Burn and Firework Injuries
If you’ve been hurt by fireworks, or have been burned because of another person, contact Gallagher & Hagopian today. As experienced burn injury lawyers, we will help you achieve the best possible result.
You may qualify for significant compensation
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Experienced Florida Burn and Firework Injury Lawyers
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), more than 480,000 Americans receive treatment for burn injuries each year. Over 40,000 patients are admitted to hospitals, with 30,000 sustaining injuries severe enough to be admitted to hospital burn wards.
If you or a loved one has experienced a serious burn injury, you could be eligible for substantial compensation. Burn injuries can impact victims for years or even decades and often require long-term care, reconstructive surgery, and significant therapy. The costs of these services can add up quickly, and sadly, most insurance companies will only cover a small fraction of your expenses.
For this reason, burn injury victims should consider hiring an expert burn accident lawyer as quickly as possible. A qualified attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system to help you get the compensation you deserve.
On this page, we’ll answer questions including:
What should I do after an accident that leads to burns?
- What are the most common causes of burns?
- What are the most common types of burns?
- What should I know about firework-related burns?
- Who is liable in burn injury cases?
- How can an attorney help me get compensation?
What Should I Do After an Accident that Leads to Burns?
If you or someone you love has been in a burn accident, particularly an accident involving fireworks, you should call 911 immediately. It’s essential to treat burn accidents as quickly as possible after they occur, as waiting longer could lead to additional tissue damage.
Just like other accidents, after receiving medical attention, you should make sure to call an experienced accident attorney as quickly as possible. A good attorney will tell you exactly what you should and shouldn’t say to law enforcement, insurance companies, and other parties.
In general, you will want to avoid admitting fault for the accident, even down to things such as saying “I’m sorry” after the accident has occurred. You will also want to avoid accepting any settlements from insurance companies, as these will usually be very small and will often restrict you from pushing for a larger award later on.
If possible, you will also want to document the scene of the burn accident by taking photos or videos. This can be especially important as evidence when visibly unsafe conditions contributed to the burn accident.
What are the Most Common Causes of Burns?
According to the American Burn Association, the most common causes of burns include:
Fire or flame: 43% of burns occur due to direct contact with fire or flames, making this the most common reason for burn injuries in the U.S.
Scalding: 34% of burns are sustained via contact with hot liquids like water, coffee, or steam.
Thermal contact: 9% of burns are thermal burns caused by touching hot surfaces such as pots or pans.
Electrical: 4% of burns occur due to electrical shock.
Chemical burns: 3% of burn cases are chemical burns caused by substances such as lye or hydrochloric acid.
Other types of burns include radiation burns, firework burns, and sunburns.
What are the Most Common Types of Burns?
While there are a variety of reasons for burns, most burns can be classified by intensity into one of four categories:
- First-degree burns: First-degree burns are superficial in nature and typically result in symptoms including pain, reddened skin, and minor swelling. First-degree burns rarely leave permanent scarring and often heal within 1-2 weeks. Common treatments include running the affected area under cool water and applying antibiotic ointment.
- Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns go below the top layer of the skin and often result in symptoms such as blisters and extreme redness. These blisters can often pop or “weep” liquid and may develop scab-like coverings. Many second-degree burns heal within three weeks, but more serious burns may need a skin graft.
- Third-degree burns: Third-degree burns are the most serious burns sustained by most victims (excluding fourth-degree burns), as they damage all layers of the skin. These types of burns usually result in waxy, white skin or dark brown skin patches, leathery and raised skin areas, and undeveloped blisters. Third-degree burns will nearly always result in serious scarring without skin grafts and could take months or even years to heal.
- Fourth-degree burns: Fourth-degree burns are the most serious possible form of burn, as they extend beyond the skin to the underlying muscle and bone. Fourth-degree burn victims generally require in-depth reconstructive surgery.
Who is Liable in Burn Injury Cases?
There are a variety of potentially liable parties in burn injury cases. In essence, any party that can be credibly accused of negligence could potentially be liable for burn injuries. A few examples of potentially liable parties include:
- Device Manufacturers: In some cases, a faulty product or device could be the cause of a burn injury. This can range from a faulty stove, pan, or teapot, a leak of industrial chemicals from a container, or even a badly manufactured paper cup that leads to scalding burns from hot tea or coffee.
- Firework Manufacturers: Faulty fireworks can cause significant injuries. Manufacturing errors sometimes leading to the firework detonating earlier or later than expected, or exploding on the ground rather than shooting up into the air. This can put the user well within the blast radius of the firework, sometimes leading to injuries.
- Medical Providers: Medical malpractice typically does not cause burns, but burn-injury victims may become victims of medical malpractice during the treatment process for a burn. Medical errors can be particularly harmful if they involve reconstructive surgery, which could lead to anesthesiology errors or even sepsis (an infection contracted during medical care). This means that the doctor or hospital involved could be held liable.
- Businesses or Schools: If a burn occurred at a business (whether the victim was a worker or a customer), or an educational institution (like a high school, college, or university) they could be liable for damages, particularly if unsafe building conditions contributed to the accident.
- Food Service Providers: Many scalding injuries occur in restaurants, diners, and even fast-food takeout lines. The famous case of Stella Liebeck, a woman who sued McDonald’s after spilling scalding-hot coffee on her thighs, is just one example of a food business being sued for burn-related damages.
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What Should I Know About Firework Related Burns?
Fireworks may not be one of the most common causes of burns, but firework burns can still lead to serious injury and death. According to a 2019 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 10,000 people in the U.S. visited emergency rooms for firework-related injuries in 2019. In the same year, firework-related burns lead to 12 consumer deaths, 2 incidents which were caused by device malfunction, and 7 of which were associated with misuse of fireworks.
The most common area of injury was the hands and fingers (30%), followed by legs (23%), the head, face, or ears (16%), eyes (15%), and arms (10%). 6% of injuries occurred on the trunk or other areas of the body.
How Can An Attorney Help Me Get Compensation?
Burn injuries don’t just impact victims physically; they can also profoundly impact an individual’s mental health and quality of life. In addition, they can seriously affect someone’s ability to earn an income and may negatively affect friendships and intimate relationships.
A high-quality accident lawyer can fight for both medical and emotional damages that take all of these factors into account while guiding you through each stage of the legal process.
Your attorney will be able to make vital recommendations regarding what you should say to your insurance company and law enforcement. They can also help organize all available evidence (including insurance and medical records) into a coherent body of evidence for your case.
Typically, your attorney will then begin negotiating with insurance companies and other parties in an attempt to get you the maximum possible compensation for your injuries. If a suitable settlement agreement cannot be reached and the evidence is strong, your attorney may recommend taking the case to trial, in hopes that a jury will award you a larger payout. This only happens in about 4-5% of cases and can be significantly longer and more complex than simply negotiating for a settlement.
If You’ve Experienced a Firework or other Burn Injury, Call Gallagher and Hagopian Today
If you or someone you love has suffered from a firework or burn injury, call the aggressive accident attorneys at Gallagher and Hagopian today. We’ve achieved more than $100 million in settlements and court judgments for accident victims around the state of Florida, and we use our in-depth understanding of the legal system to fight for our clients on a daily basis.
Whether you’re experiencing chronic pain, disfigurement, or expensive medical bills, a burn injury can totally derail your life. While we can’t change the past, we can help you create a brighter future by getting you the funds you need to regain your health. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.