Industrial Burns and Inhalation Injuries

Houston Burn Injury Attorneys

According to the American Burn Association, over one million burn injuries requiring medical attention occur each year. Of these, at least 50,000 victims require hospitalization and 10,000 lose their life due to burn-related infections. This not only goes to show how common burn injuries are, but also how serious and life-threatening they can be. 

Burn injuries are traumatic and often involve physical, financial, and emotional damages. If you or a family member received serious burn injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you need a legal team that knows how to effectively establish the full and fair value of your case in litigation. You need legal representation that grasps the hardships you face and knows how to protect your future. Simply put, you need Reich & Binstock. 

There are numerous ways that a person may receive a burn injury, including:

  • Explosions
  • Bonfires
  • House fires
  • Kitchen/cooking accidents
  • Vehicle collisions
  • Gas stoves
  • Electric stoves
  • Grills
  • Hot grease
  • Electrical wires
  • Kerosene heaters
  • Steam or hot liquids (coffee, tea, soup, hot tap water)
  • Acid
  • Chlorine
  • Bleach
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Gasoline
  • Lye
  • Radiation (X-ray machines, cancer therapy)
  • Clothing irons 
  • Hair styling tools (curling irons, flat irons, etc.)
  • Hot plates 
  • UV rays (direct sunlight or tanning beds)

The severity of a burn is assessed in a few ways. The first is the degree of the burn. Whether it’s a first, second, or third-degree burn is one of the most obvious ways of categorizing the severity of it. Third-degree burns are the most detrimental and often leave the victim with permanent damage.

The next factor is the size of the burn. This is calculated by the percentage of skin that is burned. Clinicians use a formula to calculate the total body surface area (or TBSA) that is burned by taking into account the age of the injured person as well as a diagram known as the Rule of Nines. This is the most common way to estimate burn size and is only used for second and third-degree burns. 

Other factors that can help you determine the seriousness of your burn injury include:

  • Location of the burn (Where the burn occurred on your body)
  • Type of burn (Thermal, chemical, or electrical)
  • Whether there was a smoke inhalation injury
  • Previous health issues

A doctor will take into account all of these factors to estimate the severity and potential permanence of your burn injury.

If you seek to file a burn injury claim, you only have a limited amount of time to do so following the accident that caused the injury. Each state has their own statute of limitations for the time a claimant can pursue a legal remedy for their injury. In the state of Texas, a victim has two years from the occurrence of the injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, it is best to contact a Houston personal injury lawyer to  file your claim as soon as possible following the incident so as to ensure the evidence is fresh and your claim is handled properly from the beginning.

The best way to ensure you receive proper compensation for your burn injuries is to attain help from an experienced Houston burn injury attorney. Consulting with a qualified attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. At Reich & Binstock, our attorneys work tirelessly to make sure you receive the utmost compensation for your burn injury case. We offer personalized and aggressive representation throughout the entire legal process.

Degrees of Burns

Burn injuries are categorized into three different levels based on their severity. These are first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns. We’ll break down each of these degrees below.

First-degree burns are considered to be minor and are the least severe of the three degrees. These burns typically heal within a week, as they only damage the first, outer layer of skin (the epidermis). First-degree burn injuries result in mild pain and discomfort, swelling, and reddening of the skin. A common example of this might be the average sunburn. 

Second-degree burns damage both the first layer of skin (epidermis) and the second layer of skin (dermis). Victims of second-degree burns typically experience severe pain, blisters, scarring, and whitening of the skin. Skin grafts may be required to properly treat these types of wounds. 

Third-degree burns are the most severe type of burn injury. These burns not only damage, but completely destroy both the epidermis and dermis. This poses even more risks for the victim because when the first and second layers of skin are burned through, the body is exposed to things like bacteria, viruses, and toxins. This increases the risk for infection. 

A third-degree burn may leave skin appearing dry, leathery, and charred in the affected areas. It also may cause nerve damage to the victim. Treatment for these injuries almost always require skin grafts, using natural and artificial skin to protect the open wound and promote healing. 

Types of Burns

Burns injuries occur when a person’s tissue is damaged by heat or fire, exposure to chemicals, or electrical shocks. These injuries are more formally known as thermal burns, chemical burns, and electrical burns. Each type of burn is different in nature, but each is capable of causing any one of the three degrees of burns. 

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns are the most common type of burn injury. They are a result of hot objects, including flames, steam, or scalding liquids, coming in direct contact with skin. 

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns, on the other hand, are caused by chemicals that have strong bases or acids. These burns can be particularly dangerous because the chemical will continue to burn the body until it is completely removed. The eyes are especially sensitive to chemical burns; victims risk going blind if the chemical in question is not efficiently flushed from the eye area. 

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are a result of electrical currents coming in contact with the body. The severity or degree of the burn depends on how long one is exposed to this current. A high level of electrical shock or burns can cause permanent damage to the skin and major organs. 

Inhalation Injuries Caused by Fires

The leading cause of death as a result of fires is not the fire itself, but rather the inhalation of smoke from the fire. Smoke inhalation can cause serious, often fatal injury to the upper airway. In addition to smoke inhalation, breathing in toxic fumes from chemical fires can also be deadly. 

Inhalation injuries cause significant damage to the respiratory system and lungs. These injuries can result from the breathing of toxic substances such as smoke, chemicals, particle pollution, and gases. 

Those with chronic heart or lung problems such as asthma are especially prone to inhalation injuries caused by fires. 

Industrial Burns from Chemical Plant Explosions, Oil Refinery Fires, Etc.

Plant and refinery workers are at a high risk of explosion injuries every time they go to work. When these explosions do occur, the results can be catastrophic. If the force of the blast from an explosion does not kill those near the explosion, the victims will likely suffer from devastating industrial burns.

In Texas, chemical plants and oil refineries are seemingly everywhere. Many workers here are subject to this environment as part of their daily work routine, so fellow Texans face a constant threat of explosion. The injuries received as a result can be life-altering, often bringing permanent disabilities. If you or a loved one received injuries from an explosion such as this, you need a Houston burn injury attorney ASAP. 

Landlords and Smoke Detector Obligations in Texas

According to the Texas Property Code (§92.251 – §92.262, Subchapter F), all landlords are required to equip their rental units with smoke detectors to protect their tenants from the possibility of a fire. This includes all apartments, duplexes, condos, and single-family homes. 

At least one smoke detector must be installed outside of every bedroom in the unit. If the bedrooms share a corridor, a single smoke detector can cover them both so long as it is in the immediate vicinity of both rooms. 

The landlord is obligated to inspect and repair any defective smoke detectors when a tenant first moves in. They are also responsible for inspecting them any time a tenant makes a request or gives notice of a potential problem. If the landlord fails to install, inspect, or repair a smoke alarm within 7 days of receiving written notice from a tenant, the tenant may exercise legal remedies under the Smoke Detector Subchapter of the Texas Property Code.

Experienced Houston Burn Injury Attorneys

If you wish to file a burn injury claim, let us help you. At Reich & Binstock, our lawyers offer free, no-obligation consultations, meaning you only pay if we recover compensation for your claim. Please call our Houston office at 713-622-7271 or 800-622-7271 toll free or complete our online form for a free case evaluation.

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