Serious burn injuries do not happen as frequently as other accidents. When they do occur, the pain, suffering, and lifelong consequences can be as devastating as any other catastrophic injury. Serious burns can cause disfigurement, emotional issues, functional losses, and long-term impairments.
Like many accidental injuries, burns are generally preventable. They often occur because of product defects, work environmental issues, and simple negligence. Burn injury victims and their families deal with a lifetime of personal, medical, and financial consequences. Those responsible should pay for the damages they cause. If you sustained a serious burn injury due to someone's negligence, contact our Orlando Burn Injury Lawyers at The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation today.
Orlando's Responsible Parties Must Pay for Their Negligent Actions
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Accident Injury Attorneys, we have dedicated our practice to recovering damages for our injured clients. We understand that more than one person or entity is often responsible for a serious burn injury. These parties rarely accept responsibility for their actions. We have always been driven by that reality and our desire to make those responsible pay for the damages they caused.
Our Orlando personal injury attorneys have recovered our clients' damages by tracking down each responsible person, corporation, or organization. They have assessed the liability and damage issues. They have presented concise, well-developed, and convincing cases. As a result, many responsible parties have accepted responsibility for their negligent actions and have paid the price.
As well as understanding an array of liability issues, we value spending time with and getting to know our clients and their families. Our attorneys have learned about their treatment, recovery, impairments, and financial losses. They have researched to properly assess the clients' damages. We are a small law firm, but we have always fought hard to try to recover the most equitable settlements possible for our injured clients.
Our Firm's Case Results
We have always dedicated our efforts toward recovering damages from responsible parties. We understand that each case is different and the needs of each client can vary. That is why we constantly aim to resolve each case in a way that best suits the needs of our injured clients.
When possible, our attorneys have settled cases through active negotiation with responsible parties, self-insured entities, insurance companies, or their attorneys. They have resolved cases through facilitated negotiation in mediation settings. When necessary, our attorneys have presented our clients' evidence in court. We have relied on a judge or jury to deliver a fair verdict.
As each case is unique, it is impossible to promise our clients a specific outcome. We simply move forward, relying on our evidence to produce optimum results. We believe that our case results demonstrate our commitment to producing the best outcomes.
How Do Burn Injuries Occur in Orlando?
Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) use their national and international influence to educate the public about burn hazards. Unless you or a family member have dealt with a serious burn injury, it is often difficult to comprehend the danger.
People sustain injuries most often from home fires. But, severe and fatal burn injuries could also occur in the workplace, from chemicals, cooking accidents, electricity issues, welding mishaps, and other hot industrial operations. Vehicle fuel sometimes causes fires, further harming already-injured accident victims.
Cooking Burns and Home Fire Burns
The National Fire Protection Association tracks fires across the country and documents the injuries they cause. In a recent five-year period, they determined that fire departments responded to an average of 354,400 residential fires each year. These fires caused an average of 2,620 civilian deaths and 11,220 civilian injuries each year. Cooking mishaps cause 49 percent of all home fires. They also contribute significantly to younger children's burn injuries.
Cooking and home fire burn prevention strategies. The CDC documents burn injuries across the country. Their statistics show that every day, 300 children under age 19 seek emergency room treatment for burn injuries. Each day, two children die from their burns. While most childhood burn injuries occur in the home, initiating occurrences vary based on age.
Scalding injuries cause most burn injuries in younger children. Home fires cause most of the burn injuries sustained by older children.
The CDC provides burn-prevention recommendations to help families and their children's caregivers minimize young children's burn risks.
- Adopt safer cooking practices.
- No unattended cooking activities.
- Supervise young children while they are cooking.
- Install smoke alarms throughout the home.
- Establish a fire escape plan.
Defective Product Fires and Burn Injuries
Families usually do not anticipate a product in their homes causing a fire. It is the job of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to spread the word. Unfortunately, the CPSC usually becomes involved only after a suspicious incident occurs. Once they suspect or confirm that an appliance, device, or a piece of household equipment is a fire hazard, they warn the public.
Manufacturers are often the first to know when a product is an alleged fire hazard. Because product recalls often diminish profits and damage manufacturers' reputations, they may not notify the public unless forced to do so. The CPSC deals with manufacturer reluctance by investigating reported defects and initiating mandatory product recalls.
Defective product burn prevention strategies. The CPSC posts fire safety alerts and factsheets on their website. They also warn the public via public announcements. As the seasons change, the CPSC publishes annual warnings about flammable liquids, extension cords, gas grills, electrical holiday decorations, space heaters, and other products with fire hazard potential.
