Aggressive Knoxville Burn Injury Lawyers
Fighting for victims in Maryville, Sevierville, Clinton, Lenoir City, and Loudon
If you sustain a burn in a fire of any kind, it is important that you seek medical care as quickly as possible. Burn injuries cause more than excruciating pain. Depending on the type of burn you sustain, you may have serious physical and emotional scarring for the rest of your life.
At Banks & Jones, we focus on determining the most effective way to resolve your case. While the majority of personal injury cases and burn cases are settled out of court, as professional Knoxville trial attorneys, we fight fiercely to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We work with your physicians to fully understand the depth of your pain and how your burns have changed your life.
How often do burn injuries occur?
According to the American Burn Association, “every year over 450,000 serious burn injuries occur in the United States that require medical treatment.” Per their most recent data available (2016) there were 3,275 fire/smoke inhalation deaths and 40,000 people who required hospitalization including 30,000 at burn centers. Causes for those burns were:
- 43% Fire/Flame
- 34% Scald
- 9% Contact
- 4% Electrical
- 3% Chemical
- 7% Other
Of the 3,275 fire/smoke inhalation fatalities, 2,745 deaths were due to residential fires, 310 from vehicle crash fires, and 220 from other sources. One civilian fire death due to fire occurs every 2 hours and 41 minutes.
How are burn injuries classified?
There are generally four categories of burn injuries:
- First-degree. When the first layer of the epidermis is lightly burned, it may appear red and swollen. The most common example of a first-degree burn is a superficial sunburn.
- Second-degree. Second-degree burns cause blistering on the skin and affect both the outer and underlying layer of the epidermis.
- Third-degree. Third-degree burns affect all layers of the skin and can penetrate deeply into tissue. As a result, the skin may appear leathery and black.
- Fourth-degree. Fourth degree burns can penetrate down to the bone, and come with the highest risk of serious complications. They’re also the most likely to be fatal.
Learning the nature and extent of your burns and other injuries is important not only for your health, but also in order to determine the amount of damages you should seek from the defendant. The amount of compensation you may receive varies based on the type of burn injury you sustain.
What are the causes of burn injuries?
At Banks & Jones, we are determined to provide burn injury victims in the Knoxville area with reliable and understanding legal guidance at all times. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we never back down. If you suffer a burn injury in any of the following types of accidents, we want to fight passionately for you:
- Building fires. Building fires can occur for many reasons, including landlord negligence, tenant negligence, defective appliances, and defective smoke alarms. Space heaters, grills, and household appliances can start fires, or become so hot you are burned when you touch them.
- Chemical burns. Everyday household cleaners can lead to severe burn injuries, but most chemical burns happen on worksites. Construction sites, compounding labs, and auto manufacturing and repair use dangerous chemicals all the time.
- Defective productYou have the right to expect that the products you buy will work as described. Children’s clothing should be non-flammable. Batteries shouldn’t explode. If a product is defective, or if the warning label isn’t correct, you may be able to make a claim.
- Scalds and steam burns. A scald is a burn caused by hot water or steam. If you live in an apartment which uses radiators, or if your hot water heater malfunctions, you can be seriously injured.
- Electrical burns. Poorly installed wiring or unsecured electrical wires can lead to burns, shocks, and even electrocution.
Who is liable for burn injuries?
Responsible parties are liable for wrongful death damages if their negligence causes a burn-related death. They are liable for your pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, medical expenses (past and future) and lost income due to their negligence or liability.
Who is liable depends on how the injuries occurred. Some of the people/businesses that may be liable for your burn injuries or the death of a loved one due to extensive burns are:
- Vehicle accidents. If a car ignites or burns, then the driver may be liable. Additionally, the owners of the vehicle may be liable. If a truck accident causes the fire, then trucking companies, shipping companies, and brokers may also be liable.
- Residential fires. The homeowner may be liable if, for example, he/she let a loose cigarette cause a fire. The homeowner is generally liable to any occupants of the home other than the homeowner and to anyone in other properties physically harmed by the fire.
- Construction sites and industrial sites. If a worker is injured due to chemicals, faulty wiring, or any cause – then the employees have the right to file a Tennessee workers’ compensation claim – regardless of fault. Non-employees must prove the owner of the sites was negligent in order to recover.
- Defective products. If electronic products or any product causes a fire or if a fire extinguisher fails to work, then the makers, distributors, and sellers of the defective products may be strictly liable for deaths and burn injuries that occur. In strict liability cases, there is no need to prove negligence. If the product is defective, the defect causes an accident, and the accident causes burns – then the manufacturers and others in the supply chain should be held accountable.
In some cases, burn injury claims may have a defective product claim and a negligence claim. For example, if a driver speeds and then the fuel line ignites when there’s a crash – the driver and the maker of the fuel line (or the whole car) may both be liable.
What types of complications many arise from serious burn injuries?
Most first-degree burns can be treated right at home, with a little cool water and some aloe vera. (Pro tip: never use ice on a burn.) A second-degree burn may need medical intervention, because you’ll want to keep the area wrapped up and clean to avoid an infection. Some second-degree burns are serious enough, though, to require prescription medication, or even skin grafts.
Third- and fourth-degree burns, though, can lead to really serious complications. The most common include:
- Risk of infection
- Circulation problems
- Loss of elasticity in the skin (called contracture)
- Oxygen deprivation (from inhaling soot or smoke, or from injury to the neck)
- Blood loss
- Temperature regulation problems
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
In the most tragic of circumstances, severe burn injuries and the effects they have on the body can lead to the death of the victim. For those who survive, there may be long-term medical complications arising from the burn that changes their lives forever.
What types of treatments do burn injuries require?
Burn injury victims almost always require emergency care from EMTs and from emergency room or burn injury room centers. According to the Mayo Clinic, surgery, therapy, and other forms of treatment may be needed to remove dead tissue, prevent infections, reduce scarring, control pain, and help the victim regain function. Some victims may need skin grafts. Most need emotional help and physical therapy.
Medical treatments for burns include:
- Ultrasound mist therapy and other water-based treatments to “clean and stimulate the wound tissue.”
- Fluids, such as intravenous (IV) fluids to prevent dehydration and help manage organ failure
- Pain medications (with precautions about addictive pain drugs) and anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed
- Creams and ointments such as Bacitracin and Silvadene may be prescribed to help “prevent infection and prepare the wound to close.”
- Wound dressings to help prepare the wound so it can heal
- Medications to fight the infection such as IV antibiotics
- A tetanus shot may be recommended
- Physical therapy and occupational therapy may need to help “stretch the skin so that the joints can remain flexible.” Some exercise can help with coordination and muscle strength. Occupational therapy helps victims perform normal daily functions.
Surgeries and medical procedures may include one or more of the following:
- Tracheotomies and breathing assistance surgeries to help oxygen get to the lungs
- Insertion of a feeding tube
- Procedures to ease the flow of blood around the wound due to burn scabs around limbs or around the chest
- Skin grafts to replace damaged scar tissue with sections of your body’s healthy skin
- Plastic surgery to improve the appearance of burn scars and increase flexibility in affected joints
Seek skilled legal help for burn injuries from an aggressive Knoxville legal team
Banks & Jones provides injury victims with prompt and effective legal support. If you suffer a burn injury in a car accident or fire or because of a product defect, our experienced attorneys can review your case and assist you with obtaining rightful compensation. Contact us or call 865-546-2141 to schedule an appointment today.