Out of all common burn injuries, thermal burns affect nearly 500,000 individuals in the United States every year. Many require medical treatment for injuries caused by a fire burn, sunburn, steam burn, and any burn caused by touching a hot object. Thermal burns are usually the result of heat being transferred in a variety of ways that include:
- Conduction Transfer – Heat can transfer directly from a source through conduction, such as a burn from touching a hot stove or oven
- Radiation Transfer – Sunburns occur through radiation transfer, where kinetic energy is generated from electromagnetic energy, causing severe damage to the skin
- Convection Transfer – Heat can be transfer through convection in air, such as a flash burn caused by an explosion
Thermal burns tend to cause damage to the surface of the skin and under layers of tissue, muscles and bones. The delicate tissue of the mouth, nose and eyes can often become severely damage by a thermal burn, causing disfigurement or permanent injury. The lungs and windpipe can suffer damage when superheated air is inhaled. Skin tissue can be harmed so severely that the lungs are destroyed, where death can occur.
Burns that occur in the workplace account for one out of every four burns that require hospitalization. Many injuries are severe enough that the victim needs to hire a thermal burn lawyer to protect their legal rights. Along with damage to skin and tissue, many victims also suffer lung damage when inhaling dangerously hot air. In fact, common thermal burn injuries happen from numerous ways that include:
- Exposure to steam and other hot vapors
- Fires and open flames
- Corrosive substances including strong alkaloids and acids
- Hot liquids including water and grease
- Hot objects, glass or metal
- Electrical current
- Caustic cleaning agents, rust removers, drain cleaners and other toxic chemicals
Even though workplace environments must follow strict guidelines, complying with safety standards set by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), workers are often exposed to a variety of hazards that produce thermal burns. This includes work environments such as refineries, laboratories, construction sites, metal and steel mills, and chemical plants.
Companies that follow strict safety standards usually have adequate fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and fire suppression systems that are routinely certified and constantly maintained. Part of the restrictions and regulations clearly indicate that all exits to the facility must be unblocked and properly marked for a quick exit during an explosion or fire event. However, companies can be held legally accountable when employees and supervisors are improperly trained and do not adequately respond to a fire, explosion or other mishap on the job.
Other Causes of Thermal Burns
Thermal burns happen in environments other than just the workplace. Victims can experience a severe thermal burn in a vehicle accident, when electrocuted, exposed to chemicals, or a victim of a fire inside a structure. Electrical burns typically cause injury through exposure to high levels of electricity.
Other injuries can be obtained from flammable clothing. The federal government now requires all clothing manufacturers selling product in the U.S. to comply with strict laws such as the Flammable Fabrics Act. Proper safety clothing manufacturing processes minimize the spread of flames across clothing during a flyer. Residential and commercial fires often result in severe burn injuries or death due to malfunctioning electrical and heating equipment.
Each year, many victims experience severe thermal burn injuries when involved in vehicle accidents, when encountering hot objects, or exposed to a gas explosion. In addition, household cleaning products, pool cleaners, drain cleaners and other products contain strong chemicals that have the ability to dissolve skin upon contact.
Legal Options For People With Thermal Burns Caused By The Negligence Of Others
Burns often cause life altering, devastating, catastrophic, debilitating injuries and at times, wrongful death. Many types of burns including those caused by thermal transfer often require skin grafts. The painful recovery can take years, and often leave permanent scarring and/or disfigurement.
Anytime an individual is severely burned, it is important to hire an Illinois thermal burn lawyer to file a claim for compensation. Family members of a deceased victim that died from severe burns can also seek legal counsel. Rosenfeld injury lawyers at (888) 424-5757 assist burn survivors to receive deserved financial compensation for medical bills, and disfigurement, along with incurred disability, lost earnings, pain and suffering.