Workplace Burn Injuries
Workplace burn injury causes can vary depending on a company's operations. In one recent year, the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation investigated 112 employee burn injuries in the Orlando area—this injury category includes damages due to hot and cold temperature extremes.
Nationally, OSHA investigates the causes and circumstances of the more egregious injury cases. These often include:
- Chemical burns: Workers handle substances that cause chemical burns. OSHA has documented burn incidents involving nitric acid, chromic acid, hydrogen fluoride, sodium hydroxide, fertilizer, and other substances.
- Electrocutions: Electrocutions occur on the job more frequently than you might imagine. They cause death and serious burn injuries so frequently that electrocution is on OSHA's Construction's Fatal Four list. Electricity burns the skin, often creating significant damage at the point where the current enters the body. Electrical burns often occur when an employee accidentally contacts a live electrical line or defective or worn equipment.
- Arc-flashes: An arc-flash occurs when a flash of electrical current follows an unanticipated path to the ground or another object. A flash often causes serious or fatal burn injuries when it connects with workers in the immediate area.
- Hot work: Welding and other hot work tasks regularly contribute to worker burn injuries, especially in shipbuilding. Burns occur when workers contact sparks or slag, or when they touch hot metal surfaces.
- Restaurant accidents: Hot liquids often cause scalding injuries in restaurant settings. Hot oil, grills, and ovens also cause restaurant worker injuries. Young workers are particularly vulnerable, so OSHA prohibits workers under age-16 from cooking.
- Explosions: Explosions occasionally cause employee burn injuries when volatile substances and catalysts combine.
Workplace burn hazard prevention. OSHA establishes workplace safety guidelines to minimize the risk of employee burn injuries. They also investigate reported hazards and accidental events when workers sustain injuries. The agency issues fines and penalties when a fire hazard seriously injures an employee. These activities do little to eliminate worker burn risks, so injuries still occur.
Burn Injury Severity
Some burn injuries damage an injured person's skin and leave only mild scars. Others cause deep internal damage that often disfigures the injured person and causes lifelong disabilities. Serious burns sometimes trigger an inflammatory response that causes further damage to internal organs.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences Burns page explains the six degrees of burn severity and how they affect the body.
- First-degree burns: Cause minor damage to surface skin that heals quickly.
- Second-degree burns: Damage affects the underlying dermis layer and sometimes requires surgical revision or skin grafts.
- Third-degree burns: Third-degree burn damage usually destroys the epidermis and dermis layers. Hair follicles, sweat glands, and deeper tissues often sustain severe damage as well.
- Fourth-degree burns: Damage reaches through outer and inner skin layers, down to fatty tissue.
- Fifth-degree burns: Fifth-degree burns include severe damage down to the muscle tissue.
- Sixth-degree burns: Extensive damage destroys epidermis, dermis, and fat tissues, as well as muscle and bone. Some sixth-degree burns require limb amputations.
The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center works with seriously injured burn patients. They track their recovery and document burn-related damages and conditions. As burn victims recover, they endure:
- Itching and Pain
- Mental Health problems, including PTSD, grief, sadness, and anxiety due to healing difficulties
- Body Image Issues due to disfiguring scars and physical impairments
- Sleep disorders due to emotional and physical discomfort
- Delirium related to surgical procedures or emergency intubations
Who Is Responsible for Orlando Burn Injuries?
Burns occur under many circumstances, so the responsible parties vary. Often, more than one entity shares responsibility.
- Product and chemical manufacturers: Product companies sometimes manufacture, package, and distribute defective or unsafe appliances and home equipment. They produce dangerous chemicals and substances. They sometimes know the danger or volatility, yet fail to warn the ultimate consumer.
- Premises owners: Property owners can be responsible for defects that cause fire hazards on their properties. They often share their legal responsibility with property managers, maintenance companies, security contractors, or others. Anyone who caused or contributed to a fire or an electrical or chemical hazard often shares liability.
- Vehicle owners: A driver who causes a crash that results in a blaze may ultimately be responsible for any damages that result. An owner, lessor, or repair company can share responsibility if a defect or defective maintenance caused the initial accident.
Who Is Liable for Orlando Workplace Burn Injuries?
Employees injured on the job in Orlando must file a claim for medical and wage losses through their employer's workers' compensation carrier. Under certain circumstances, however, an employee injured on the job may sue other responsible parties.
