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Welcome to the blog about California Burns and scalds. Michael Ehline of Los Angeles based Ehline Law Firm (aka "Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC") has a background as an aggressive civil litigator. He has written this section to help you understand burn injuries and related Federal, California, Los Angeles, Orange County, and other local laws regarding victim's compensation.



Michael Ehline at the court

Most of all, those fortunate enough to have suffered a burn injury and survive, are not off the hook at a terrible existence. Just because someone lived, in most cases, doesn't mean they remain injury-free.

In many of the standard situations, victims may endure a wretched class of injuries.

Examples include partial-thickness burns. Hence, these are among the most tragic types known to man.

To  most of you, having:

  • Melted skin
  • Scars
  • Nerve damage is an impossible scenario. So it's just too painful to even consider as a possibility.

But it isn't just immense physical discomfort that afflicts survivors. There is also a heavy spiritual and emotional burden for you and your family. The event itself can cause permanent, psychological scars. 

What is the Importance of NFPA 921 in the Standard of Care?

Courts in Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions use NFPA 921. But NFPA 921 is a baseline method to determine training and response standards. So it's just one of many techniques in proving the liability of the accused defendants. Also important are reliable expert witnesses to render scientific opinions on the cause of the spark and blaze, and whence it came.

As always, fire prevention standards are an essential element in a case. Most of all, they can help establish the feasibility of repair or avoidance. Reading some of our blog posts on burn injuries should be helpful in your quest for recovery.

Sep 11, 2020

Burn Treatment Techniques

Go here for free resources on how to treat a serious burn injury. Educational burn treatment page brought to you by Ehline Law.
May 26, 2020

Burn Injury Statistics

Michael Ehline discusses the various statistics on burn injuries from the perspective of a lawyer.
May 26, 2020

Burn Injury Resources

Codex of valuable first AID resources for prevention, care, and treatment of severe burn injuries in LA city and county.
May 23, 2020

Burn Injury Pathophysiology - A Legal Perspective

Michael Ehline discusses burn injury pathophysiology and its importance in personal injury claims for burn wounds.
Feb 7, 2019

A Duty for Every Parent - Fire Safety

Firemen putting out fire
There is no way around it. First of all, fire safety is a crucial element for people of every age to understand and fear. However, there is a particular vulnerability for children due to fire. Blazes kill hundreds of Americans each year, with higher proportions for children. These fires can strike anywhere-- including in the home, at school or work, or on the open road. Each is their challenge that should come with the right warnings and discussions. Ehline Law writes this column as a means to keep our children safe from the risks of fire. We use our dozens of years of legal and practical experience for parents everywhere. Be Cool About Fire Safety As Rich Evans said, "Be cool about fire safety." There is little room for error when dealing with potential flame hazards. There are, however, several things that you can do to teach your children the basics of preventing fires and reacting to them. Teach children the basics of the causes of fires. Keep them away from matches and lighters. They should understand the potential risk of each present. Furthermore, they should follow which materials are flammable and a potential hazard. Stop, drop, and roll. This technique is constant since your days in school. It's the same as it was at the time. What to do in case of a fire: Most important, teach your children many of the basics, including to touch doors to see if they are hot, potential evacuation routes, and to stay close to the ground. Many fire deaths are not due to the fire itself, but rather suffocation. Also, keep smoke alarms where they are needed. Don't skimp on the number of smoke alarms around the house, especially around kids' rooms. Keep accessible fire extinguishers. Keep them in logical places. And teach kids how to use them if ever needed. Hopefully, that day will never come.
Jan 30, 2019

