Category Archives: Burn Injury

Oakland Ghost Ship Lawsuit filed after Warehouse Fire Claims 36 Lives

An Oakland Ghost Ship lawsuit filed against Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse owner alleges numerous people were aware of the dangers the building posed long before the deadly blaze claimed 36 lives in December.

Families of individuals killed in the warehouse are teaming up in a lawsuit against Ghost Ship’s owners as well as employees of city and county departments. San Francisco attorney Mary Alexander, who is representing the families of two partygoers, announced the filing of the lawsuit against the building owner, promoters, and the individual in charge of the show. Oakland Fire Department was also named in the lawsuit as members of the department attended and held a music event prior to the deadly fire and they are believed to have been aware of the hazards the warehouse posed. Entire blog

National Burn Awareness Week focuses on scald prevention

Many people in California suffer from serious scald burns while food is being cooked or hot liquids are being served. In 2013, there were nearly 70,000 hospital emergency room visits in the U.S. that were related to scald burn injuries. Children under the age of 4 suffered from almost 25 percent of these injuries. Entire blog

The affects of burn injuries and how to deal with them

California residents may be surprised to learn that on an annual basis more than 30,000 individuals who suffer a burn injury in Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey alone require treatment at a hospital emergency room. The most common result of burn injuries is discomfort and pain, depending on how badly the victim was burned. While some burn victims suffer months of pain, others experience physical pain for the rest of their lives. In addition, burn injuries can affect a person’s ability to sleep, work or perform simple tasks. Entire blog

Treating electrical burns in California

Although an electrical burn may appear to only impact the skin, it can do damage to underlying tissue as well as vital organs. Therefore, it may be a good idea to seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as it is safe to do so. Those who encounter someone who has sustained an electrical injury should generally not attempt to touch or move that person.

Instead, the best option is to call 911 and allow trained professionals to treat the victim. This is because the victim could still be near or in contact with live wires or in the vicinity of ongoing lightning. For those who suffer a minor electrical burn, it is possible that the wound can be treated much like other burn wounds would be treated. However, those who are experiencing confusion, muscle contraction or seizures should be treated in an emergency room as soon as possible.

If it is safe to help an injured victim, the first step may be to cut off the source of the electricity. When treating a burn, it is important to use a cloth as opposed to a towel because the towel may stick to the affected skin. Alternatively, a sterile bandage or gauze may be used to cover the wound until it can be treated by a doctor.

Those who suffer a burn injury may decide to take legal action. For instance, the manufacturer of a defective space heater could be liable if it caused the fire that led to a victim’s injuries. A lawyer might be able to help win compensation for medical bills and other costs related to treating the injury. Lost wages may also be recouped as part of a settlement or jury award.

California workers may be at risk for acid burns

A report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a chemical called hydrofluoric acid could be harmful to workers. Between 2001 and 2013, it was revealed that 48 car wash workers in the state of Washington suffered burns after coming into contact with the substance. A 38-year-old Washington man died after ingesting the acid, but it isn’t clear if he took it intentionally. The substance is often used in car washes as a way to break down grime and brighten aluminum.

In some of the cases, the workers were injured because they had holes in their gloves or were not wearing any at the time they were burned. Typically, these workplace injuries occurred around the eyes, head and hands, and seven workers had to be hospitalized for serious burns. Of those hospitalized, two needed skin graft surgery.

The reason why some of the injuries may have been so severe is because of a delay in seeking treatment. At low concentrations, the workers may not have felt the substance make contact with their skin. Therefore, they did not seek treatment right away, and one man was covered in the acid for almost 90 minutes before he realized he had been burned. Although he survived, he had chronic numbness in his foot and received partial disability payments.

A person who suffers a burn injury as a result of a defective product or through the negligence of another individual may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the most efficacious way of obtaining compensation. In some cases it may be advisable to file a civil lawsuit seeking damages from the responsible party.