- A non-employer or non-coworker caused the burn injury.
- A subcontractor caused the injuries and is not an employee as defined under workers' compensation laws.
- A defective product not manufactured by the employer caused a job-related burn injury.
- A non-coworker employee caused injuries in a vehicle accident.
- A worker sustained a premises-related burn injury while working on a property not owned by their employer.
What Damages Can a Burn Injury Victim Recover?
A settlement or judgment often may include economic damages, general damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages can cover out-of-pocket expenses paid during treatment, recovery, and disability.
- Emergency medical treatment
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Transportation costs
- Prosthetics and mobility equipment
- Lost income
- Funeral and burial expenses
The general damages portion of a settlement can pay for losses based on an injury's effect on the injured person's life and lifestyle.
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety and emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Disruption in family relationships
- Lost bodily functions
- Scars and disfigurement
- Wrongful death
Under Florida Statutes, §768.72, the courts sometimes award punitive damages. The plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally caused the injuries or that their actions constituted gross negligence.
How Do Negligent Orlando Defendants Try to Avoid Paying Damages?
Often, responsible parties defend themselves and deny liability even when liability is clear. Insurance companies and self-insured entities sometimes make low offers and negotiate unfairly.
They do this because:
- They think they can reduce claim payouts: Whether an insurance company, self-insured entity, or defendant must pay the damages, they fight to hold on to as much money as possible. That is usually a cost-containment measure.
- They might force plaintiffs to settle or litigate: Insurers sometimes use litigation as a tool to force plaintiffs to settle low. This is often a successful strategy when a plaintiff's attorney has limited resources. Accepting a low settlement minimizes discovery and trial costs.
- They may save self-insured or retention limit dollars: When a commercial company self-insures or has insurance with a high retention limit, they often end up paying the entire claim. Even if the insurance company handles the negotiations, they sometimes try to settle low as they are paying the insured's money.
- They prefer to take a chance at trial: Some responsible parties and their carriers chance a courtroom encounter. They anticipate that a court will render a lower judgment than the plaintiff demands. This works particularly well when an insurance company uses staff attorneys. Staff attorneys receive the same salary regardless of their defense hours. It makes defending a case relatively inexpensive.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Accident Injury Attorneys, we have encountered and defeated an array of colorful defense strategies. Our attorneys aim to provide the best outcomes for our clients. We have always understood that preparation is key to meeting defendant, insurer, and defense attorney challenges.
Orlando Burn Injury FAQ
Generally, minor burns are surprisingly painful, but the pain quickly passes. Recovery is not that simple when you sustain a severe burn injury. Treatment is often a long-term process. As with many serious injuries, recovery often requires costly hospitalizations, medical treatment, and therapy. Extensive burns can cause disabling conditions, scarring, long-term pain and discomfort, and unexpected effects such as delirium and limb amputation.
As with other serious injuries, burns usually occur suddenly and accidentally, and they can happen to anyone. That is why it can be so important to learn about burn injuries and how they could affect your life. We created this Orlando burn injury FAQ to share some essential burn injury information.
How many people sustain burn injuries each year?
Each year, people of all ages sustain burn injuries. While it is not the leading cause of unintentional injury or death in America, data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that it is a common problem. Based on recent CDC, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) data, emergency medical facilities treated 334,532 burn victims. Of those treated, 3,064 people sustained fatal injuries.
Are fires the primary cause of burn injuries?
The Burn Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center has tracked burn injury data since 1993. Of the 6,526 people in their system, 59.3 percent sustained injuries due to fires.
What other types of incidents cause burns?
Other burn injury victims in the Burn Injury Model System National Database (BMS database) sustained injuries due to scalding, grease, electricity, hot objects, flash burn, chemicals, and tar.
How often do serious burn incidents occur?
Serious burns are among the top ten causes of unintentional injury death in Florida. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U. S. Fire Administration, documented 67 home fire fatalities in Florida in one recent year. One of those fatalities occurred in Orlando
Recent Florida Health statistics show additional data for burn injuries throughout the state:
- Fourth-ranked cause of unintentional injury death for children under age 1;
- The third cause of unintentional injury death among 5 to 9-year-olds;
- Sixth-ranked cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 10 to 14; and
- Ninth cause of unintentional injury death for Floridians age 65 and older.
How often do burn injuries affect children?
