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Burn injuries

Learn More About Burn Injuries:
1st Degree Burns: These superficial burns cause pain, swelling, tingling, and hypersensitivity of the skin. Sunburn is a good example of a first-degree burn since the burn is contained on the top layer of skin (epidermis), causing dry and red damage.

2nd Degree Burns: These “partial thickness burns” affect both the outer-layer (epidermis) and the under lying layer of skin (dermis). These burns often affect sweat glands and hair follicles and cause redness, pain, swelling and blisters. Swelling and decreased blood flow in the tissue can result in the burn becoming a third-degree burn if a deep second-degree burn is not properly treated. There few common causes of second degree burns include scalding liquids, flame injury or flash injury (sudden explosions such as with car accidents or gas tanks).

3rd Degree Burns: These “full thickness burns” affect the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis, whereby the entire thickness of the skin and underlying muscle tissue is burned causing charring of skin or a translucent white color, with coagulated vessels visible just below the skin surface. These types of burns destroy hair follicles and sweat glands, and although not as painful as second degree burns, significant damage is sustained to the nerve endings. These types of burns are very serious and may require extensive medical treatment including hospitalization, skin grafts and diligent attention so that infection does not occur.

4th Degree Burns: This type of burn is life threatening. The burn damage resulting from a fourth degree burn is extreme sometimes resulting amputation when a burned limb is rendered useless. The burn penetrates to the bone and the burned skin is irrevocably lost. High-voltage electrical shock and prolonged flame contact are often a cause of this type of burn.

Inhalation Injuries: More than a hundred known toxic substances are present in fire smoke. As such, fire has been associated with three different types of inhalation injuries. The three types of inhalation injuries include damage from heat inhalation, damage from systemic toxins and damage from smoke inhalation. Inhalation injuries, when combined with external burns, drastically increase the chance of death. Smoke intoxication is frequently hidden by more visible injuries; however, patients that appear unharmed can collapse due to major smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation is attributed to 60-80% of fatalities.

Fatalities From Burn Injuries:

A common cause of burns includes motor vehicle accidents that occur when a gas tank or fuel line cracks or ruptures and ignites. In 2012, there were 300 fatalities from fires stemming from motor vehicle accidents. Other burn injuries occur in the work place from fires and chemicals, as well as, fires in homes or public places caused by negligence or a deliberate act of arson.
The American Burn Association reports these U.S. burn injury fatality statistics for 2012:

• There were a total of burn injury 3400 deaths;

• Residential fires caused 2,550 deaths;

• Motor vehicle crash fires killed 300;

• Contact with electricity, scalding liquids, and hot objects caused 400 deaths;

• Non-residential fires caused 150 deaths;

• Miscellaneous causes of burns from various sources caused 550 fatalities.
Costs Associated with Burn Treatment:

Someone who has suffered from a sever burn will likely require numerous surgeries, rehabilitation and possibly psychological counseling. The costs related to treating burn injuries is expensive with just the initial hospital bills exceeding $200,000 for someone who suffered burns of at least a third of their body. Additional costs incurred for such injuries include reconstructive surgery, physical and occupational therapy, or psychological therapy. Another important aspect of these injuries includes the fact that the patient sustains present and future loss of earnings and earning potential.

Along with the physical ailments and financial strain resulting from a burn injury, there may be significant mental anguish, the felling of isolation, as well as, the loss of use of certain facilities that makes like enjoyable.

You deserve the most money for your losses and to help you move forward with your life. Any compensation for your injuries should include an amount to cover future medical procedures that may become necessary and living expenses for you and your family when you are unable to work. In addition, any recovery will take into account your emotional anguish and damage to your quality of life from health problems and disfigurement, as well as, economic loss.

The right attorney for you should have years of experience working with burn victims and obtaining full and fair compensation for clients.
Key Facts Relating to Fire Deaths and Injuries From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Website:

Deaths from fires and burns are the third leading cause of fatal home injury (Runyan 2004). The United State’s mortality rate from fires ranks eighth among the 25 developed countries for which statistics are available (International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics 2009).

Although the number of fatalities and injuries caused by residential fires has declined gradually over the past several decades, many residential fire-related deaths remain preventable and continue to pose a significant public health problem.

Occurrence and Consequences:

• On average in the United States in 2010, someone died in a fire every 169 minutes, and someone was injured every 30 minutes (Karter 2011).

• About 85% of all U.S. fire deaths in 2009 occurred in homes (Karter 2011).

