries, no matter the accident cause.  Burns from chemical exposures, flames from fire, extreme heat from hire, electric shocks, and boiling hot liquid, are all burn injuries resulting in third-degree or fourth-degree burns.

Both 3rd Degree and 4th Degree burns can be fatal.  They can also result in permanent disfigurement, scarring, lifelong pain and suffering, and the need for continued therapy, multiple surgeries, and more.

Fourth degree burns are the worst burn injuries.  In a 4th degree burn, the burn has destroyed a part of the victim’s body from their outer-most skin surface down to the bone.

Claims for Justice for Burn Victims and Their Families

In the aftermath of an accident where the victim has suffered severe burn injuries, the crisis may continue for days, weeks, or months as the severity of the harm to the victim’s body is assessed and treated.  The burn victim and their loved ones deal with horrific consequences that can include not only excruciating pain and loss of limb or function but the finality of death.

At some point, there will be the opportunity for the victim and family to consider the need for justice and this often comes with the recognition of the high financial costs of burn care, treatment, and rehabilitation.  There are few accident injuries that result in a higher cost in long-term medical care than those faced by the victim of a severe burn in jury.

In both Indiana and Illinois, state and federal law is in place to help these burn victims and their families find justice and obtain compensation from those responsible for the burn accident.  Claims can cover the high costs of care, treatment, and rehab as well as other intangible losses including things like the loss of some forms of career or life’s work.

Should the burn accident victim succumb to his burn injuries, then wrongful death and workers’ compensation laws exist to help the victim’s family as well.

Burns can be deadly.  Even burns that heal can cause debilitating scars as well as reduced bodily functions that result in permanent harm to the burn victim.  Let’s be careful out there!


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