Fires can cause significant amounts of destruction in just a matter of minutes. It can be a frightening experience for anyone who survives a fire, but the injuries can still be devastating, painful, and life-altering. For some people, these injuries can eventually lead to death. These are typically referred to as inhalation injuries, which like the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has revealed, generally evolve over the course of 48-72 hours. This means it can take several days for someone who initially survived a fire to succumb to their injuries and potentially die as a result.
Inhalation injuries are thermal injuries that cause damage to the lungs and respiratory system. If a patient is diagnosed with an inhalation injury, different treatments may include medicine, oxygen therapy, and in some cases, a ventilator. Depending on the patient’s health and the extent of the inhalation injury, they may still have permanent breathing and lung issues. In some cases, the extent of the injury is deadly. More than half of all fire-related deaths are due to inhalation injuries.
These types of injuries can happen when someone breathes in toxic materials, such as:
- Smoke from a fire
- Particle pollution
As the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports, the signs of an inhalation injury will vary and depends on different factors, such as what specifically was breathed in. However, some of the signs of an inhalation injury to look for include a scratchy throat, sinus irritation, coughing, chest tightness or pain, stinging eyes, a runny nose, phlegm, shortness of breath, and headaches.
A recent four-year study revealed that in just one state, more than 2,000 residents were either hospitalized or killed as a direct result of an inhalation injury. The study also revealed that fire-related injuries made up 71 percent of those injuries, with residential fires making up 23 percent of the injuries and 55 percent of fatalities. Residential flame/fire injuries also had a much higher death rate than any other type of inhalation injury. The fact that this report only focused on one state in just a four-year timespan paints an alarming picture of how serious inhalation injuries can be.
Fires can happen anywhere and at any time; residential fires tend to make up a good portion of fires. It’s important to always be prepared and practice general fire safety, while also being prepared by having a plan in place. Ensure that your home has several smoke detectors, and always routinely check that they have charged batteries and that they are functioning properly.
While it is always crucial to do your best to prevent a fire injury, in some situations, unavoidable accidents happen. In other situations, a fire may happen as a direct result of another individual’s careless actions. If someone else’s negligence resulted in a fire that caused you or a loved one to sustain an inhalation injury, you may already be working with a personal injury lawyer to fight for the compensation that you and your family deserve. Because there are a lot of variables that go into these types of lawsuits, it can be difficult to determine when your case will settle and when you’ll receive monetary compensation.
At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding, also known as a lawsuit advance. This gives you an alternative while you wait for settlement funds. Contact us today to find out more and to see if your case qualifies.