Burn injury

Aggressive Kansas City Burn Injury Attorneys

Fighting for thermal, chemical, electrical, and radiation burn injury patients

Burn injuries—whether they are from a home fire, an electrical fire, or other causes—are arguably the most devastating type of injury, both physically and emotionally. Burn victims typically experience excruciating pain, coupled with a prolonged recovery and a life that is often changed forever. In the most serious of cases, burn injuries and electrocutions can lead to the wrongful death of innocent victims.

At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our skilled burn injury lawyers work with fire inspectors, building professionals, and product engineers to determine how a fire started and who is responsible. We work with your medical team and our doctors to show the severity of your burns, any permanent disfigurement and scarring, your daily level of pain, and other complications from your injury. We have a strong track record of settling cases with insurance companies as well as trying cases before a jury.

How common are burn injuries?

According to the American Burn Association, nearly a half-million people were treated in 2016 for burn injuries at hospitals, burn injury centers, and other health centers. Forty thousand people were hospitalized for burn injuries, including 30,000 at burn centers.

Of the 3,274 people who died from burn injuries that year:

  • 2,745 deaths were due to residential fires.
  • 310 deaths were due to vehicle crash fires.
  • One civilian fire fatality occurred every 2 hours and 41 minutes.

Residential fires are often due to cooking, heating, or electrical failures.

What types of incidents cause Missouri and Kansas burn fatalities and injuries?

According to FEMA, more than 92 percent of Missouri casualty fires involved structures (mostly residences) and 7.7 percent involved vehicles. Fires are a well-known risk for residences, commercial properties, and industrial sites. Federal laws such as OSHA regulations, and state and local building codes regulate how buildings should be constructed to reduce the risk of fires. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we handle all types of burn injury cases, including injuries from:

  • Structural fires. Homes and businesses may ignite due to defective fire alarms, smoke detectors, appliances, heaters, flammable curtains, and other products. They may also ignite because a homeowner failed to monitor the pots on a stove, ovens, or grills. A cigarette or candle that isn’t extinguished properly can also easily cause a fire.
  • Vehicle fires. Cars and trucks often ignite when there is an accident. A driver may be liable if they caused the accident. A parts manufacturer may also be liable if a fuel line or electrical component is defective.
  • Defective products. Some products known to cause fires include flammable clothing, defective vaping devices, and batteries. As just mentioned, defective car and truck parts may cause fires as well. Product manufacturers may be strictly liable for any injuries they cause.
  • Scalding liquids and steam. The steam and hot liquids from boiling water, hot water heaters, and radiators can cause severe burns.
  • Toxic and hazardous chemicals. Anyone in a home or workplace may suffer chemical burns due to exposure to toxic household cleaners, lawn care products, or other cleaners.
  • Construction and industrial sites often use dangerous chemicals that can cause burns when inhaled or contacted through the skin.
  • Medical malpractice. Radiation burns may be caused by incompetent X-ray examinations or radiation therapy.

What are the degrees of burn injuries?

According to Stanford Children’s Health, burns are classified in one of the following four ways:

  • First-degree burns. These superficial burns only affect the epidermis – the outer layer of the skin. Sunburn is a common first-degree burn. Long-term damage is rare with a first-degree burn.
  • Second-degree (partial thickness) burns. These burns affect the epidermis and the dermis. The dermis is the lower skin layer. The skin will appear red and blistered. It is likely to be swollen and painful.
  • Third-degree burns. These full-thickness burns destroy the epidermis and dermis. Third-degree burns may affect the subcutaneous tissue, the innermost skin layer. The site of the burn may appear white, blackened or charred.
  • Fourth-degree burns. These burns go through all layers of the skin and underlying tissue as well as deeper tissue, and involve muscle and bone. Victims don’t experience pain because the nerve endings are destroyed.

Burn injury victims with second-degree burns may require surgery to treat or reduce the risk of infections. Patients with third-degree burns may require surgery, skin grafts, plastic surgery, and long-term rehabilitation. Fourth-degree burns are often fatal.