California Law—Negligence and Fireworks Explosion Incidents

A young legal assistant
Ehline Law Firm Legal Assistant
Ehline Law Firm Legal Assistant The Fourth of July means cookouts, high foods coming off of the grill, picnics, and watching fireworks with the family. While usually, this is a fun and exciting time, this year the fireworks display in Simi Valley, California was startling. The events that took place approximately five minutes into the twenty-five-minute show. It occurred when multiple fireworks canisters exploded close to the ground. This explosion resulted in debris shooting out at nearby spectators causing the crowd to scatter and spectators to be burned and injured. Simi Valley Shout Out Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this year’s Simi Valley fireworks mishap. Last Independence Day there was a similar incident, with a pyrotechnics display in the San Diego, California area. These two Fourth of July mishaps are enough to warrant exploring the legal issues involved in these types of situations. In incidences where fireworks malfunctions have legal issues, and these typically will constitute negligence, which can vary between the parties involved in the display of fireworks that include the pyrotechnic professional(s), the manufacturer and the party or entity that is responsible for setting up the fireworks display event. In incidences where fireworks malfunctions have legal issues, and these typically will constitute negligence, which can vary between the parties involved in the display of fireworks that include the pyrotechnic professional(s), the manufacturer and the party or entity that is responsible for setting up the fireworks display event. Ordinary Care and "Extreme Caution" Distinguished To prove negligence, there must be an injury or damage caused by a lack of “ordinary care.” In California and other jurisdictions, dangerous activities require an even higher standard.  “Extreme caution” remains the standard as of 2020. So when hazardous activities involve fireworks, many parties could be liable. For example, people besides the pyrotechnic professional's company may be accountable. In some ways, this duty remains similar to the duties owed by a shooting gallery. It stands to reason that shooting galleries remain held to a higher standard of care. In the case of Warner v. Santa Catalina Island Company, 44 Cal.2d 310, 317; a patron was injured when bullets malfunctioned. The court determined the business should be held to this higher standard. This was because of the use of inherently dangerous ammunition and explosive materials. The industry had a higher standard of care to inspect and test ammunition used in close range shooting. They had to ensure the ammo was safe before distributing bullets to patrons. Makes sense, right? EXTREME CARE - The Duty of Care Must Consider the Potential Danger The California Supreme Court ruled that the burden of care must be proportionate to the risk. The duty of care includes anticipating potential future consequences. This reasonableness is then open to reason that the person or entity setting up and ignition of fireworks would be held to this higher standard of “extreme care.” One case that mainly addresses this issue is Ramsey v. Marutamaya Ogatsu Fireworks Company, 72 Cal.App.3d 516. This case involves fireworks display, where the pyrotechnics resulted in a premature explosion causing injuries to spectators, including burns. Claims were brought against the pyrotechnics professionals, the manufacturer, and the sponsors of the event. This case also included the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and a Japanese trade organization. This was a non-jury trial. The defendants were found liable. The Appeal. The sponsors of the fireworks display appealed, arguing that their standard of duty was to hire pyrotechnic professionals and were not liable for the negligent actions of these experts. Appellant claimed no responsibility for faulty manufacturing or setting off of the fireworks. The California Supreme Court upheld the verdict. In other words, the Court denied the appeal against the sponsors and pyrotechnic professionals. In making the ruling, the court depended upon the Restatement Second of Torts Section 423. Most of all, employers of parties who engage in dangerous activities are liable in the same manner they would be with any other contractor the company hires. (See also page 525 of Ramsey.) One of the other elements of this case, while the plaintiff brought a lawsuit for negligence, it also included strict liability. The reason for the use of this theory was to hold the manufacturer and chain of distribution entities liable for defective products or materials. And in this case, they were explosive fireworks. Plaintiff's Duty of Care Matters The other side of this is the plaintiff bringing an action does have a legal responsibility to a certain degree, which is to act responsibly when attending a fireworks display. “Comparative negligence and apportionment of fault” is the formula to determine fault. Most of all, plaintiffs can lose even if they have injuries. Instructive here is the case of Matthews v. City of Albany 36, Cal.App.2d 147. Basically, in that case, the plaintiff suffered harm from an unexploded firework at an outdoor event. And the plaintiff decided to explode it by himself. The court ruled against the plaintiff. Of particular interest here, this ruling found the show sponsor or pyrotechnics professional was not liable. Heightened Standard of Care? Due to the higher duty of attention, the incident of malfunctioning fireworks in Simi Valley this Independence Day and other incidences of this nature, the civil liability applies. The recent episode, like all legal issues, will depend on facts. Often these remain hidden facts until completion of the investigation. This evidence will provide answers about if there was a malfunction. For example, what if the fireworks had a faulty ignition or were defective in any manner? The law is that if there was negligence in the duty of care or caution used in setting the display, there is a legal liability. Example of Plaintiff's Burden versus Burden of Defendant Another answer that will be necessary is whether the spectators were in too close of proximity to where the pyrotechnic professionals were setting these materials off. For example, were the spectators behind a marked off area? This would speak volumes as to whether or not the victims were too close to the explosion. Also, what was the hiring process by the sponsor for this event? What screening standards were used to hire the pyrotechnic company? Now the harmed spectators could bring civil personal injury claims against the liable entities with evidence of even gross neglect or recklessness. But usually, only a great lawyer can discover this information. Most of all, this will depend on a thorough and timely investigation. This study will determine what happened and how. And it should also provide the information necessary to prevent this type of incident at another fireworks display.
Jan 9, 2019

Taking Legal Action after Football Game Burn Injuries

Burned top of a human foot
Burned top of woman's foot.
Burned top of woman's foot. Injuries caused by burns can happen anywhere at any time. From home fires to events at work to those in a car accident, there are many cases where people have suffered severe burns. However, fans have also been injured at popular sporting events, with football games taking particular attention recently. Any burn that requires medical care is severe, and the victim should not bear the pain and doctor's bills alone. So How Do You Get Burned at a Football Game? These burn injuries could happen in and around a football field for many reasons. There are incidents when machinery such as lawn mowers or venting reaches a critical temperature that burns the skin of anyone that comes close to it. There are cases where food preparation stands have unsafe practices that lead to onlookers being injured. Furthermore, there are issues where propane tanks that are used to heat food are improperly maintained or installed. Also, this could lead to a leak that could catch fire or even an explosion. In one case, three people were seriously injured at a high school football game due to a propane tank explosion. Coping With the Long-Term Effects of Burns Requires Money. All of these potential injuries have profound effects on the victims. Having to live with the consequences of burn injuries that could cause scarring and disfigurement are jarring. There are also mounting medical bills and potential loss of work to consider. All of these could add up to a perfect storm for a fan that wanted to enjoy a game. When all of these factors collide, you need proper medical attention. Having an attorney specialized in the field of burn injuries and premises liability, such as one from Ehline Law Firm is of vital importance. If you are dealing with the wild party or parties causing an accident, an experienced personal injury attorney makes the difference. Call for more information or to sit down with one of our lawyers. Also, we can help 24 hours a day anywhere in Northern, Middle, or Southern California, or go here to learn more.
Need to schedule an appointment for legal advice in a city near you? Reach out to a California personal injury lawyer specialist near you or another location or practice area as follows:

Torrance wrongful death lawyer, Torrance car accident lawyer, Best Torrance motorcycle accident lawyer.