Fire incidents tend to occur around the winter months when people typically use holiday decorations, candles, lights, and Christmas trees to celebrate the season. Approximately 156,000 fires in the United States happen in the winter months of December through January, killing hundreds and injuring thousands yearly.
Causes of Winter Fire Injuries
The risk of fire accidents is higher when fire loads increase in the premises. In the winter months, seasonal decors such as Christmas trees, garlands, electric lights, candles, and banners significantly add to a home or establishment’s fire load.
Christmas trees: While dried fir and pine make lovely Christmas trees, these trees ignite easily and can spread the fire quickly to reach nearby decor and other combustible materials on the premises. Moreover, holiday trees are often decked with bright lights, cords, and plugs that can add to the risk of fires
Candle fires: Lighted candles add to the holiday mood and are favorite enhancements at parties and gatherings. But candles that are unattended or inadequately controlled can start a fire, particularly when surrounded by combustible material
Cooking: Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires all-year-round. Deep fryers for cooking holiday meals are particularly prone to accidental fires
Heating: The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that about 25,000 residential fires start in a chimney or fireplace which tends to accumulate unburned carbon-based residue. Without regular cleaning, fireplace creosote or residue can catch fire and cause huge property damage and injury to occupants. Using the furnace as a storage area for old books, wood scraps, and flammable materials can also increase the risks of fire injury at home. Moreover, defects in the construction or design of wood-burning heating equipment, fuel spills or leaks in heating equipment can also cause accidental fires
Burn or Fire Injury
Accidental fires can cause different types of burn injuries such as:
First-degree burns: A type of burn that affects the outer layer of the skin, causing redness, swelling and pain that often takes several days to heal.
Second-degree burns: The extent of the injury affects the epidermis and dermis or the second layer of the skin. It is often accompanied by red, white or splotchy skin, a wet and moist wound, blisters and pain and swelling. Second-degree burns can lead to scarring.
Third-degree burns: This type of injury affects the fat layer beneath the skin and appears as charred black or white areas. It can also damage nerves and cause numbness in affected areas.
Other complications that can develop from severe burns include:
- Sepsis, a life-threatening infection that spreads rapidly and can cause shock and organ failure
- Low blood volume due to damaged blood vessels
- Hypothermia, a condition characterized by dangerously low body temperature
- Breathing problems from burnt airways and smoke inhalation
- Bone and joint problems
Burn or fire injury can be life-changing, almost always leaving visible scarring, which can cause great emotional and psychological suffering. Severe burn injuries may also require extensive procedures such as skin grafting, and in some cases, amputations.
Responsibility for Fire or Burn Injuries
Like most accidents, fire injury can be prevented through:
- Fire preventive measures
- Compliance with state and local fire codes that provide rules and regulations for fire safety
Depending on the actual circumstances of a fire incident, it may be possible to hold specific parties legally responsible for any resulting injuries and property damage. If you or a loved one suffers burn or fire injury, before anything else, it’s important to obtain medical treatment and then speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about your situation.
Claiming Compensation for Fire or Burn Injury
Nevada personal injury law allows an injured party to recover compensation from a person or persons whose negligence or fault caused the injuries. Burn victims may be entitled to compensatory damages for past and future medical costs lost earnings or earning capacity, as well as pain, and suffering. However, there are several things to consider when deciding whether or not to file a claim or lawsuit, including the timeliness of the claim and the existence of a legal claim against another party. An experienced burn injury lawyer can examine all the details of your accident, determine whether you have a case, and if necessary, help you file your lawsuit before the filing deadline.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, the dedicated attorneys of Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen will work very hard to for you to recover compensation for your burn or fire injuries. We offer free consultations where our attorneys can evaluate your situation and provide an assessment of your legal options. Call us today at (702) 505-8115 to speak to one of our attorneys.