Your loved one has been injured in an explosion and is being treated for third and fourth-degree burns. Recovery is a long, painful process. What makes this situation worse is that a company’s carelessness or intentional disregard for safety caused this tragic blast. Our gas explosion lawyers have won multi-million-dollar settlements for people who were severely burned in blasts caused by propane (LP gas) leaks and pipeline breaches, including $10 million for one client who was injured at work.
Helping Clients With Burn Injuries
Our lawyers have helped many victims of burn injuries and their families. In one recent case, our lawyers helped a man and his family after he was injured in an explosion that happened near his home. When our client heard the explosion, he ran and was picked up by a motorist on the roadway. The injuries he suffered were so severe that he had to be put into a medically-induced coma while he recovered. Our lawyers were by his wife and child’s side through this challenging time, and we worked to make sure that they would be taken care of from the day we were hired through the day their multimillion-dollar settlement arrived.
Burns are categorized into three or four classes based on how bad the burns are. Burns from explosions can affect any part of a person’s body. Common areas of the body that are injured by burns include the hands, face, back, and arms.
First Degree Burns
First degree burns only affect the outer layer of the skin and cause redness, swelling, and discomfort.
Second Degree Burns
Second degree burns affect the first and second layers of skin. Second degree burns cause skin to be red, white or splotchy, and the skin can blister or appear moist.
Third Degree Burns
Third degree burns affect both layers of skin, the fat layer below them, and nerves, causing skin to take on a waxy, leathery, or charred appearance.
Fourth Degree Burns
The fourth degree burn classification is not always used, but when it is, it refers to the loss of muscle and even bone. In some cases, a fourth-degree burn is so severe that the person loses a limb.
People can also suffer from chemical burns from alkalis and acids in the smoke from a fire or explosion. These chemicals can damage the skin, eyes, larynx, lungs, and other areas. As with thermal burns, these injuries can be fatal. When chemicals are a possible source or contributing factor in an explosion, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) usually sends a team to investigate. This was done for the Didion Mill explosion in Cambria, Wisconsin, and the Loy Lange Box Company blast, which was caused by the failure of a pressure vessel, according to CSB.
Complications From Burn Injuries
Complications include infections (sepsis and tetanus), scarring, hypovolemia (blood loss), hypothermia (low body temperature), nerve damage, breathing problems, bone or joint problems, shock, and death. The damage to internal organs, like the lungs, kidneys, heart, pancreas, and brain can be permanent.
Sources of Explosion Burns
Household appliances powered by natural gas such as generators, water heaters, central heating and cooling systems, ranges and stoves, dryers, and pool heaters can explode under certain conditions, including faulty manufacturing or installations, improper venting, and leaking lines, valves, and hoses.
Faulty lines and valves on propane storage tanks and smaller tanks used for outdoor grills can cause the tank to explode. So can filling the tank improperly.
Between 10,000 and 12,000 Americans seek emergency room care for injuries from fireworks each year, according to a recent study. Many of these injuries are on the hands, wrists, fingers, and eyes.
Lithium Ion Batteries
Electronic cigarettes (E Cigarettes) were not regulated by any government agency until the summer of 2016, when the FDA assumed responsibility and enacted pre-market safety testing. Prior to this, lithium battery malfunctions in electronic cigarettes caused some E cigarettes to explode without warning, resulting third-degree burns to the hands and face (when in use) and legs (while carried in pants pockets). Lithium ion batteries found in devices including hoverboards, computers, tablets, and smartphones can also cause explosion burns.
Explosion Burn Examples
- After someone lights a propane burner, an explosion occurs due to a buildup of propane gas.
- An employee checking equipment turns on/off a pump breaker in an injection pump causing an explosion to occur.
- Scientists working in a research laboratory suffer burns on their faces, arms, and bodies when there is a sudden explosion.
- An employee responding to an power outage attempts to reset a breaker when an internal arc happens and causes oil vapors to ignite. The ignition of the oil vapors causes the employee to suffer burns on their hands and face.
- While using a metal pole to pack mortar inside a chimney, the pole operator makes contact with a high voltage power line causing an explosion. This results in an electrical fire and the user sustains severe burns to their face and arms.
- An electrical engineer is installing a metal plate inside a partially de-energized electrical panel. The plate falls, causing a short and a flash. The flash causes burns that require a skin graft on the employee’s hand.
- An air compressor explodes, causing an operator’s clothing to catch on fire. The employee sustains second and third degree burns.
- A blast occurs while employees are working on a dust collection unit. This results in them receiving first and second degree burns.
- A can of cooking spray is left on a griddle and blows up. The explosion causes nearby cooking oil to light on fire, which burns nearby employees.
- A employee of a company sustains burns on their stomach, arms, hands, and face after trying to dispose of a gas drum that still contained gas residue.
- An exploding battery causes residue from the battery to come into contact with someone’s skin. The person sustains chemical burns on their face and eyes as a result of the battery residue.
- A controlled burn causes an explosion when the fire comes in contact with a container filled with gasoline.
Other Explosion Injuries
Moore JX, McGwin G Jr, Griffin RL. The epidemiology of firework-related injuries in the United States: 2000-2010. Injury. 2014 Nov. 45 (11):1704-9. [Medline].