Burns cause painful damage to skin tissue, resulting in internal and external injuries of varying severity. Serious burns can result in permanent scars, agonizing pain, nerve damage, and even death.
Brownsville-area residents and workers face a constant risk of burns in their everyday lives. For oil and gas workers, the risk of a severe burn is present whenever they work near flammable hydrocarbons. In Brownsville homes from Cameron Park to Southmost, children and adults confront burn dangers from appliances, backyard grills, drain cleans, and hot water taps. Even the hot Texas sun can inflict burns severe enough to cause dangerous illnesses.
Many burn injuries in Brownsville happen because of the careless or reckless actions of someone other than the burn victim. In those cases, victims may have the right to receive substantial financial compensation for their injuries and losses.
Attorney Kenny Perez and the skilled Brownsville burn injury attorneys at Kenny Perez Law can help. Contact us today to learn about your rights to compensation after suffering a preventable burn.
Burn Injury Facts
Over one million burn injuries requiring medical attention occur each year in the United States. Of these, 50,000 burn victims need hospitalization, and 10,000 victims die from their burns. According to the American Burn Association, in the U.S., 1 out of every 1500 residents will die from exposure to smoke, flames, or fire.
In fact, burns are one of the leading causes of death in most age groups. Heartbreakingly, children under 15 make up almost one-quarter of all burn injuries.
Burns can be caused by heat, electricity, friction, radiation, and chemicals. Most happen through exposure to flames, or contact with hot water, steam, a hot object, electricity, or chemicals.
Burn injuries are classified into three levels of severity.
- First-degree burns are also called superficial burns. They affect only the outer layer (the epidermis) of your skin. The area affected is red, painful, and dry, but not blistered. An example is a mild sunburn. There is usually no long-term damage but they can result in discoloration.
- Second-degree burns are partial-thickness burns. They affect the outer layer and part of the underlying layer (the dermis) of your skin. These burns are red, blistered, and painful.
- Third-degree burns are full-thickness burns. They destroy all three layers: the epidermis, dermis, and fat. They can also damage bones, muscles, and tendons. The burn results in a white, charred, or leathery site. They can also destroy nerve endings. Most third-degree burns require skin grafts, which replace damaged tissue with healthy skin, to protect the open wounds.
Complications of Burn Injuries
All levels of burns are at risk for infection and discoloration. One of the biggest risks with all burns, but especially third-degree, is infection. The damage to the skin opens it up to exposure to bacteria and viruses. Scarring occurs in second- and third-degree burns.
Other potential complications of third-degree burns are:
- Arrhythmia/cardiovascular disturbances
- Fragile skin/skin breakdown
- Fluid and swelling in tissues
- Infections: Pneumonia, sepsis, organ failure
- Low blood pressure resulting in shock
- Permanent physical disabilities
- Permanent nerve damage
- Skin graft failure
- Chronic pain
- Inhalation injury
- Cataract/corneal injury
Burn victims suffer from more than just physical complications. They also experience emotional damage including PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, serious burn injury recovery can take a long time, often keeping victims out of work or school.
Compensation for the High Cost of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries are physically, mentally, and financially debilitating. Even a moderate burn can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat, and severe burns care costs can run into the millions.
At Kenny Perez Law, we represent Brownsville burn victims in legal actions aimed at securing as much compensation as possible for their injuries and losses.
Every case we handle differs, but oftentimes our team can obtain compensation to pay for a client’s:
- Medical care
- Out-of-pocket costs related to adapting to and living with a burn injury
- Past and future lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, reduced quality of life, and damaged personal relationships
Who pays these damages? It depends on the facts of the individual case. In general, Texas law holds an individual, business, or other party accountable for engaging in unreasonable conduct that led to a burn injury.
- A landlord could owe damages to a burn victim for having failed to install or maintain adequate fire safety systems in a residential building.
- The manufacturer of a household appliance could face liability for someone’s burns if it sold a defective product that caught fire and inflicted injuries.
- A trucking company might owe compensation to individuals who suffered burns when a tanker truck overturned and exploded.
- A homeowner could face liability for accidentally starting a fire when he left coals in a backyard grill unattended.
The team at Kenny Perez Law has years of experience fighting to make sure Brownsville burn and injury victims receive the compensation they need and deserve.
Brownsville Burn Injury FAQ
Like all accidental trauma, severe burns happen suddenly and when you least expect them. Burn injuries occur in factories, restaurants, and private homes alike.
When a burn incident causes extensive injuries, the surviving victim endures long hospitalizations and endless medical care. The most serious burns often become painful, disabling, and physically challenging. They leave victims with disfiguring scars and impairments that often last a lifetime.
Few people experience burn injuries with lifetime consequences. We still believe that it’s important to know the facts. We offer our Brownsville Burn Injury FAQ to provide essential burn injury information just in case a burn incident affects you or someone you love.
How many people sustain burn injuries each year?
Burn injuries are a common cause of non-fatal injuries across the country. Based on the Centers for Disease Control’s recent national WISQARS data, 320,844 people required emergency treatment because of burn injuries.
Each day, Over 300 children younger than 19 need emergency treatment for burns. For younger children, scalding water and other hot liquids cause the most burns. Older children often sustain burn injuries due to flames.
What causes most burn injuries?
The Burn Model Systems track burn victim data in their National Data and Statistical Center. Their most recent data provides information on the 6,629 burn patients in their ongoing study.
These are the primary causes of their burn injuries.
