The first full week of February, which this year is the 4th – 10th, is Burn Awareness Week. The purpose behind this annual campaign is to prompt local fire and safety instructors to “unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities,” according to the American Burn Association (ABA), the organization behind the campaign.
In 2016, the latest year for which full stats are currently available, there were approximately 486,000 burn injuries that resulted in emergency room visits. Of these, 40,000 people were hospitalized, 30,000 of those in burn trauma centers.
The survival rate for victims of burn injury is high, just shy of 97%, but according to the WHO, “non-fatal burns are a leading cause of morbidity, including prolonged hospitalization, disfigurement and disability, often with resulting stigma and rejection.” Sadly, many of these victims will also face a lifetime of physical limitations, emotional and physical pain and suffering, and ongoing medical and rehabilitation costs that can, over the course of several years, run into the millions.
If you are currently dealing with the emotional, physical, and financial damages caused by a burn injury, you may be entitled to compensation. The best way to learn if you have cause to file suit and seek damages from a negligent third-party is through a one-on-one consultation at the Atlanta office of Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance. Please call 404-948-4893 to schedule a free consultation with one of our burn injury attorneys to learn more.
Leading Causes of Burn Injury
The ABA burn injury fact sheet suggests that the leading causes of admission to a hospital or burn center are:
- 43% Contact with fire or flame
- 34% Scalding or contact with moist heat
- 9% Direct contact with a source of heat
- 4% Contact with exposed electrical wires
- 3% Exposure to corrosive chemicals
Seven percent of burn injuries each year are caused by sources others than those listed above.
Approximately 8% of all serious burn injuries occur at work. Auto fires and recreational accidents each account for 5% of the admissions to hospitals and burn centers. The majority of burn injury accidents, 73% of them, occur in the home. Tragically, many of these are deadly.
The ABA reports that 3,275 people died from exposure to flames or smoke in 2016. 2,745 of those deaths came from residential fires. 310 burn injury deaths occurred following auto accidents in which the vehicles became engulfed in flame.
Many home fires that result in injury or death are caused by things beyond the control of the victim. Defective products, faulty designs, inadequate operating instructions, and many other factors can contribute to harm and should not be overlooked when seeking compensation for these injuries. The experienced burn injury lawyers at Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance are prepared to investigate your accident, identify all liable parties, and fight to get you every penny you deserve.
Unintentional fire/burn injury is the fifth leading cause of injury deaths for children aged 1-4 in the United States. Exposure to these dangers is the third leading cause of injury death for children aged 3-9.
Approximately 40% of these deaths are the result of children “Playing with fire.” This act alone, “playing” with fire or flame, results in over 56,000 fires, 100 deaths, and 850 injuries on a yearly basis.
Children under the age of five are 2.5-times more likely to suffer serious burn injury – injury that requires hospitalization – than any other age group. This makes educating your children about fire safety something that should be done early and often.
The ABA’s Youth Fire Setting Prevention flyer recommends that you:
- Instruct children to notify an adult if they see lighters or matches unattended
- Keep accelerants, such as gasoline and propane, outside the home and locked up
- Keep lighters away from children. Child-resistant lighters are not child-proof
- Set a good example by using matches, lighters and other fire sources in a safe and careful manner
Further, the organization recommends you do not:
- Leave candles unattended in the home; consider flameless, fire-safe alternatives
- Give children tasks that require the use of matches or lighters (helping light a BBQ, fireplace, etc.)
- Leave children unattended near BBQ grills, fireworks, fireplaces, candles, bonfires or fire pits
- Forget to educate children in an age-appropriate manner about the dangers of fire play
This Burn Awareness Week, take time to talk to your children about fire safety to help protect them from what is often completely an avoidable injury.
The True Cost of Burn Injury
According to the NCBI, the average burn injury hospitalization corresponds neatly to a 1:2 ratio. For every one percent of the body burned, two days in the hospital can be expected. Studies published by the National Library of Medicine suggest electrical burn are the most expensive, at least initially, averaging $24,000 for emergency treatment and subsequent hospitalization alone. This same report suggests that the overall mean cost of burn injury hospitalization is $15,250.
Commonly, victims of burn injury will face on-going expenses, often to deal with:
- Serious disfigurement
- Irreversible muscle, tissue, and bone damage
- Skin breakdown
- Organ failure
Complications with skin grafts, delayed wound healing, and other complications can extend initial hospital stays as well.
Many burn injury survivors struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, requiring years of psychological services. Adaptive technology and home modifications are often needed when burn injury reduces physical capacity as well. And multiple types of therapy and rehabilitation are often required to regain even a portion of lost ability. All of these things will, over the course of a lifetime, result in significant expenses.
It is not uncommon for victims of burn injury to see related expenses top hundreds of thousands of dollars, many times crossing the million-dollar mark. Without assistance from a burn injury lawyer, where will the money for these expenses come from?
If your injury is a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for all of your damages, including emotional and physical pain and suffering. The only way to find out for sure is through a confidential and obligation-free consultation at our Atlanta office. During this visit, we can assess your claim, discuss all of your rights, and help you choose the best way to move forward.
Please call Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance at 404-948-4893 to schedule your free consultation. Our burn injury lawyers serve Atlanta, Savannah, Decatur, Columbus, and all surrounding Georgia communities. If your burn injury prohibits travel, we will come to your location to talk to you in detail about your rights and your options.