According to the American Burn Association, there are approximately 450,000 burn injuries that require medical treatment every year in the United States. This total includes about 3,400 fire and burn related deaths.
Burn injuries can arise in a variety of ways. One of the most common, particularly in the Houston area, is burn injuries that are work-related.
Refinery explosions and pipeline accidents among common causes of burn injuries
For obvious reasons, oil and gas processing and transportation can be a hazardous industry when it comes to burn injuries. Serious Texas refinery explosions occasionally grab national headlines. But even a small refinery explosion that injures only one or two workers can be just as cataclysmic an event for those individuals and their families. There are many ways that the gross negligence of a refinery or petrochemical plant can contribute to causing an explosion, such as implementing poorly conceived safety procedures, allowing chemicals to be handled carelessly, using worn out equipment or providing inadequate training.
Pipeline accidents are another common source of burn injuries in Texas. Oil pipelines span hundreds of miles, and must be meticulously built, monitored and maintained in the harsh Texas climate. When careful attention is not paid to safety, an errant spark can cause a life-altering fire or explosion.
Of course, the risk of burn injuries extends beyond the oil and gas industry. Sparks or chemicals can lead to burns in almost any type of construction, for example. Electrical burns, either from direct contact with electrical current or heat burns caused by arc flashes and blasts are also relatively common (an arc flash occurs when a powerful electronic current travels through the air, and can heat the surrounding air to temperatures as high as 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit).
Get compensation for a burn injury, and get in touch with a Texas attorney
For those who have suffered a burn injury on the job, it is important to seek full and fair compensation from all available sources. Burn injuries can cause lasting damage and disfigurement, and are often very expensive to treat.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding a burn injury, it might be compensable in several different fashions. In some instances, workers' compensation is available, which can be advantageous because workers' comp is a no fault system and there is no need to prove employer negligence. Yet, sometimes negligence-based theories of recovery can prove to be more favorable to the parties harmed by a burn injury. Product liability lawsuits can also be a possibility against, for instance, the manufacturer of a faulty piece of equipment that caused the injury.
If you have been the victim of a burn injury, or if a loved one has been harmed, get in touch with a Texas personal injury law firm today. A lawyer experienced in burn injury cases can ensure you get the complete recompense to which you are legally entitled from an employer, a negligent contractor, a manufacturer of defective products or anyone else who bears responsibility to pay for your losses.