Burn injuries are one of the horrific consequences of explosions. As we saw with the explosions at the Boston Marathon and a catastrophic factory explosion in Texas, these types of incidents can result in significant loss of lives, property and long-term consequences for an entire community.
Victims suffer substantial physical, emotional, and financial outcomes regardless of how or why an explosion occurred. Often, the heat, chemicals, electricity, radiation, and the sheer violence of an explosion can result in catastrophic injuries.
Potential Causes of Explosions
There are many ways in which explosions can occur. Here are some of the most common causes of explosions:
- Industrial or chemical explosions that may arise in factories and power plants
- Gas explosions at worksites or residential buildings.
- Blasts that occur during the storage, shipping, or transportation of liquid propane
- Poor handling or mishandling of chemicals or other flammable substances in the workplace
- Explosions that arise during construction activity
- Explosions involving gas lines or errors made by utility companies or workers
- Gas tank explosions involving automobiles. These explosions may be caused by defective manufacturing and design.
- Explosions caused by faulty products such as water heaters, lawnmowers, burners, and other appliances
- Explosions caused by poor property maintenance
- Acts of violence and terrorism
Types of Injuries Caused by Explosions
Many types of injuries may be caused by explosions, the most common being burn injuries. Flash burns involve the explosion of natural gas, propane, gasoline, or other flammable liquids. These burns can cause a very high and intense heat for a very brief time.
Hot liquids such as water, oil, grease, or tar can cause scalding burns. Contact burns are those that result from hot metals, plastics, glass, or coals.
These burn injuries can be profound. Burn injuries can be further classified into:
- First-degree burns: These are injuries where only the outer layer of the skin is burned, but not all the way through. Victims experience reddening of the skin, swelling, and pain.
- Second-degree burns: The first layer of skin has been burned through, and the second layer (dermis) is also burned. In these cases, blisters develop, and patients experience severe pain and swelling.
- Third-degree burns: These are the most severe type of burn injuries where all layers of the skin are involved. Third-degree burns may cause permanent damage to tissues, fat, muscle, nerves, and even bones.
In addition, to burn injuries, those involved in explosions may also suffer severe and catastrophic injuries such as amputations, brain injuries, paralysis, and broken bones. These are all injuries that could have long-term or even life-long consequences for injured victims and their families.
Who is Liable?
In the aftermath of a deadly or catastrophic explosion, the question often arises: Who caused this incident, and who should be held liable or accountable for what happened? Usually, the answer to this question is not simple. Such incidents could involve several at-fault parties.
For example, when a gas explosion occurs in a building, the property owner, the property management company, and the utility company may be held liable for the incident depending on the circumstances.
In workplace accidents, the employer and perhaps a maintenance firm or the manufacturer of a defective product may be held financially liable for an injured worker’s significant losses.
Types of Compensation
The compensation that the victim of an explosion may seek varies depending on the nature of the incident and the facts of the case.
However, often, victims can seek compensation from the at-fault party for the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses: This includes the cost of medical care, including ambulance or air transport, emergency room costs, hospitalization, doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, medication, medical devices, surgeries, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages: Injuries sustained in an explosion can prevent you from working for weeks or even months. Victims can claim earnings that were lost during the time taken to recover. They may also claim lost future income or loss of capacity to earn if the injuries are catastrophic and they will never be able to return to work.
- Cost of continuing treatment: Often, we find that victims of explosions require continuing rehabilitation, additional surgeries, and therapy. Insurance may not cover all these costs. For burn injury victims, cosmetic surgery procedures may not be covered. Physical therapy costs often end up being out-of-pocket for victims as well.
- Pain and suffering: Victims of explosions and fires undergo significant physical pain and emotional trauma. These individuals may have lost loved ones in the blast, their prized possessions, and even their ability to earn a livelihood and support their families.
- Punitive damages: In some explosion cases, such as in a product liability case, a judge or jury may award punitive damages to penalize the at-fault party further.
Protecting Victims’ Rights
Explosions and fires often lead to devastating personal injuries, significant property loss, and even loss of lives. These are indeed shocking events that can overwhelm and traumatize individuals and their families. Victims need immediate help as well as assistance in the long term. An experienced chemical plant refinery explosion attorney in Houston can help victims and their families pick up the pieces and move on with their lives by assisting them in obtaining monetary compensation and a sense of justice.
If you have been a victim of an explosion, you should call us at (281) 990-5200 immediately for a free case evaluation and get the compensation you deserve.