The different types of burn injuries

As many California residents know, burns can be the result of accidents that occur in the home, in the workplace or in commercial environments such as a restaurant. In many cases, they are treatable with ice and by keeping the area clean in order to prevent infection. However, some burns can cause significant harm and may be life-threatening.

Burns can result when a person comes in contact with hot substances or surfaces, is in an extremely cold environment or receives excessive exposure to the sun. Injuries that are incurred when an individual comes in contact with hot liquids, hot surfaces, steam or fire are referred to as thermal burns. Inhalation burns may occur when hot gases are inhaled. Electrical burns are often incurred when a person touches an exposed wire or is struck by lightning, and they may cause serious injury or death.

Cold temperature exposure may result in a decreased blood flow and concomitant frostbite. When this happens, the affected area may be said to have experienced a cold burn, one that must be treated in order to prevent additional injury to the skin. Windy and wet conditions augment cold burns. Chemicals are also able to cause burn injuries. These result mainly from contact with the skin or eyes and can happen in the home or in a workplace setting. Radiation burns can result from exposure to ultraviolet light or radiation therapy. Scraping one’s skin on a rough or hard surface is referred to as a friction burn.

Burn injuries may require extensive and costly treatment and may result in burn scars. If the injury is due to the negligence of another individual, consulting with an attorney may be beneficial. It may be advisable in some instances to pursue a personal injury lawsuit seeking the recovery of damages from the responsible party.

E-cigarette explodes, burns man’s face

According to reports, a California man suffered burns to his face when an e-cigarette at his place of employment exploded, causing him injury. The accident reportedly occurred on Feb. 8 at the Stage Stop Liquor Store in Ramona where the man worked.

Reportedly, the cigarette exploded, cutting the man’s face and breaking a glass display at the store. The man required hospitalization for treatment of his burns and cuts. He was listed in critical condition following the incident. Investigators are trying to determine what caused the e-cigarette to explode. The man was receiving treatment at the UC San Diego Medical Center’s burn unit.

According to a representative from the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, there have been at least 12 such explosions involving electronic cigarettes since 2007. According to the representative, however, none have caused such catastrophic injury and damage. Two incidents aboard aircraft have led to the Federal Aviation Administration’s issuance of a warning regarding e-cigarettes in luggage. In both incidents, one in Boston and one in Los Angeles, exploding e-cigarettes in luggage caused fires. In the Boston incident, the fire occurred in the cargo hold of the aircraft, prompting evacuation of a plane. In the Los Angeles case, an e-cigarette caused a fire in the baggage claim area at Los Angeles International Airport.

People who are severely burned in an accident may be able to recover damages to compensate them for their losses and the pain they have suffered by filing civil lawsuits. In this man’s case, in the event the e-cigarette that exploded is determined to be defective, he may want to file a personal injury lawsuit based on a products liability theory against the manufacturer of the e-cigarette. Because he was at work, he may also be able to file for benefits through his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Source: FOX 5, “E-cigarette explodes in man’s face”, Feb. 9, 2015

What are burn injuries?

California residents may be interested to learn that a burn injury is defined as severe skin damage caused by excessive heat, resulting in the death of affected cells. Burns can range from the slight discomfort of touching a too-hot cup of coffee to the life-threatening damage caused by a house fire or propane explosion.

Burns are classified according to their degree of severity. A first-degree burn is the least harmful — while the pain may be considerable, the only physical symptom is redness of the skin. A second-degree burn involves blistering and slight thickening of the skin. A third-degree burn is extremely severe, with thick, leathery skin that is waxy or charred. The rarely discussed fourth-degree burn is even more dangerous, with damage extending into the deep muscle tissue and bones.

First-degree burns can usually be treated at home. Soak the burned skin in cold water for at least five minutes, apply aloe vera gel to the injury and wrap it with loose gauze and antibiotic ointment. Don’t use ice — this can actually make the burn injury worse. Second-degree burns should be given professional medical attention, though they can be treated like first-degree burns with longer water immersion and frequently-changed bandages. Third-degree burns or worse require immediate emergency medical treatment. Call 911 and raise the burned area above your heart until help arrives.

