Fires can result in serious injuries and lifelong consequences for those involved. In the worst cases, they can be fatal. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that a fire department responds to a fire once every 20 seconds in the United States. Once every minute, a fire starts in a building. Even though we have enjoyed a decrease in the number of fires in the past two decades, they still pose a threat to our health. Today, people most commonly die in home and vehicle fires.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF FIRES?
Many factors can lead to house fires, but the most frequent are:
- Smoking materials remain the leading cause of house fires, claiming up to 900 lives each year. If you live in an apartment complex, a neighbor carelessly falling asleep with a lit cigarette can cause you to wake up with your home in flames.
- Fires start when people walk away from their kitchens with food cooking and because of manufacturer defects.
- Space heaters. These must-have winter items can cause fires when people leave them on for too long or because of an inherent product defect.
- Smell-good items still lead to fires if left unattended.
- Recklessness, negligence, and malicious intent can all lead to serious injuries. Starting a fire or explosion is the leading cause of property damage in the United States.
TYPES OF FIRE INJURIES
The kinds of injuries we sustain during the course of a fire are among the most painful. Some of the most common types are:
- Smoke inhalation. Acrid fumes from smoke can damage our lungs and even burn our windpipes. Most fire-related deaths are the result of smoke inhalation—not burns. Dangerous particles, including carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, can cause neurological damage and death. Phosgene, a product of burning household materials such as vinyl, can cause a sore throat and pulmonary edema.
- First-degree burns are characterized by their red, dry appearance. They affect only the superficial layer of skin, like a sunburn.
- Second-degree burns are more serious and often cause blistering. The burn site is swollen and remarkably painful.
- Third-degree burns are the most serious, destroying superficial tissue as well as the layers underneath. These burns often do not hurt because they destroy the nerves. Third-degree burns always require hospitalization and grafting to replenish lost skin.
Burn victims are especially vulnerable to infection, as the skin is our first barrier or protection against pathogens. Serious complications can result from burns, and the emotional trauma can last a lifetime—particularly in the case of permanently disabling or disfiguring injuries.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN A FIRE-RELATED ACCIDENT
Unfortunately, fire-related injuries happen every day. If you were injured as the result of a fire, you may be wondering about your legal options. A personal injury claim can give you the tools you need to begin the healing process. An experienced attorney helps you determine a settlement amount based on:
- Your medical bills and associated rehabilitation expenses
- Any long-term care needs
- Your lost wages from missed work as well as any lost earning capacity
- Punitive damages to punish gross negligence
- Compensation for emotional or psychological side effects
To begin your personal injury claims process, get in touch with the experienced legal team at Nielsen Law Firm. Our offices serve Houston-area families and give them the tools they need to heal. A settlement cannot take away the trauma of a burn or fire-related injury, but it can provide some financial peace of mind and future security. Take advantage of our free initial consultation service, and start your journey to emotional and financial recovery. Contact us today to schedule your risk-free evaluation.