The Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland, Oregon is now making expedited trials available in civil cases. The amount in controversy is not limited. Expedited cases are tried to a six-person jury. The program promises to significantly reduce the expense and delay of resolving cases that require limited discovery. Links to the media release and practitioner resources are available on this web page.
What Causes Burns, Electrocutions and Fire Injuries?
Most serious and fatal burn injuries occur in residential fires, automobile accidents and scalding. In the home, the two most common causes of burns and death are home-cooking equipment and smoking materials such as cigarettes. Scald burns account for almost two-thirds of burn-related hospitalizations of children ages 4 and younger. Hot water burns cause more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns. Children and elderly people who may fall and become unable to shut off the hot water are especially vulnerable to scald burns in showers and bathtubs.
Scores of children ages 14 and under suffer product-related burns each year from products including room heaters, humidifiers, vaporizers, hair curlers, curling irons, ovens, ranges, fireplaces, furnaces, boilers, radiators, portable heaters, water heaters, candles, matches, cigarette lighters, electrical outlets or receptacles, lamps, lighting, cords, pyrotechnics and fireworks.
Burns can also occur in long-term care facilities with the use of heating pads. Facility staff should be extremely diligent in ensuring that the heating pads are closely monitored because the elderly resident is often immobile, medicated, and/or unable to fully communicate.
Electrocutions, including contact with electrical lines, cause hundreds more deaths each year. Circuit breaker boxes, panel boards and outlets account for around 15 percent of product-related electrocutions. Air conditioners, pumps, water heaters, clothes dryers, washing machines, and furnaces cause an additional 15 percent. Metal poles, saws, pipes, chimney linings and ladders contacting overhead power lines are other major causes of death.
Chemical fires and explosions are a less common but serious cause of burn injuries. Causes include industrial and agricultural products, as well as consumer products.
Smoke inhalation injuries are another common fire-related injury. These injuries can result from fire safety and egress design defects in homes, apartments, commercial buildings, garages, churches, schools, hotels, motels, rooming houses, townhouses, duplexes and other structures.
How Can I Prevent Burns and Fires?
Working smoke alarms and smoke detectors are the single most effective tool to prevent injury or death in the event of a fire. Studies indicate that more than a quarter of smoke alarms in homes are not in working order. Install smoke detectors throughout your home and garage in compliance with local requirements, ensure that the batteries are replaced, and check them frequently to make sure they function and are not defective.
Supervise children and elderly persons closely in baths, showers and kitchens, and in other situations where hot water is present. Minimize hot water hazards by setting your hot water heater temperature as low as is acceptable for your washing needs.
Keep matches, lighters and other flammable materials out of the reach of children. Most home fires caused by children begin in a bedroom or living room where children are left unattended. The majority of these fires—almost 80 percent—are started by children playing with matches or lighters.
Keep flammable materials and dangerous products such as matches, lighters, cigarettes, gasoline, camp stoves, barbecues, hair dryers and ovens out of reach of children.
Children under age 6 die in fires more than twice as often as any other age group. Over half of children under age 6 who die from home fires are asleep at the time of the fire. Discuss your fire escape plan with your children so that they know what to do in case of a fire. Check that their nightclothes and pajamas comply with requirements for non-flammability. If you live in an apartment or other rental property, ask your landlord—in writing if necessary—to have your unit inspected for fire safety compliance, including smoke detectors. Generally, it is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure such compliance.
What to do if you have suffered a burn injury, or lost a loved one to electrocution or fire.
If you have suffered a burn or lost a loved one, you may need the assistance of an experienced burn injury lawyer. A lawyer can tell you your rights, negotiate with insurance companies for you and help ensure that you recover as much money as possible to compensate you and your family for your injury and losses wherever possible. To get started, contact Vangelisti Kocher LLP for a free consultation. Our toll -free number is 1-800-800-1004.