If you have suffered a severe burn injury due to the negligence of another person or organization, you might want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney may be able to help you obtain compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured, as well as recover the considerable costs that months or even years of medical treatment may entail. Every situation is unique, however, and this post should not be considered legal advice.

Source: Health Line, “Burns: Types, Treatments, and More“, November 20, 2014

In-N-Out Burger held liable for burns suffered from hot coffee

If you watched the news in the 1990s then chances are you probably heard about the famous products liability case Liebeck v. McDonald’s. As you may remember, the case involved a 79-year-old woman who suffered third-degree burns after spilling a cup of the fast food chain’s coffee in her lap. She sued and was awarded nearly $3 million in damages, which were later reduced significantly.

Now another fast-food chain, In-N-Out Burger, has found itself facing similar litigation not only for its scalding coffee but because of how its employees reacted after a customer was severely burned. Much like the case before it, this new case highlights the importance of holding companies accountable when their negligence causes serious injury.

This most recent case of products liability happened on April 1, 2013 when a cup of “excessively hot” coffee spilled in the lap of a woman at an Oakland In-N-Out. Filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the woman claims in her lawsuit that despite her cries for help, employees at the fast food restaurant refused to call 911. They claimed it violated company policy and gave her an ice pack instead.

But as the woman’s lawyer points out, she suffered second-degree burns to which ice should not be applied. Had the employees contacted emergency responders, they would have known that this form of treatment can increase scarring. And as for not calling 911, it was pointed out recently by a spokesman for In-N-Out that despite what the employees told the woman they are “authorized to dial 911 in emergency situations.” Failing to do so “violates their duty of care to customers,” explains the woman’s lawyer.

Although the woman in this case will likely recover from her injuries, she did require three days of treatment at the Bothin Burn Center at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. As our readers can imagine, a hospital stay such as this would accumulate substantial medical bills that might not be completely covered by the woman’s insurance.

Although the amount of damages the woman is suing for have not been disclosed at this time, it’s likely that these medical bills will be taken into consideration. It’s likely that her claim is also seeking punitive damages that will hold the restaurant accountable for its negligence. Whether this case will force In-N-Out to educate its employees better about reacting to emergency situations or not remains to be seen.

Source: New York Daily Mail, “California woman sues In-N-Out Burger, claims employees refused to call 911 when she burned herself with hot coffee,” Lee Moran, May 28, 2014

Improperly secured lid causes California woman’s burn injuries

Approximately 20 years ago, there was a personal injury lawsuit that caught national attention, drawing varied reactions. Many people still remember the basic details about the burn injury lawsuit. The party that was injured in this case was a woman who had purchased coffee that proved to be excessively hot at a McDonald’s restaurant. The coffee spilled into her lap, leaving her with very serious burns.

The jury determined in that case that the woman was entitled to damages for the third-degree burn injuries that were caused and the skin graft procedures that were required to treat the injury. Eventually, the case was brought to a final close in a settlement out of court. That lawsuit was put to rest several years ago, but a similar incident recently occurred in Los Angeles, California.

Similarities in this case include the fact that it was a woman who was seriously burned by scalding hot coffee served at a local McDonald’s restaurant. According to the complaint, the woman was injured on Jan. 12, 2012.

The issue in this case was not based soley on the temperature of the coffee. Instead, negligence was alleged in that the drive-through restaurant employee failed to properly secure the lid on the coffee cup. Then, when the cup was passed into the vehicle, the improperly secured lid fell off, causing the liquid to burn the woman.

The injuries in this case were not described in detail, but as the original lawsuit showed, scalding hot liquid can cause severe injuries. It is important to remember that media coverage is often limited in these cases, and the “facts” that are presented have not met the standard of admissibility required in a court of law. A California personal injury lawyer ensures that the jury hears all of the necessary details to make a fair ruling in a case.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “L.A. woman sues McDonald’s over hot coffee, 20 years after huge verdict,” Stuart Pfeifer, Jan. 9, 2014

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