In 1984 Michael Jackson was filming a Pepsi commercial when the closing pyrotechnics display went off too early, while Jackson was still on the stage. As his head caught fire, the flames singed the hair off the crown of Jackson’s head. He suffered 2nd degree burns on his face and scalp.
This incident illustrates several aspects of serious burns, from the speed at which serious damage can be accidentally inflicted to the pain that often lingers long after the tissue has healed. Since Michael Jackson’s death in 2009 many identify this incident as a turning point in Jackson’s career, based on theories that he became addicted to pain killers as a result of this accident.
Although most of us aren’t filming commercials with pyrotechnic special effects, there are countless opportunities to become burned or scalded in day-to-day life. Common occurrences include:
- House Fires
- Motor Vehicle Fires
- Scalding Hot Liquids Spilled or Splashed
- Chemical & Thermal Burns
- Workplace and Construction Site Accidents
- Boating Collisions or Engine Fires
- Accidents Aboard a Cruise Ship
Serious burns can be internal or external and also result from less ordinary events, such as:
- Serious Industrial Accidents
- Gasoline Spills & Explosions
- Electrical Burns
- Inhaling Smoke or Toxic Chemicals
- Injuries Due to Product Defects
Connecting your accident to the responsible party is central to pleading your catastrophic injury case. By identifying and working with subject-matter experts—including critical care surgeons, burn reconstruction specialists and psychiatrists—Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman’s personal injury attorneys have developed highly effective methods for representing victims of catastrophic burns.
Types of Burn Injuries
The severity of damage we experience from fire or chemicals is classified in a range from 1st to 6th degree burns. Conditions beyond a 3rd degree burn are rarely discussed because they are usually fatal.
- 1st degree burnsare minor, with short-term pain and redness and no blistering. There are rarely any long-term affects from these burns.
- Since 2nd degree burnsaffect deeper layers of skin, there is typically more pain and redness as well as blistering. Nerves also may be damaged. Because this condition is more serious, victims may also go into shock.
- 3rd degree burnsare extremely severe and often life-threatening. In this condition the skin will be burned away entirely and the nerves destroyed, often with additional damage to the exposed bone and muscle. Significant scarring is likely and either real or artificial skin grafts may be needed.
- Inhalation injuries, on the other hand, may not show evidence of burns but can also cause significant damage internally to cell structure and organs, especially in children.
Burns are the third highest cause of accidental death in the U.S. Since about 50% of burn patients are minors, children are particularly susceptible to these injuries.
Resources & Information for Burn Victims
Several sites provide a wealth of information for burn survivors and their families:
Burn Recovery.org offers a list of burn treatment centers across the U.S. and generalized information about admission requirements. The site also offers an extensive review of Long-Term Treatment and Care Issues for Burn Survivors.
A variety of non-profit foundations nationwide provide help and support to burn injury victims and their families. Among the best known are:
- The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors(Grand Rapids, MI). It offers access to extensive resources and continues to host the World Burn Congress, an annual three-day conference that the Society introduced over 20 years ago.
- The Spiegel Burn Foundation (St. George, UT). It provides support for complementary alternative medical modalities in burn recovery as well as grants for research & special needs related to burn survivors.
- The Northwest Burn Foundation (Seattle, WA). It’s dedicated to improving life for burn survivors in five NW states, including Alaska.
Take advantage of our expertise in this area of the law, whether the incident happened on land or at sea. Arrange for your free legal consultation by calling us at 877-233-1238.