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How Common Are Burn Injuries in the United States?

Posted on September 26, 2023

Burn injuries are a significant concern in the United States, affecting thousands of individuals each year. They can range from minor incidents to severe, life-threatening situations. According to the American Burn Association (ABA), more than 400,000 people are treated for burn injuries each year. Children and young adults are particularly vulnerable. The highest incidence of burn injuries occurs in the 0-4 age group, followed by the 15-44 age group. 

Burn Injury Hospitalizations

About 40,000 individuals require hospitalization due to the severity of their burns. These hospitalizations vary widely in terms of duration and intensity of care, with over 60% of patients requiring extended stays in specialized burn units. The ABA also reports that of those hospitalized between 2005 and 2014 in burn centers, there was a 96.8% survival rate. 73% of patients suffered injuries due to house fires, and overall there were more male patients (68%) as opposed to females (32%). 

Burn Injury Fatalities

In the U.S., burn injuries sadly contribute to a significant number of fatalities each year. On average, it is estimated that over 3,200 individuals succumb to burn-related injuries or smoke inhalation annually. Approximately 2,745 deaths are a result of residential fires, 310 from vehicle accident fires, and 220 from other sources. These fatalities can occur due to various factors, including the extent and severity of the burns, associated complications, and access to timely and specialized medical care. 

Most Common Causes of Burn Injuries

The leading causes of burn injury hospitalizations are as follows:

Fire Burns

Exposure to flames or explosions, often in house fires, car accidents, or workplace incidents.


Contact with hot liquids or steam from activities such as cooking, drinking hot beverages, or using hot water for bathing.

Thermal Burns

Direct contact with hot objects or surfaces often occurs in situations like touching a heated stove, iron, or oven.

Electrical Burns

Result from contact with electric currents from household appliances, faulty wiring, or other electrical sources.

Chemical Burns

Contact with corrosive substances like acids, alkalis, or strong cleaning agents that can damage skin and tissues.

Radiation Burns

Exposure to ionizing radiation from sources like the sun, tanning beds, or medical procedures.

Inhalation Injuries

Inhalation of hot gasses, smoke, or toxic chemicals during fires leading to damage to the respiratory tract.

Friction Burns

Injuries caused by friction against a surface, such as road rash from motorcycle accidents.

Determining Liability for Burn Injuries

Determining liability for a burn injury depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the incident. In many cases, liability may rest with an individual, a business, or a combination of parties.

Work Accidents

For instance, if a burn occurs in a workplace due to faulty equipment or inadequate safety measures, the employer may be held responsible for negligence. 

Product Liability

Similarly, in cases of product-related burns, manufacturers or distributors might bear responsibility if a product was defective or lacked proper warnings. 

Premises Liability

In accidents involving visiting a property, landlords or property owners may be held accountable if they failed to maintain safe conditions that led to the burn injury. 

Traffic Accidents

Additionally, if a burn results from a car accident or other form of negligence, the at-fault driver or responsible party could be deemed liable. 

Establishing liability often involves a thorough investigation, legal guidance, and consideration of relevant laws and regulations.

Contact A Philadelphia Burn Injury Attorney Today

Contact A Philadelphia Burn Injury Attorney Today

It is crucial for those affected by burn injuries to seek advice from a trusted Philadephia burn injury attorney to determine the appropriate course of action and pursue rightful compensation.