As the CDC Burn Prevention page explains, 300 children undergo treatment for serious burns each day. Two children die from their injuries. Younger children sustain burn injuries most frequently due to scalding and steam. Injuries to older children occur primarily due to contact with flames.
The annual national total of non-fatal burn injury victims varies by age:
- 7,483 children under age one
- 38,173 children ages one to four
- 14,024 children ages five to nine
- 12,341 children ages 10 to 14
- 51,926 people ages 15 to 25
What steps can Orlando parents take to prevent childhood burn injuries?
The CDC recommends these safety precautions to help reduce a child's burn injury risk:
- Safer cooking practices
- Limited kitchen access for young children
- Smoke alarms throughout the home
- A family fire escape plan
Is third-degree the most serious burn category?
As noted above, third-degree burns are serious, but they are not the most severe type of burns. The first-degree burns you sustain while cooking rank at the beginning of the burn severity spectrum.
The National Institutes of General Medicine and Sciences burns page describes five additional burn classifications and their physical characteristics. Higher degree burns can generate more pain, impose more complicated physical difficulties, and require longer recovery times.
They may also cause temporary or long-term disabilities.
How long do Orlando burn victims remain in the hospital for treatment?
Burn Model Systems determined that burn victims spent an average of 27 days in acute care units of hospitals.
The number of days usually varies depending on the total body surface area (TBSA) burned.
- 0 to 9.9 percent TBSA: 14 days average acute care stay
- 20 to 29.9 percent TBSA: 25.6 days
- 40 to 49.9 percent TBSA: 38.1 days
- 60 to 69.9 percent TBSA: 52.4 days
- More than 80 percent TBSA: 106.4 days
How many burn victims undergo surgical procedures?
Burn patients undergo surgical intervention depending on the nature and extent of their injuries. During early treatment, surgical procedures remove damaged tissue and correct open wounds. Some burn patients require contracture surgery to relieve shortened, hardened, or deformed, tendons, and muscles. During a recent year, member physicians of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons performed 17,682 plastic surgeries for post-burn care.
How is delirium related to burn injuries?
Delirium is a mental disturbance that sometimes occurs in seriously injured burn patients. A person suffering from this condition can experience loss of awareness, inhibited thinking skills, behavioral changes, and emotional fluctuations. Studies have determined that burn-related delirium occurs most often when a patient is intubated during emergency burn treatment. It also occurs after some burn-related surgeries. Older burn patients develop delirium more frequently than younger patients.
Do Orlando burn victims have a difficult time healing from their injuries?
No two burn victims work through the same healing process. As with other serious and catastrophic injuries, healing depends on the severity of the damage caused. Age, physical fitness, and other factors can also affect a burn victim's healing process.
The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center discusses the issues that recovering burn patients often encounter.
- Itching and pain: When a person sustains serious burn injuries, pain and discomfort can affect nearly every facet of their life.
- Mental health issues: Some burn victims suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to long-term health challenges. Severe burn victims can also struggle with hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
- Image issues: Problems with scarring and disfigurement often alter a burn victim's self-image.
Do Orlando burn injury victims have difficulty sleeping?
The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) has documented sleep problems as a concern for 50 percent of seriously burned patients. They often have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Sleep problems also include nightmares, inadequate sleep, and poor-quality sleep. Conditions such as itching, pain, PTSD, hormonal changes, contractures, sleep apnea, and breathing problems can disrupt sleep throughout the healing process.
Burn patients generally have a multitude of options for medicine and non-pharmacological solutions for sleep disturbances. Patient data shows that sleep and related fatigue difficulties generally remain constant for years after a patient's initial recovery.
Does pain complicate the healing process?
Burn patients can deal with pain long after hospitals discharge them from acute care units. It may interfere with a patient's sleep, work, healing, and their sense of well-being. For a burn victim, pain management is necessarily multi-faceted. It sometimes involves medical, psychological, and physical therapy treatments.
To properly treat a burn victim's pain, physicians help patients identify and describe it.
- Type of Pain: Acute, breakthrough, resting, chronic, and neuropathic.
- Pain Description: Intensity, duration, timing, quality, impact, and itching.
Do Orlando doctors treat burn pain with opiates?
The MSKTC found that pain was often a long-term problem for burn victims. It requires a cautious approach. While doctors occasionally prescribe opiates, they are not always effective when treating burn pain.
Opiates can also produce unwanted side effects.
Patients often respond to other pain-reduction therapies that target specific and underlying pain origins.
- NSAIDs and over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Anticonvulsants (for neuropathic pain) to change how the body experiences pain.