- Fire or flames: 59 percent
- Scalding: 16 percent
- Grease: 8 percent
- Electrical: 6 percent
- Other causes: contact with a hot object, flash burns, chemical burns, and tar burns
How often do serious burn incidents occur in Texas?
The FEMA agency, U.S. Fire Administration, documented 119 home fire fatalities in Texas during its most recent reporting year. The USFA also publishes the Texas Fire Loss Snapshot with recent fire casualty rates.
- Casualty rates for all types of Texas fires: 2.1 fatalities per 1,000 fires; 6.9 injuries per 1,000 fires
- Casualties rates for Texas residential fires: 5.5 fatalities per 1,000 fires; 22.3 injuries per 1,000 fires
- Total Texas lost time burn Injuries: 889
- Total Texas fire/explosion burn fatalities: 18
- Total lost time burn injuries in Cameron County: 10
What are the different degrees of burn injuries?
If you’re like most people, you’re familiar with first, second, and third-degree burns. As described on the National Institutes of General Medicine and Sciences Burns page, physicians categorize the most serious burns as fourth, fifth, and sixth-degree. The more serious burn injuries are more painful and cause complex recovery and impairment issues.
- First-degree burns: This type of burn causes minor skin damage. These simple burns heal quickly and leave minimal or no scarring.
- Second-degree burns: At this level, burn damage usually affects the skin’s dermis layer. Patients sometimes require scar revision and grafts.
- Third-degree burns: Third-degree burns damage sweat glands, hair follicles, and underlying tissue down to the epidermis layer.
- Fourth-degree burns: These severe burns damage dermis, epidermis, and underlying fatty layers.
- Fifth-degree burns: This type of burn causes damage through skin layers and fat, all the way to the muscle.
- Sixth-degree burns: This burn is highly destructive. It causes damage through all tissue layers down to the bone. At this stage, victims often require limb amputation.
What is the average hospital stay for a burn victim?
Burn Model Systems research determined that the total body surface area burned was a reliable predictor of a patient’s hospital stay. Patients with 0 to 9.9 percent TBSA burn damage remained in acute care for an average of 16.2 days. Those with 80 percent TBSA damage or greater remained in acute care for an average of 111.1 days.
What types of surgeries do burn victims require?
Burn patients require several types of surgery based on their injuries.
- Emergency surgical removal of damaged tissue
- Open wound repair
- Contracture surgery to relieve tendon and muscle shortening, deformity, and hardening
- Amputations due to severe, irreparable limb and digit damage
- Scar revision surgery: The most recent American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual report documents 24,391 burn revision plastic surgeries.
What types of problems do burn victims experience during recovery?
As with other injuries, each burn victim experiences different recovery issues. Healing often depends on a burn victim’s age, fitness, health, and mental state.
The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center documents the range of issues their burn patients often experience.
- Itchy skin and intense pain
- Pain management, which often includes prescription opioids
- Wound care and scar management
- Employment issues
- Sleep issues
- Mental health issues such as PTSD, hopelessness, sadness, and mood disorders
- Delirium: awareness, thinking, behavioral, and emotional issues often associated with emergency intubation
- Self-image and intimacy issues due to scarring and disfigurement
- Pain Description: Intensity, duration, timing, quality, impact, and itching.
Do doctors always prescribe opiates for pain?
For seriously injured burn victims, pain becomes a long-term problem. MSKTC research determined that 86 percent to 90 percent of hospitalized burn patients receive opioids. Physicians usually change their pain-management strategy by the time a patient leaves the hospital.
- Over the counter NSAIDs and other non-prescription pain relievers
- Sleep medications
- Hypnosis and relaxation techniques
Who is legally responsible for my burn injury?
As with any claim for damages, when a person or company causes your injury, they are legally responsible for your damages. As burns occur under many circumstances, the responsible parties vary.
Here are a few of the circumstances where another party is often legally liable for burn injuries.
- Premises Owner: The property owner is responsible if he/she knew about a defective furnace or electrical system and it caused a fire in your leased apartment.
- Product Manufacturer: If a defective appliance or tool causes a fire, the manufacturer or designer is often responsible.
- Vehicle Owner/Driver: If a fire ensues after an accident, the negligent driver or vehicle owner is usually responsible.
- Workplace Injuries: If you sustain burn injuries during a workplace incident, your employer owes you worker’s compensation benefits. You may also have the right to sue a third party, non-employer if they caused your injuries.
Do I Need an Attorney to Handle My Burn Injury Claim?
Burns involve complex circumstances and injuries. You need a personal injury attorney representing your legal interests. Attorneys intervene with insurance companies, negligent parties, and their legal representatives. They investigate your accident, determine liability and present your damage claim to those responsible.
When you consult with a personal injury attorney, you don’t have to pay for the appointment. You have an opportunity to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options.
Contact a Compassionate Brownsville Burn Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been in an accident that resulted in serious burns, you need a burn injury attorney you can trust; someone who can fight for every last dollar of compensation you deserve, while you put your energies into healing and moving forward with your life.
Attorney Kenny Perez and his team fight for burn victims like you. We know how to investigate the causes of your burn injury, target the parties at fault, and secure the money you need to pay for your care and rehabilitation.
Kenny Perez Law
847 E. Elizabeth Street
Brownsville, Texas 78520
“Definitely a law firm that you can trust! Professional, reasonable, and knowledgeable. The legal team has great customer service skills. They were able to help and guide us every step of the way after our accident.” – Cynthia Barrera
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