Your loved one has been injured in an explosion and is being treated for burn injuries. This is a long and painful process. What makes it worse is that a company’s carelessness or intentional disregard for safety caused this tragic blast. Our burn injury 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 burn injuries only affect the outer layer of the skin and cause redness, swelling, and discomfort.
Second Degree Burns
Second-degree burn injuries affect the first and second layers of skin. Second-degree burns cause the skin to be red, white, or splotchy, and the skin can blister or appear moist.
Third Degree Burns
Third-degree burn injuries affect both layers of skin, the fat layer below them, and nerves, causing the skin to take on a waxy, leathery, or charred appearance.
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, this injury is so severe that the person loses a limb.
People can also suffer from chemical burns from alkalis and acids in the smoke. 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 has been 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
Common causes of gas explosions include faulty manufacturing, poor installations, improper venting, and leaking lines, valves, and hoses. Household appliances powered by natural gas that can explode include:
- Water heaters
- Central heating and cooling systems
- Ranges and stoves
- Pool heaters
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 occur to the hand, wrist, fingers, and eyes.
Lithium-ion battery failures can cause explosions without warning, resulting in serious burn injuries and wrongful death. More than 90 percent of everyday devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries, including the following:
- Electric bikes (e-bikes) and other micro-mobility devices including e-scooters, e-skateboards, and hoverboards
- Mobility devices including electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters
- Electronic smoking devices including e-cigarettes and vape pens
- Fitbit watches
- Computers, tablets, and smartphones
Lithium-ion battery explosions can cause second-and third-degree burns, smoke inhalation, and other fire injuries. E-cigarette and vape pen explosions can cause burns to the hands (while in use) and legs (while in a pocket). Other lithium-ion explosions have caused smoke inhalation. For example, in November 2022 an electronic wheelchair battery caused an apartment fire that sent two people to the hospital with smoke inhalation. Fire investigators determined that the wheelchair’s lithium-ion battery ignited when it was charging, causing a unit at a senior living facility to catch fire in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Explosion Burns 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 chemical burns on their faces, arms, and bodies when there is a sudden explosion.
- An employee responding to a 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 sustaining 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, burning nearby employees.
- An 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 come in contact with a container filled with gasoline.