Burn injuries caused by accidents can be excruciatingly painful. Depending on the severity and the location of the burn injury, a victim could suffer lifetime complications. Some victims even suffer death as a result of the burns. Many people do not realize how common burn injuries are in the United States. The American Burn Association estimates that 486,000 Americans seek treatment in hospitals for burn injuries every year. If you have suffered a burn injury caused by another person or business’ negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
How Common are Burn Injuries in the United States?
An estimated 486,000 burn-related hospital admissions per year. Additionally, approximately 3,275 Americans die from fire or smoke inhalation each year. Most burn injuries occur at home, while some occur at workplaces, on the street, or during a sporting event. Every two hours and 41 minutes, an American civilian dies from exposure to fire, smoke, or flames. 128 specialized burn centers throughout the U.S. now receive an average of 200 yearly admissions for burn injuries. Common causes for burn injuries include the following:
- Fire/flame (43%)
- Scalding (34%)
- Contact with fire or hot surface (9%)
- Electrical burns (3%)
- Chemical burns (7%)
Levels of Severity for Burn Injuries
Medical professionals use four different degrees or categories to label the severity of burns. The severity of a burn injury depends on the depth of the burn. First degree burns are minor burns that only affect the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin. First-degree burns cause redness and pain, but typically go away within a few days to a week.
Second-degree burns affect both the epidermis and the dermis. A second-degree burn may cause blisters, scarring, and severe pain. A third-degree burn affects the epidermis, the dermis, and the layer of fat beneath the skin. Third-degree burns are severe and may cause numbness due to destroyed nerves. Fourth-degree burns are the most severe burns. These burns go through both layers of skin, the layer of fat underneath the skin, and possibly bone and muscle tissue. A fourth-degree burn often destroys nerve endings.
Complications Relating to Burn Injuries
The following complications can arise as a result of burn injuries:
- Loss of fluid which can result in hypovolemia or low blood volume
- Joint problems when scar tissue causes the skin to tighten and contract
- Lunch damage caused by the inhalation of smoke or hot air
- Extremely low body temperature
- Infection that may lead to a bloodstream infection called sepsis
If you have suffered a burn injury, you may be entitled to compensation in New Hampshire. Under New Hampshire law, when another person’s negligence or recklessness causes your injuries, you have a right to bring a civil lawsuit against that person for monetary compensation.