Pittsburgh Burn Injury Lawyers
Experienced attorneys helping victims of thermal, chemical, and electrical burns
Burn injuries require immediate attention. While you might be able to handle a first-degree or second-degree burn on your own, third-degree burns are dangerous and require immediate medical help. Many burn injury victims are treated at special burn centers in Pittsburgh. Others are treated at local emergency rooms. Third-degree burns can cause fatalities, scarring, disfigurement, and unbearable physical pain. For many burn injury victims, the psychological scars are hard to overcome.
At Carmody and Ging, Attorneys at Law, our Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers represent clients who have catastrophic injuries like burns. We work with fire officials, investigators, and others to show how the accident that caused your burns happened and who is responsible. Our lawyers understand the unique challenges burn injury victims face, including the initial surgery, rehabilitation, and learning to live your life again.
Free Case Evaluation
What would you like to know?
- What are the national statistics on fires?
- What are the different types of burn injuries?
- What causes burn injuries in Pittsburgh?
- How do Pittsburgh doctors treat burn injuries?
- Who can file a burn injury claim in Pittsburgh?
- Who is liable for my Pittsburgh burn injuries?
- Do you have a burn injury lawyer near me?
What are the national statistics on fires?
The US Fire Administration reports that in 2019 there were nearly three deaths and 11 injuries for every 1,000 fires. For residential fires, those numbers increase to 5.7 deaths and 21.7 injuries for every 1,000 fires. About 89 percent of all reported fires involved structures including homes. Over 10 percent of fires involved vehicles.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that nationwide in 2021, fire statistics were as follows:
- Residential fires – 356,600 residential fires, including one and two-family homes, multi-family homes, apartments, and other residences
- Nonresidential fires – 111,000 nonresidential fires
- Highway vehicle fires – 173,000 fires in this category
What are the different types of burn injuries?
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) classifies burns as:
- Superficial burns (first-degree). For this burn category, the epidermis (top) skin layer becomes red or pink. The pain is mild. There may be swelling but no blisters.
- Partial-thickness burns (second-degree). Here, the epidermis and dermis (middle) layers are both damaged. The burns cause pain, swelling, and blisters. The blisters can break.
- Full-thickness burns (third-degree). All the layers of the skin are destroyed. The skin becomes dry, white, and painless.
Third-degree burns generally require emergency medical care. Severe third-degree burns (sometimes classified as fourth-degree burns) may be fatal.
What causes burn injuries in Pittsburgh?
Burns are injuries resulting from heat, cold, electricity, chemicals, or radiation. At Carmody and Ging, our burn injury lawyers are skilled at determining why burn injuries happen and who is responsible. We work with local Pittsburgh fire inspectors and experts to understand exactly how your skin and lungs were damaged – or how a loved one died due to fires and other dangerous exposures.
Some of the common causes of burn injuries include:
- Building fires. Residential fires and commercial building fires occur for many reasons. Landlords, apartment owners, and builders should comply with local building codes and fire safety requirements. Fires may occur when stoves, grills, space heaters, stoves, and other appliances and electrical equipment are not installed or maintained properly. All facilities should have smoke alarms.
- Chemical burns. Construction sites, manufacturing sites, hospitals, restaurants, and other businesses often use cleaning products and other hazardous chemicals that can cause chemical burns.
- Defective products. Many fires start because heaters, appliances, power tools, machinery, and equipment are defective. For example, defective fuel lines can start a vehicle fire. Flammable clothing is dangerous. Lithium-ion batteries are known to cause fires. Many other products consumers and workers use are dangerous due to defective design, workmanship, or a failure to warn of the risk of fires.
Burns from scalding water or steam can cause third-degree burn injuries. Electrical burns and shocks may be due to faulty wiring or improperly secured electrical wires.
The smoke from fires can be just as dangerous as the fire itself. Uptodate.org reports:
- Pulmonary complications following burns and inhalation injury are responsible for up to 77% of deaths, among which the majority are due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Inhalation injury is common following burn injury and increases in incidence with the size of the burn injury and age of the patient. In addition, inhalation injury is a strong predictor of mortality in burn patients.
Oilfield accidents are another cause of burn injuries and other catastrophic injuries.
How do Pittsburgh doctors treat burn injuries?
In the event of severe burn injuries, a patient must first get immediate medical attention, and then follow up with their physicians and specialists to prevent or mitigate complications.
For serious burns, UPMC recommends immediate medical attention. Until an ambulance or another vehicle can take you to an emergency room or burn center, treatments may include:
- Drop and Roll. This technique is used to extinguish flames if clothing is on fire. UPMC recommends that for scalds, victims should remove hot, wet clothing immediately.
