Articles Posted in Burn Injuries

Two recent worksite accidents on November 2, 2011 resulted in serious burn injuries to a welder in one instance and a laundry worker in the other. At a granite quarry operated by Vulcan Materials in Kennesaw, Georgia, a welder was shocked by a high-voltage power line, receiving critical, but not life-threatening, burns. He was using a bucket truck to lift materials when the truck boom made contact with a 4,160-volt power line. Another man was apparently trapped on the crane during the incident, but was not injured. The burn victim was taken to an Augusta hospital’s burn center for treatment. The company that operates the power lines, along with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, is reportedly investigating the incident.

A laundry worker at a commercial laundry plant near Rome in northwest Georgia was severely burned in a steam pipe explosion. A pipe allegedly ruptured in the early evening, with sufficient force to blow out a wall nearby. Only two employees and one contractor were present in the plant at the time, according to news reports, and only one injury was reported. The Rome Fire Department and Floyd County EMS responded to the incident, and the Rome Fire Marshal is reportedly conducting an investigation.

Fortunately, no one was killed in either incident. Cases such as these demonstrate the risks present at construction and industrial worksites and the difficulty in determining liability for individual injuries. The workers’ compensation system provides a mechanism for workers injured on the job to recover damages from their employers. The system has many legal restrictions, and the process of making and recovering on a claim can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Workers’ compensation is also generally only available in situations where a worker can make a claim directly against an employer. Worksites often involve multiple contractors ands employers with a tangled web of relationships.

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A can of spray paint allegedly thrown into a campfire has led to burn injuries for a Maryland teen and reckless endangerment charges for two minors accused of throwing the can. The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s office reports that, on the night of Tuesday, October 25, two male minors tossed the can into a campfire in a wooded area of Bel Air. This caused the can to explode. A 13 year-old female standing near the fire allegedly suffered first-degree burns to both of her hands and first- and second-degree burns to her face.

The victim’s mother took the girl to the hospital for treatment and reported the incident to police on Wednesday. The girl should recover fully, according to news reports. Police charged the two boys with reckless endangerment, defined in Maryland law as “conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another.” This offense, a misdemeanor, normally carries a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000, but in this case the defendants are minors. The criminal statute uses the mental state of “recklessness,” meaning that the prosecution would have to prove that the boys acted without regard to a known risk, in this case the risk of an exploding paint can.

From the point of view of a personal injury attorney, the question becomes one of negligence or intent. While reports of the incident give no indication of any civil claim relating to the injuries, the case offers a good thought experiment on how a claim for damages can develop. In this case, the injured girl could make a claim for negligence or for an intentional tort such as battery, depending on the circumstances. “Battery” as a civil claim is an intentional action that results in contact with another person without that person’s consent. It could be direct person-to-person contact, as in a punch, or contact through another object, such as a paint can. A claim for battery would require proof that the boys intended to throw the paint can into the fire and intended for it to affect the girl, although they do not necessarily need to have intended her specific injuries. To claim negligence, she would need to prove that the boys breached a duty of care, such as to not create explosions, and that this breach caused her injury. In either case, the extent of her injuries would determine the amount of damages she could claim.

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A second person has died from injuries sustained during a fire in Havre de Grace, Maryland. The victim is 70-year-old Helen Bernice Logan. She died of smoke inhalation.

The deadly fire broke out at about 4:30am last Tuesday in Logan’s apartment. Some 25 firefighters were called to quell the fire, and they were able to keep the flames contained to her unit. Logan’s companion, 60-year-old Keith Richard Dowden, died at the accident site.

Investigators say that the fire started in Logan’s apartment, which is located in a Victorian-style building that had been converted into several rentals. A male resident from one of the other units was transported to the hospital for treatment of mild smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

The apartment building had working smoke alarms, but it unclear at this time whether the one in Logan’s unit were working. Approximately 10 people have been displaced by the fire.

Apartment Fires

If you or someone you love was injured in a fire at an apartment complex or another common-living environment, it is important that you explore your legal options as you may have grounds for a Baltimore premises liability claim or another type of Maryland injury case. The owner of the building and/or the management company may have acted negligently so as to create (or fail to remove) a fire hazard on the property that placed people’s lives at risk. There also may have been a defective smoke alarm, fire alarm, or another appliance or item that could have caused the blaze. The condition of the building may not be up to current fire safety code standards. Or, there may be another party that acted carelessly or recklessly, such as a negligent tenant, visitor, or maintenance worker/company.

Maryland burn injuries can be very painful and medical and recovery expenses can be very costly.

