Every year, nearly 1 million people suffer a burn injury in the U.S.
Thousands die from their burns, and many more live with permanent discomfort, disfigurement and disabilities.
Common causes of serious burns include:
- Car crash fires;
- House, apartment and trailer fires;
- Space heaters;
- Electrical accidents;
- Fire pits and grills;
- Flammable clothing and products; and,
- Dangerous chemicals.
Most of the fires that cause burns are preventable.
But identifying exactly what caused the fire can be difficult. Cause and origin experts are commonly retained to review Fire Department investigations and reports. It is important that they begin their work as soon after a fire as possible.
Car fires often start after a collision. These fires can be due a mechanical failure. See Avoiding burn injuries: What to do if your car starts on fire.
Home heaters can cause burns because of a design or manufacturing flaw. Smoke detectors or sprinklers may fail, or buildings do not have the proper fire escapes. Sometimes defective appliances, such as stoves or cloth dryer can cause fires. Gas lines can cause fires when they are not properly designed, inspected and maintained.
Determining who is ultimately responsible for burn injuries, and finding the proper insurance, can be a long and complicated process.
It is vitally important that an investigation begins as soon as possible.
- Fire safety experts need to establish the cause while the scene of the incident is preserved.
- Evidence must be documented and protected.
- Witnesses need to be located and interviewed.
Kevin Coluccio has successfully handled numerous burn injury claims over the last 25 years. He has helped injured people and their families get the care they need to recover their health and well-being.
Burn injuries are devastating.
People with serious burns endure a long and painful struggle. They often need surgery and extensive rehabilitation, which is both expensive and painful.
In addition to pain and physical disfigurement, burn victims often experience emotional distress.
The Phoenix Society promotes the physical and psychological recovery of people living with burn injuries. They offer articles and resources online, and provide one-on-one assistance through local hospitals.
The Spiegel Burn Foundation provides advocacy and support for burn injury survivors and their families.
The Northwest Burn Foundation helps burn survivors in Oregon and Washington improve their quality of life.
Burn Injury Case results by Kevin Coluccio
Doe v. Auto Manufacturer and Medical Center
$3 million Settlement
Doe entered a rehabilitation center seeking help from an addiction. She was not supposed to be allowed to leave, and her car keys were supposed to be locked up.
The center was responsible for making sure that she was properly cared for and protected during her recovery.
In an impaired and confused state, Doe took her car keys and left the center. She was involved in a serious car crash, which resulted in a massive fire. The fire was caused by a mechanical defect in the car’s fuel system.
The victim suffered serious and extensive burns.
Kevin Coluccio took on both the rehabilitation center that neglected the victim, and auto manufacturer responsible for the defect.
Doe v. Propane Company
One morning after a snowstorm, the victim went to his shop to work on several projects. He opened the shop’s door and turned on the thermostat.
Within minutes, an explosion occurred. The shop was engulfed in flames. The victim escaped through a side door, but he was badly burned. He was transported to a local hospital and then to the burn clinic at Harborview Medical Center. The shop and everything in it had extensive damage.
After the fire was put out by the local fire department, an investigation revealed that the propane tank outside the shop had leaked gas.
The law requires that gas piping be installed at a minimum depth, and that the piping be properly supported. In this case, the tank’s pipes were installed incorrectly. Heavy snow had moved the piping and caused a link. The gas had seeped into the shop and when the furnace was turned on, the gas ignited.
The victim had no notice that the piping was not correctly installed, and that he was in danger.
More on burn injury survival:
The inspiring resilience of a young burn injury survivor