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Burn Injuries from House Fires

  • Date : 2010-10-03
  • Coppola & Marlin
  • Synopsis : Almost half of all burn victims suffer their injuries while in their own home often the fault of a third party that made a defective product or provided faulty wiring.

Main Document

Fires in the Home - Almost half of all burn victims suffer their injuries while in their own home. Often times, this is the fault of a third party that made a defective product or provided faulty wiring.

On the morning of September 7, the Colorado Springs Fire Department responded to a house fire on Annanhill Place road. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they discovered that the homeowner, Nam Nyugen, had jumped from a second story window to escape his burning home. Nyugen suffered horrific injuries from the fire, as agonizing burns covered more than 50 percent of his body.

The cause of the Colorado Springs fire is still under investigation, but reports from Nyugen's wife make it sound like the fire began in the upstairs bedroom. She told reporters that she heard Nyugen yell and went upstairs to investigate. When she finally got the second-story door open, she was met by flames. She quickly got herself, her mother-in-law and two-year-old nephew out of the house while Nyugen jumped from the bedroom window.

Thousands Injured by Burns Each Year

Each year, more than half a million people seek treatment for burns in emergency rooms across the country. Nearly half of these injuries - 43 percent - occur at home. Some of the most common causes of household burns include: - Clothing irons and curling irons - Hot stove tops, ovens, pots and pans - Microwaved foods, hot beverages - Defective electric blankets - Fireplaces and radiators - Light bulbs - Cigarettes - Fireworks

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fires and burns are the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the country and the third leading cause of fatal home injuries. Unfortunately, children are often the victims of burns. The CDC estimates that 435 children are treated in ERs each day for burns. Fires and burns are the second leading cause of unintentional death in children ages five to nine and the third leading cause of unintentional death in children ages one to four.

Electrical Fires

Some of the most severe burn injuries are caused in house fires like the one at the Nyugen residence. In 2008, there were more than 400,000 home fires, resulting in 2755 deaths and 13,560 injuries.

Many home fires are caused by faulty electrical wiring or defective small appliances. Stoves, ovens, dryers and central heating units are common sources of electrical fires, which are responsible for taking nearly 500 lives each year. Other causes of electrical fires include misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, as well as overloaded circuits and power strips.

Long, Painful Recovery

Those who have suffered burns have a long road to recovery in front of them. Burns are among the most painful types of injuries and can take many months to heal. They can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement. The scar tissue that develops after a burn also can result in loss of sensation and range of motion.

Depending on the severity of the burns, burn victims may require months of medical treatment. Multiple surgeries, including skin grafting, and intensive rehabilitation are often part of the healing process. In the worst cases, victims can die as a result of their burns.

Legal Liability for Burn Injuries

In some cases, a person may suffer a burn injury due to their own negligence, like inadvertently touching a hot stove-top. However, in many cases, individuals may sustain serious burn injuries through no fault of their own. In these cases, the burn victim has the right to recover compensation from the responsible party for their injuries, including reasonable medical and rehabilitation expenses, loss of earnings and earning capacity and damages for pain and suffering, permanent impairment and disfigurement.

Some of the types of legal claims that may be available to burn victims include:

Product liability

Each year, more than 33 million people are injured by a consumer product they keep in their home. Product manufacturers, retailers and distributors have a legal duty to produce products that are safe for the public to use. When one of these products is defective and causes harm to an individual, the injury victim has the right to bring a product liability claim against those responsible for designing, manufacturing and selling the defective product. This includes those who manufacturer defective household appliances that get too hot and burn a person or start a house fire.

Negligence

House fires are often caused by incorrectly installed or repaired household wiring. In these cases, the electrician and company who negligently installed the wiring may be liable for any injuries caused as a result of his or her negligence. House fires are also often caused by incorrectly installed or repaired gas appliances, such as water heaters. If the home is new, the general contractor may share liability for any injuries that result from the negligence of a subcontractor. In a negligence claim, the injury victim must prove that the responsible party breached his or her duty to safely and correctly perform work in the home and that by breaching this duty, the victim was injured.

Wrongful death

Family members of those who die as a result of their burn injuries may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. This may include a product manufacturer, a negligent contractor or another party. In a wrongful death action, surviving family members can seek damages for economic damages caused by the loss of a love one, as well as non-economic damages for such things as loss of society and companionship, grief and emotional distress.

Conclusion

Burns are among the most tragic and painful injuries. They can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and months of medical care and treatment, not to mention permanent scarring and disfigurement. Those who have sustained burn injuries as the result of someone else's negligence should not have to suffer their injuries in silence.

For more information on your legal options following a burn injury, contact a reputable personal injury lawyer. An attorney experienced in helping burn injury victims can answer your questions and help you determine the best way to pursue your case.

Article provided by Coppola & Marlin - Visit us at www.coppolamarlin.com



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