Burn injuries are among the most painful injuries a person can have. The medical treatment can be long and painful and the end result is often scarring and disfigurement. Medical bills can be very expensive, and the victim is often out of work for a long time, or permanently.
According to a 2009 study by the National Fire Prevention Association, faulty wiring is the most common cause of house and apartment fires in the United States. Even though electrical contractors are held to high standards by Massachusetts law, it is possible that the contractor, sub-contractor, supplier, product manufacturer or landlord has been negligent or has cut corners by using less expensive, sub-standard switches, wiring, insulation and circuit breakers in the construction of your home or apartment building. One of the leading causes of electrical fires is that over time, the insulation that covers sub-standard electrical wiring can wear out due to the heat that is caused by overloading a circuit. This hazard to the life of you and your family lies hidden behind the walls of your home and can go largely unseen unless you know the signs to look for that could alert you to potential fire danger.
The first sign that you may be at risk for an electrical fire in your home is that a particular circuit breaker goes out regularly, blowing a fuse. This may happen because the circuit is overloaded. You can overload the allowable amps by adding too many appliances to the same wall plug or to wall plugs which are all in the same electrical circuit. Electric heaters, toasters, air conditioners, hair dryers, and other appliances with an electric heating element or motor use a lot of electricity. The number of appliances that should be plugged in at any one time should be limited to the number of wall outlets plugs.
Another sign is dimming and flickering lights. If the amps in a circuit are in proper working condition, the lights in a circuit should not dim or flicker when another appliance is turned on. Proper wiring will rarely allow lights to dim or flicker and it is a sure sign that you are overloading the circuit if they do so. And once again, electrical fires can occur by overloading a circuit producing excess heat which wears out the wire's insulation and can cause a fire behind the wall.
Finally, wall outlets or light switches that get hot to the touch, spark when they are turned on or off or even show some discoloration or charring spots are a sign of a potentially hazardous home fire situation. Sparks are little fires and could easily result in a larger fire. Sparks and discoloration could also be an indication of faulty or sub-standard wiring or there could be a loose connection that is causing a short circuit.
Another common burn injury comes from scalding, coming into contact with liquid that is too hot. Scalding is the #1 cause of burn injuries in children under the age of four. Many hot water heaters are set to 140°, which can cause third degree burns in just five seconds of contact. Putting a young child in a bathtub filled with hot water from your tap can cause such severe burns as to kill them. The Burn Foundation recommends setting your hot water heater to 120° for safety (and even that is too hot for young children’s skin, which should not be in contact with water over 100°). That temperature is hot enough for washing dishes or clothes, but poses less danger of scalding. And, of course, radiators are metal heated with hot water or steam, and often get hot enough to cause burns if they are touched for too long. These should be guarded by enclosures to keep children (and adults) away.
If you or a loved one has suffered severe burn injuries, whether as a result of scalding or a fire in your home or apartment, or anything else, call KJC Law Firm for a free consultation. We will tell you whether you have a case and help you get compensation for your injuries. The burn injury lawyers at KJC Law Firm have more than 60 years of experience litigating major cases. We have the resources to investigate your claim, hire the necessary experts, and get you the compensation that you deserve. KJC Law Firm represents injured people from communities all across Massachusetts, including the Greater Boston area, Cambridge, MetroWest, Cape Cod, Fall River, Lowell, Worcester and Springfield.