Burns, Electrocutions and Fire Injuries
What Causes Burns, Electrocutions and Fire Injuries?
Most serious and fatal burn injuries occur in residential fires, automobile accidents and scalding. In the home, the two most common causes of burns and death are home-cooking equipment and smoking materials such as cigarettes. Scald burns account for almost two-thirds of burn-related hospitalizations of children ages 4 and younger. Hot water burns cause more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns. Children and elderly people who may fall and become unable to shut off the hot water are especially vulnerable to scald burns in showers and bathtubs.
Scores of children ages 14 and under suffer product-related burns each year from products including room heaters, humidifiers, vaporizers, hair curlers, curling irons, ovens, ranges, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, fireplaces, chimneys, furnaces, boilers, radiators, portable heaters, water heaters, candles, torches, matches, cigarette lighters, vacuum cleaners, electrical outlets or receptacles, lamps, lighting, cords, plugs, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, washers, dryers, torchieres, floor lamps, gasoline, pyrotechnics and fireworks.
Burns can also occur in long-term care facilities with the use of heating pads. Facility staff should be extremely diligent in ensuring that the heating pads are closely monitored because the elderly resident is often immobile, medicated, and/or unable to fully communicate.
Electrocutions, including contact with electrical lines, cause hundreds more deaths each year. Circuit breaker boxes, panel boards and outlets account for around 15 percent of product-related electrocutions. Air conditioners, pumps, water heaters, clothes dryers, washing machines, and furnaces cause an additional 15 percent. Metal poles, saws, pipes, chimney linings and ladders contacting overhead power lines are other major causes of death.
Chemical fires and explosions are a less common but serious cause of burn injuries. Causes include industrial and agricultural products, as well as consumer products. For example, swimming pool cleaners containing calcium hypochlorite, such as Super Sock-It, have been known to pose a fire hazard under certain conditions.
Smoke inhalation injuries are another common fire-related injury. These injuries can result from fire safety and egress design defects in homes, apartments, commercial buildings, garages, churches, schools, hotels, motels, rooming houses, townhouses, duplexes and other structures.
How Can I Prevent Burns and Fires?
Working smoke alarms and smoke detectors are the single most effective tool to prevent injury or death in the event of a fire. Studies indicate that more than a quarter of smoke alarms in homes are not in working order. Install smoke detectors throughout your home and garage in compliance with local requirements, ensure that the batteries are replaced, and check them frequently to make sure they function and are not defective.
Supervise children and elderly persons closely in baths, showers and kitchens, and in other situations where hot water is present. Minimize hot water hazards by setting your hot water heater temperature as low as is acceptable for your washing needs.
Keep matches, lighters and other flammable materials out of the reach of children. Most home fires caused by children begin in a bedroom or living room where children are left unattended. The majority of these fires—almost 80 percent—are started by children playing with matches or lighters.
Keep flammable materials and dangerous products such as matches, lighters, cigarettes, gasoline, camp stoves, barbecues, hair dryers and toaster ovens out of reach of children.
Children under age 6 die in fires more than twice as often as any other age group. Over half of children under age 6 who die from home fires are asleep at the time of the fire. Discuss your fire escape plan with your children so that they know what to do in case of a fire. Check that their nightclothes and pajamas comply with requirements for non-flammability. Keep hallways, stairwells and escape routes clear. If you live in an apartment or other rental property, ask your landlord—in writing if necessary—to have your unit inspected for fire safety compliance, including smoke detectors. Generally, it is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure such compliance.
What to do if you have suffered a burn injury, or lost a loved one to electrocution or fire.
If you have suffered a burn or lost a loved one, you may need the assistance of an experienced burn injury attorney. An attorney can tell you your rights, negotiate with insurance companies for you and help ensure that you recover as much money as possible to compensate you and your family for your injury and losses wherever possible. To get started, contact Vangelisti Law Firm LLC for a free consultation.
After a burn injury, you should take these critical steps to protect your health and legal rights:
• Immediately seek medical attention. Even after receiving emergency room treatment, see a burn surgeon or other specialist as soon as possible to ensure that steps to minimize scarring and permanent injury are considered.
• If your burn was caused in an automobile or workplace accident, consult with an attorney before making any statements to an insurance company or employer. Although it is appropriate to give statements in some circumstances, such statements may be used to your disadvantage.
• Keep a record of your injuries, lost wages and other damages you suffer as a result of the injury. This information will help your burn lawyer prove the amount of money that you are entitled to recover in cases where the burn was caused by the carelessness or wrongdoing of another, or on the job.
If you have been injured in a fire, burn or scalding, it is important to have an Oregon attorney evaluate any personal injury claim you may have relating to the incident. The law provides strict deadlines for bringing personal injury, insurance and wrongful death claims. It is critical that you contact an Oregon injury attorney or Oregon burn attorney if you think that you may have a claim. An attorney at Vangelisti Law Firm LLC can provide you a free consultation to discuss your injuries and legal rights.
If you retain Vangelisti Law Firm LLC, you will receive the superior personal attention, legal skill and professionalism that you deserve. Vangelisti Law Firm LLC can obtain the investigators and experts your case may need, including doctors, accident reconstructionists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, economists, and life care planners.
Contact Richard Vangelisti for a free consultation. Our number is 503-680-6272.
OUR SERVICE AREA:
Our attorneys are licensed in Oregon and Washington, and serve people who have been hurt throughout the Pacific Northwest. The cities we serve include:
Albany, Ashland, Astoria, Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Grants Pass, Gresham, Hermiston, Hillsboro, Hood River, Klamath Falls, La Grande, Lincoln City, McMinnville, Medford, Newport, Pendleton, Portland, Roseburg, Salem, The Dalles, and Tillamook.
Aberdeen, Bellingham, Everett,
Kennewick, Longview, Olympia,
Port Angeles, Seattle, Spokane,
Tacoma, Vancouver, Walla Walla, and Yakima.
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