Don’t Play with Campfires
Posted July 16th, 2018 by Anthony Carbone, PC.
Categories: Personal Injury.
Ever stare into a fire and get hypnotized by the flames? Whether you’re heading to your local campsite, the beach, your friend’s house, or staying at home this summer, a campfire can easily be apart of the equation. The weather is warm into the night and all you want to do is roast a marshmallow or sing a campfire song. But no matter your preference, campfires are practically synonymous with summer nights, extending into the fall as bonfire season rolls around. Obviously, it’s a great way to catch up with friends and spend time with your family but teaching someone how to make a s’more comes with precautions.
The most common thing to happen is probably what you’re already imagining, a burn. This is true, but these burns can happen in unexpected ways and range from minor lesions to death. Most injuries are incurred by young children under the age of four, both when supervised and unsupervised. This is because many fires leave behind embers that can burn hot for up to 24 hours. Adults watching over a child may not realize the firepit is still hot because it does not appear to be. Then before they know it, the child is screaming in pain.
Other common occurrences are from touching tools used in the fire that may remain hot. For example, a marshmallow or hotdog rod that was used to cook over the flames. It is best to make kids aware that they are still hot and to place them out of the way while cooling down.
Forest and structure fires are also a concern. Ensuring that the area around your fire does not allow it to spread is essential. Smart ways to build a fire are to surround it by stones or place it in a concrete, steel, brick, or masonry base. Learn more about building a safe fire from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. They also provide a day-to-day fire danger index for your area within the state.
Fire Injury Prevention
So, you don’t want to give up on the perfect summer night companion. However, you want to be safe while enjoying these sizzling occasions. Here are some ways to keep you and your loved ones unharmed.
First, as mentioned before, make sure your fire pit contains the flames to prevent it from spreading. Depending on your location, the precautions may change and require your pit to be a certain height off the ground. Be sure to know the limitations. Next, check that you are wearing tight fitted clothing when standing close by or tending to the flames. This is to keep you from accidentally setting fire to your clothes and then your body. Also, if you have long hair, keep it tied back!
For both accidents and for putting out the fire at the end of the night, have a water source close by. This will quickly put out the fire and help to cool down the coals or ember more rapidly than if they were to burn out. Knowing safety rules for an emergency are also vital and yes, the “stop, drop, roll” method is still an effective way to stomp out the flames. Another great rule to put in place is a radius distance to keep away from the fire, for example, three feet. Don’t worry, roasting marshmallows is still an option, you just need to find longer sticks. If you want to learn more about fire safety in New Jersey, head to the New Jersey Fire Safety Council.
What Happens Now?
So, it turns out that the burns associated with your campfire injury were determined to be an accident. Who is responsible for paying your medical bills?
If you received a severe burn injury after a campfire, chances are you have a long road of recovery ahead of you. You may be expecting several expensive and extensive medical treatments such as skin grafts, physical therapy, and plastic surgery. And, you may possibly face a lifetime of scarring, disfigurement, or problems with range of motion.
The liable party must not only compensate a plaintiff for the physical pain the campfire burn caused and will continue to cause, but also any emotional pain a disfigured burn victim has suffered and will suffer in the future. An emotional pain and suffering award will take into account the extent and nature of the disfigurement, since it is based on the likelihood of the plaintiff being embarrassed, depressed, or experiencing any of the other emotional reactions likely caused by a disfigurement. A plaintiff with a badly burned face, for example, will receive a much higher damage award than a plaintiff with a permanent scar in the middle of his or her back.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a fire accident that wasn’t your fault or due to someone else’s negligence, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can provide you with the services you need. Call us to get the compensation and security you deserve.