What are burn injury complications?

According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the complications from burn injuries include:

  • Bacterial infections that can cause sepsis (a bloodstream infection)
  • Loss of fluid including blood (hypovolemia)
  • A dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Respiratory problems due to inhaling smoke or hot air
  • “Scars or ridged areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue (keloids)”
  • Problems of the joints or bones; for example, scar tissue damage can tighten and shorten the skin, muscles, or tendons (contractures)

Physicians should check for related injuries and complications with burn injury patients.

Download a free copy of our book, The Burn Injury Survivor's Guide today!

What are common treatments for burn injuries?

Treatment for burn injuries depends on the type and severity. Doctors may recommend surgery, medications, and other care. The main goal of burn treatment is to manage pain, remove dead tissue, stop infections, reduce the risk of scarring, and improve mobility in the injured area.

The Mayo Clinic states that the following treatments are used to treat burn injuries.

Surgical treatments

  • Help with breathing. A burn injury victim’s throat may swell shut. The doctor may need to insert a tube down the patient’s windpipe (trachea) to make sure the lungs have enough oxygen.
  • Feeding tube. A physician may insert a feeding tube through a patient’s nose if the victim needs nourishment.
  • Blood circulation. “If a burn scab (eschar) goes completely around a limb, it can tighten and cut off the blood circulation.” The doctor may cut the eschar to enable blood circulation to return.
  • Skin grafts. These are surgical procedures in which your own skin is used to replace scar tissue caused by deep burns. Skin may also be donated from deceased donors or even pigs as a temporary solution.
  • Plastic surgery. Plastic surgery (reconstruction) is performed to improve the victim’s appearance and joint flexibility.

Medical treatment

Medical treatments can vary, depending on if a patient is being transported to a burn injury center or another facility. Medical treatments include:

  • Ultrasound mist therapy to clean and stimulate the wound tissue.
  • IV fluids to prevent dehydration and organ failure.
  • Pain and anxiety medications.
  • Burn creams and ointments for healing wounds and preventing infections.
  • Specialty wound dressings to help the wound heal.
  • Drugs that fight infection.
  • A tetanus shot.
  • Physical and occupational therapy to help stretch the skin, improve muscle strength, and help a patient perform daily activities.

Lifestyle and home remedies

At-home treatments for less serious burns may include:

  • Holding the burned area under cool, but not cold, running water, or a cool, wet compress to ease the pain. The Mayo Clinic advises, don’t use ice.
  • Remove rings or other jewelry before any swelling begins if possible.
  • Don't break blisters. These fluid-filled blisters protect against infection. Broken blisters should be cleaned and an antibiotic ointment used unless the patient is allergic.
  • Applying lotion after the burn cools to help prevent drying and provide relief.
  • Covering the burn with a sterile gauze bandage (not fluffy cotton).
  • Taking a pain reliever, like “over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).”

Burn victims should also consider a tetanus shot. Sunscreen and moisturizer is helpful once a burn wound heals.

Coping and support

Burns and scars can be unsightly, causing a survivor to lose confidence and self-esteem, especially if there are other complications. Support groups can help. There are many burn injury support groups your doctor or our team can help you with, like The University Of Kansas Health System Burn Survivor Support Groups.

Talk to a dedicated Kansas City burn injury lawyer now

Following a burn injury, your life may be turned upside down. The physical and psychological trauma for both a burn victim and their family can be enormous. On top of that, you may have many questions that need immediate answers. Our lawyers are experienced at handling burn injury cases throughout Kansas and Missouri and can answer your questions, provide you with guidance, and help your family recover the compensation that you need to cover medical expenses and other costs.

At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we want you to focus on your health and get the medical attention you need and deserve after a serious burn injury, while we focus on getting you the compensation you deserve. We have locations in Kansas City, Lee's Summit, St. Joseph, and Olathe, MO, and in Overland Park and Parkville, KS, and represent people throughout Kansas and Missouri. To discuss your case today, please call 816-471-5111 or fill out our contact form.