- Sleep medications.
- Non-pharmacological relaxation technique.s
- A balanced exercise routine.
Do Orlando burn victims deal with long-term symptoms?
BMS has documented a range of physical conditions and limitations throughout many burn victims' healing processes. Some conditions dissipate during the first post-recovery months. Other conditions remain a problem for up to 5 years post-injury.
These issues often manifest in different ways among children and adults.
- Adult conditions. Adult burn victims often suffer from hearing loss, voice changes, vision changes, excessive tearing, memory and thought process difficulties, balance difficulties. They can also suffer swelling, skin cancer, and tingling and numbness in scars, feet, and hands.
- Child conditions. Based on parent's and older patient's reports, children burn victims generally have fewer problems than adults. BMS documented issues concerning seeing, hearing, breathing, and issues with open skin areas. Child burn victims also had emotional and behavioral control issues and problems with learning and understanding.
What's the number one cause of home fires?
The National Fire Protection Association researches fires and their causes. A recent annual report provided statistics about fires across America over a five-year period.
- Fire departments respond to an average of 354,400 home fires each year.
- Cooking mishaps caused 49 percent of all home fires.
- Heating mishaps caused 14 percent of home fires.
- Electrical and lighting issues caused 10 percent of home fires.
- Annually, home fires cause an average of 2,620 civilian deaths; 11,220 civilian injuries.
What is the connection between manufactured products and home fires?
Both new and worn appliances and household equipment can cause home fires. This occurs when a defectively designed or manufactured product malfunctions, or a worn electrical product shorts or malfunctions. Heating mishaps sometimes occur with portable heating systems such as kerosene heaters.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) attempts to remove dangerous products from the market before they cause injuries. Often their recall actions come after someone, or multiple people, have sustained an injury. CPSC fire safety alerts and factsheets provide consumer information about known product defects and safety issues. Safety alerts involve products ranging from holiday decorations to extension cords.
How often do burn injuries occur in Orlando's workplaces?
During a recent year in the Orlando area, 112 workers sustained injuries and one worker died from burns, scalds, and heat exposures. Florida's workers' compensation statistics also include cold temperature-related injuries in this category.
Workplace burns occur due to several common causes.
- Chemical burns: The Occupational Safety & Health Administration's (OSHA) investigative reports disclose burn injuries caused by nitric acid, chromic acid, hydrogen fluoride, sodium hydroxide, and even fertilizer.
- Electrocutions: Electrical burns occur as a result of electrocutions due to exposed live lines or faulty equipment. Electrocution is one of the construction injuries included in OSHA's Construction's Fatal Four.
- Electrical arc-flashes: Arc-flash burns occur when an electrical current flashover deviates from its path due to a problematic installation or failure. Arc-flash burns are often serious and sometimes fatal.
- Hot work: Workers sustain burn injuries from hot slag while welding or burning during shipbuilding operations.
- Restaurant accidents: Workers sustain scald injuries and severe burns from hot liquids, hot oils, and grills.
- Explosions: Explosions occur when employees use volatile compounds, fuels, and materials in the workplace.
How do you find vocation programs and resources for disabled Orlando burn injury victims?
The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation provides rehabilitation and educational services to help disabled burn victims return to work.
Disability Rights Florida provides intervention services to help burn victims navigate medical and social programs, employment-related discrimination concerns, and other issues.
Do you need a lawyer to handle your Orlando burn injury claim?
As with most personal injury claims, you will want to consult the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA as soon as possible. Burn injuries often involve complicated scenarios and complex legal issues. Our Orlando burn injury attorneys have dedicated their practices to working on behalf of their injured clients. They have dealt with responsible parties, their insurance companies, and the attorneys who defend their negligent actions.
When you consult our Orlando burn injury attorneys, your first meeting is confidential and free. You do not have to commit to a claim or file a lawsuit. You simply share your story. During your consultation, we listen to you and discuss your legal options and timeframes. You have an opportunity to choose the legal path that you believe is right for you.
Call Our Orlando Burn Injury Attorneys Today
If you sustained a serious burn injury due to someone's negligence, you should take immediate steps to protect your legal rights. Our Orlando personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Accident Injury Lawyers have convenient offices along both Florida coasts. We are a small firm, but we have gotten big results. Let us see if we can help you.
Call us at 833-552-7274 or complete our contact form to arrange a free consultation today.
1701 Park Center Drive, Suite #240-G
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: (407) 759-4565