Woman dies of injuries suffered in Md. fire, WTOP, October 20, 2010
Man, 60, dies in Havre de Grace fire, The Baltimore Sun, October 19, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Burns, MedlinePlus
Apartment Fires, WhatHappensNow

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Investigators are trying to determine what caused a fatal fire to break out at Cecil County townhouse early Saturday. While 29-year-old Jewel Johnson was able to escape through a second-story window, three of her four young children were not as lucky.

Neighbors say they couldn’t rescue the children, who were screaming for help, because the flames were too high to walk across. Johnson’s oldest son, age 10, wasn’t there that night.

Following her rescue, Johnson was transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center where she is being treated for smoke inhalation and burns. She was admitted in critical but stable condition.

According to Maryland State Fire Marshal spokesperson Bruce Bush, the fire started in the first-floor living room. The townhouse, built in 1974, did not have sprinklers. Fire crews have yet to determine whether the smoke detector alarms went off after the blaze broke out.

Maryland Premises Liability

Property owners are supposed to make sure that there are no fire hazards on a premise. Appropriate fire prevention measures and warning systems must also be in place so that in the event a fire does break out, residents, patrons, visitors, and others can attempt to douse the flames and/or escape in time. You may be able to file a Maryland premises liability lawsuit against a negligent landlord, business owner, or another responsible parties.

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are incredibly painful and disfiguring and can also lead to nerve damage, internal injuries, respiratory injuries, muscle injuries, shock, depression, electrolyte imbalance, infections, physical deformity, and death. The medical treatments required can be extensive and costly.

3 children killed in Cecil Co. townhouse fire, Baltimore Sun, May 15, 2010
3 Children Die In Cecil Co. Fire, WJZ, May 15, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Burn Survivor Resource Center

Smoke Detectors and Sprinkler Systems, Peoples-Law.org

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A 26-year-old Germantown, Maryland man has died from burn injuries he sustained in a fire at a gas station pump in Frederick. Ainsley Gordon caught fire, as did his sport utility vehicle and the gas pump that was next to the vehicle. Gordon was filling up a gas can when the fatal burn accident happened.

Investigators are trying to figure out what happened. They are saying that the victim wasn’t smoking or using his cell phone when the fire broke out.

Gasoline Burn Accidents:

• 1.1 million burn injuries a year occurred because of gasoline fires.
• 4.500 gasoline fire-related fatalities are a result of burn injuries while 10,000 other deaths involve infections from the burn wounds.

• Approximately 4,700 gas fires occur in the US each year.

If you or your loved one sustained serious burn injuries from a gasoline fire that was caused by another party’s negligence, you may have grounds for filing a Maryland injury lawsuit.

A gas station is one of the worst locations for a fire to happen. Unfortunately, gas station fires are not as uncommon as we’d like to think. Just last March, a woman died when a pickup truck crashed into gas pump, causing the pump to explode. The woman, who was pumping gas, became trapped between the pump and another vehicle.

In another gas fire accident earlier this year, a man who accidentally lit a match caught fire, as did the SUV that his friend was pumping gas into. Fortunately, the driver was able to retrieve his baby from the back seat and another passenger, a woman, was able to exit through the back window. The burn victim sustained injuries on 20% of his body.

Some fires at gasoline stations are a result of customer carelessness or driver negligence. There also may be certain hazards at the station, which the station owner or gasoline company should have remedied, that caused a blaze to break out.

Man fatally burned in Md. gas station fire, Washington Times, November 5, 2009
Man Catches Fire At Gas Station, KPHO, March 30, 2009
Woman Killed After Gas Station Pump Explodes, Fox, March 17, 2009
Gasoline Safety, Mass.gov
Related Web Resources:
Burns, Medline Plus
Service Station Safety, National Fire Protection Association

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports even though more car accidents happened in urban areas, 56% of the 37,261 traffic deaths that occurred in 2008 took place on rural roads. There were 20,905 rural traffic deaths last year.

One reason for the number of deaths that occur in rural areas is that people tend to drive faster on roads that are not as designed and engineered as well as they are in urban areas. Two of the other reasons that rural auto accident deaths happen is people failing to use seat belts or driving drunk. It can also take longer for medical help to arrive at a rural car accident site. 222 of the 591 Maryland traffic fatalities in 2008 occurred in rural areas.

Findings from another traffic accident study, recently discussed in ScienceDaily.com, affirmed the NHTSA’s findings that driving in rural areas is not safer than driving in urban areas. The study, conducted by researchers abroad, reports that:

In Maryland, the family of a young boy who sustained serious burn injuries from sulfuric acid that two teenagers poured on a playground slide have settled their injuries to minor lawsuit. Payton Potochne was just 2 when he went down the slide that had industrial strength drain cleaner on it. The injury accident occurred at Victory Villa Elementary School.

It wasn’t until he was taken to Franklin Square Hospital that doctors determined that there was sulfuric acid on the boy’s legs and he had sustained second- and third-degree burns. The hospital had to evacuate the emergency room and the toddler was taken to Johns Hopkins Burn Center. Since the tragic playground incident, Payton has had to undergo over six surgeries, including numerous skin grafts. He will also need medical care for life because of his injuries.

A hazmat team poured thousands of gallons of water onto the slide to remove the chemical from the playground. A Baltimore County Police Department spokesperson says the dangerous liquid had been poured onto all the different playground rides, including the monkey bars and the jungle gym.

In Maryland, a North Baltimore attorney that sustained serious personal injuries after falling into a construction hole is suing the city, a number of Trigen-Baltimore Energy Corp. entities, Ligon & Ligon Inc., and Johnson Controls Inc. Arianne Spaccarelli sustained serious burn injuries to nearly half her body in the fall accident that occurred in 2005.

In her Maryland personal injury lawsuit filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court, Spaccarelli and her husband Robert Galassi blame the party’s negligence for her fall into the steam pit. The accident occurred at the intersection of Saratoga Street and Guilford Avenue when the couple was walking back to her car after dinner.

Spaccarelli had been walking next to a fenced off construction area, when she fell into the pit. The lawsuit maintains that the construction hole existed beyond the fence. Her husband pulled her out of the hole, but not before she sustained second-and third-degree burns on more than 43% her of her body.

Two kids suffered burn injuries in Washington DC on Monday during a fire accident on a playground at the Columbia Heights Village Apartment Complex. Neighbors blame careless workers for leaving a can of gasoline at the playground.

Police say that a boy was playing with the can of gas when the fire started. A little girl sitting on a bench got burned and was later hospitalized. Neighbors say they called emergency crew members when they heard screaming.

According to The Burn Institute:

• Children younger than 5 are two times as likely as other people to die in a fire accident.
• Children are at highest risk of dying from their burn injuries.
• Playing with fire is the number one cause of death for very young children.

• 18-month old toddlers have been known to start serious fires.

Property owners and managers and those in charge of overseeing job sites, public events, public areas, and other premises frequented by kids, patrons, employees, visitors, and others are supposed to make sure that there are no unsafe conditions on a premise that can lead to serious injuries or deaths.

Common causes of fire injures to children younger than 15:

• Fireworks
• Ovens
• Curling irons
• Heaters
• Matches and lighters
• Hot liquids and hot foods
• Household appliances
• Defective electrical products
Kids Playing with Fire Leave Two Hurt in D.C., MyFoxDC.com, September 2, 2008
Burn Injury Fact Sheet, CT Safe Kids

Related Web Resources:

The Burn Institute

Fire Deaths and Injuries: Fact Sheet, CDC

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In Maryland, Prince George’s County officials are trying to figure out how there managed to be an exposed live wire at a Chillum bus stop. A six-year-old girl suffered electrical shock and “severe” third-degree burns on Saturday after she grabbed the wire. She was taken to Children’s National Medical Center where she stayed overnight.

A lighted shelter had been removed from the bus stop in February following several incidents of vandalism, and Prince George County’s Department of Public Works and Transportation says that the electrical current was supposed to have been turned off.

Susan Hubbard, a spokesman for the department, says that the county’s contractors all say that the electricity was shut down. A Pepco crew capped the live wire after the electrical burn accident.

The owners of public and private premises are supposed to make sure that any unsafe hazards or defects on a property are removed or repaired. When failure to fulfill this duty of care results in personal injury or death, the injured party or their family can file a Maryland premises liability claim against the negligent party.

Electrical Burns

Burn injuries can be caused by being burned or shocked by an electrical source, such as a live wire, an electric plug, or an electrical cord. Third-degree burns are the most serious kind of burns, and they can result in serious tissue or nerve damage. On the surface, electrical burns may appear minor, when in fact, the internal damage can be deep and catastrophic.

If you or someone you love sustained electrical burn injuries or another kind of burn injury because a property owner, an electrical company, or another party was careless, one of our Maryland burn injury attorneys may be able to help you.

Girl, 6, Burned by Live Wire at Bus Stop, Washington Post, June 10, 2008
Burn Injuries, Shriners Hospital

Related Web Resource:

Prince George’s County Maryland

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