- Stop the Burning Process. “Cool burned areas initially with water, then cover with clean dry gauze or sheets. Do not apply ice as this will constrict blood flow to the burn area and can extend the depth of injury as well as contribute to hypothermia.”
- Remove Burned Clothing. Non-sticking clothing should be removed. Tight clothing, jewelry, and shoes should be removed or loosened before swelling occurs.
The burn should then be cooled with water and a clean dressing should be applied to the burned area. The victim should be covered to stay warm. UPMC advises against using “ointments, sprays, first aid creams, or butter to a burn.”
More advanced treatments focus on avoiding infections, avoiding oxygen deprivation, blood loss, circulation difficulties, and other problems. There are many other surgery and treatment considerations your burn injury medical team will use depending on the type of burn, the severity of the burn, and the location of the burn.
- Rehabilitative therapy includes helping stretch the skin to keep the joints flexible, exercise for muscle strength, and strategies for performing daily activities. Skin grafts use healthy skin from your body to replace damaged scar tissue.
- Plastic surgery helps improve the flexibility of the joints and the appearance of the burn scars.
- Most burn victims in Pittsburgh need psychological support to cope with any scarring or disfigurement – especially on visible parts of the body such as the face.
- Prescription ointments and creams may be helpful to prevent infections and help the wound close.
The UPMC Mercy Burn Center features state-of-the-art hydrotherapy treatment, which is essential for treating serious burns. Hydrotherapy has many other benefits, too, including minimizing scar formation. UPMC states that “Hydrotherapy uses warm running water to gently cleanse and help the healing process of a burn injury, promotes healing by softening and removing the dead tissue, and enables new healthy tissue to form.”
Who can file a burn injury claim in Pittsburgh?
Generally, anyone who sustains a burn injury due to another’s negligence is eligible to file some type of claim, including:
- Employees who suffer burn injuries while doing their job generally file a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim.
- The families of anyone who died due to burn injuries either file a wrongful death claim (for non-employees) or a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits (for employees who died on the job).
- All other victims may file a personal injury claim or a product liability claim, depending on how the burns occurred.
Who is liable for my Pittsburgh burn injuries?
At Carmody and Ging, we understand how traumatic and deadly burn injuries are to victims and their families. The responsible parties should be held accountable, so you are both compensated for your losses and to help ensure future burn injuries don’t happen to anyone else.
The defendants in these types of cases normally depend on how the burn injuries happened. Common types of Pittsburgh burn injury accidents and the responsible parties include:
- Car, truck, and other types of vehicle accidents. If a driver causes an accident for breaking the law or any other reason and the vehicle ignites, they may be held liable. If the fire is caused by a defective part, then the manufacturer of the car, truck, or another vehicle may be liable. Other defendants may also be liable.
- Home and building fires. Property owners or workers may be liable if they were careless (left a lit cigarette that caused a fire) or failed to comply with local building codes. The architects, contractors, and subcontractors may also be liable if the fire was due to faulty design or workmanship.
- Defective products. The manufacturers of defective smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, or other products may also be responsible. Manufacturers of flammable products or defective tools and equipment may also be held accountable.
- Construction sites and manufacturing job sites. Generally, these sites must comply with federal and Pennsylvania safety regulations and with industry safety standards. Burn injuries at these sites may be due to failure to implement or use proper safety precautions, dangerous chemicals, improper use of electrical equipment, and other causes.
Other defendants may also be liable depending on how the burns occurred.
Do you have a burn injury lawyer near me?
Carmody and Ging is located at 801 Vinial Street in Pittsburgh, on the 3rd floor of the Deutschtown Center building. Our office is right across the street from Penn Brewery, and there’s plenty of parking onsite. If you need to travel by bus, there’s a bus stop on Troy Hill Road, around the corner. For burn injury victims who can’t come to our office, we do conduct video conferences and do meet clients at burn centers or other healthcare facilities when necessary.
Our Pittsburgh burn injury lawyers handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. That means we only receive compensation if you receive compensation.
Talk with a skilled Pittsburgh burn injury attorney now
Burn injuries are frightening. You wonder will ever look or feel like you did before the accident. You may be concerned about your scars being visible to others. Carmody and Ging is here to help. We understand how much you want to get your life back. We’ll fight to hold the responsible parties accountable for your burn injuries. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh burn injury lawyer, please call 412.281.2929 or complete our contact form. Proudly serving the injured in Western Pennsylvania.