Injuries from Smoke Inhalation
The number one cause of death, when fire is involved, is smoke inhalation. The body cannot breathe in the byproducts of combustion during a fire for long without causing coughing, difficulty breathing, fainting, and eventually death. Those who survive fires may still suffer from injuries relating to smoke inhalation, such as irritated vocal cords, damage to the corneas, and mental status changes from asphyxiation. If you or a loved one sustained smoke-related injuries in the recent California wildfires, count on the North Bay Fires Consortium for outstanding legal assistance.
About Smoke Inhalation Injuries
With 245,000 acres burned, 8,400 buildings damaged, and 43 people confirmed dead, the North Bay Fires have totally devastated much of Northern California. Hundreds of people have checked into emergency rooms from burns and other injuries due to the fires in the last several weeks. Smoke inhalation has been a common complaint from those directly in the line of the fires and even those farther away. Plumes of smoke can affect the air quality for miles outside of the fire.
Inhaling smoke, carbon monoxide, and other substances from a combustion can damage your eyes and respiratory system. There is no way to accurately predict the chemicals that will be in the air after a fire. The materials burned, temperature of the fire, and other conditions can all affect the byproducts of the event. Toxic fumes can create health problems and worsen existing conditions, such as heart and lung diseases. Acute smoke inhalation can result in throat pain, coughing, phlegm, irritated nasal passage, shortness of breath, chest pain, and other symptoms.
After suffering from smoke inhalation, go to your local emergency room right away and explain that you’ve inhaled smoke. The physician will check your health status using appropriate scans and tests based on your symptoms. You may need a chest x-ray, pulse oximetry, or blood tests to gauge how much the smoke affected your system. Oxygen is the main form of treatment for smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation can result in expensive medical bills, tests, and treatments. The victim may also have to miss work for an extended period of time.
Your Rights After a Smoke Inhalation Injury
If the recent North Bay Fires caused your smoke inhalation injury, you could be eligible for compensation. There is currently an investigation focusing on PG&E, the Northern California utility company, as a potential contributor to the fires. If the investigation finds that PG&E was negligent, and that this negligence caused the fires, the company may be liable for victims’ damages. This may involve a class action lawsuit against the company to encompass everyone who suffered in the fires.
Working with an attorney can help you understand your rights. It can also make insurance claims processes simpler and stress-free after a damaging wildfire. If you suffered other injuries, the death of a loved one, or property damage/loss, seek help from the North Bay Fires Consortium. The Consortium has five experienced local law firms pooling their resources for your benefit. Schedule a free consultation today, and someone will arrange to meet you wherever is most convenient.