• In 2010, fire departments responded to 384,000 home fires in the United States, which claimed the lives of 2,640 people (not including firefighters) and injured another 13,350, not including firefighters (Karter 2011).

• Most victims of fires die from smoke or toxic gases and not from burns (Hall 2001).

• Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths (Ahrens 2011).

• Cooking is the primary cause of residential fires (Ahrens 2011).


• Fire and burn injuries represent 1% of the incidence of injuries and 2% of the total costs of injuries, or $7.5 billion each year (Finkelstein et al. 2006).

• Males account for $4.8 billion (64%) of the total costs of fire/burn injuries.

• Females account for $2.7 billion (36%) of the total costs of fire/burn injuries.

• Fatal fire and burn injuries cost $3 billion, representing 2% of the total costs of all fatal injuries.

• Hospitalized fire and burn injuries total $1 billion, or 1% of the total cost of all hospitalized injuries.

• Non-hospitalized fire and burn injuries cost $3 billion, or 2% of the total cost of all non-hospitalized injuries.

Groups at Risk:

• Groups at increased risk of fire-related injuries and deaths include:

• Children 4 and under (CDC 2010; Flynn 2010);

• Older Adults ages 65 and older (CDC 2010; Flynn 2010);

• African Americans and Native Americans (CDC 2010; Flynn 2010);

• The poorest Americans (Istre 2001; Flynn 2010);

• Persons living in rural areas (Ahrens 2003; Flynn 2010);

• Persons living in manufactured homes or substandard housing (Runyan 1992; Parker 1993).

Risk Factors:

• Over one-third (37%) home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms (Ahrens 2011).

• Most residential fires occur during the winter months (CDC 1998; Flynn 2010).

• Alcohol use contributes to an estimated 40% of residential fire deaths (Smith 1999).

Learn More about How to Prevent Home Fires:

Ahrens M. The U.S. fire problem overview report: leading causes and other patterns and trends. Quincy (MA): National Fire Protection Association; 2003.

Ahrens M. Home structure fires. Quincy (MA): National Fire Protection Association; 2011.

Ahrens M. Smoke alarms in U.S. home fires. Quincy (MA): National Fire Protection Association; 2009.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths resulting from residential fires and the prevalence of smoke alarms – United States 1991–1995. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1998; 47(38): 803–6.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). National vital statistics system. Hyattsville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 1998.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Online]. (2010). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (producer). Available from: URL: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars. [Cited 2010 Sept 21].

Finkelstein EA, Corso PS, Miller TR, Associates. Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006.

Flynn JD. Characteristics of home fire victims. Quincy (MA): National Fire Protection Association; 2010.

Hall JR. Burns, toxic gases, and other hazards associated with fires: Deaths and injuries in fire and non-fire situations. Quincy (MA): National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division; 2001.

International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics. World fire statistics: information bulletin of the world fire statistics. Geneva (Switzerland): The Geneva Association; 2009.

Istre GR, McCoy MA, Osborn L, Barnard JJ, Bolton A. Deaths and injuries from house fires. New England Journal of Medicine 2001;344:1911–16.

Karter MJ. Fire loss in the United States during 2010,. Quincy (MA): National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division; 2011.

Parker DJ, Sklar DP, Tandberg D, Hauswald M, Zumwalt RE. Fire fatalities among New Mexico children. Annals of Emergency Medicine 1993;22(3):517–22.

Runyan CW, Bangdiwala SI, Linzer MA, Sacks JJ, Butts J. Risk factors for fatal residential fires. New England Journal of Medicine 1992;327(12):859–63.

Runyan SW, Casteel C (Eds.). The state of home safety in America: Facts about unintentional injuries in the home, 2nd edition. Washington, D.C.: Home Safety Council, 2004.

Smith GS, Branas C, Miller TR. Fatal nontraffic injuries involving alcohol: a meta-analysis. Annals of Emergency Medicine 1999;33(6):659–68.

The following statistics are the latest available from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the United States Fire Administration (part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency):

Injury and death rates:

• The majority of fire-related deaths (70 percent) are caused by smoke inhalation of the toxic gases produced by fires. Actual flames and burns only account for about 30 percent of fire-related deaths and injuries.

• The majority of fires that kill or injure children are residential fires.

• The majority of children ages four and younger, who are hospitalized for burn-related injuries, suffer from scald burns (65 percent) or contact burns (20 percent).

• Fires kill about 500 children ages 14 and under each year and injure approximately 40,000 other children.

• In 2003, about 83,300 children 14 and under were treated for burn injuries in hospital emergency rooms.

• Hot tap water scald burns cause more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns.