Victims of blast injuries caused by sudden explosions often suffer permanent damage, life-long disabilities, or death.
The Traumatic Consequences of Blast Injuries
Blast injuries happen more frequently in the home and in the workplace than most people realize. They are usually caused by some type of sudden explosion due to a buildup of gases, toxic chemicals, or extreme pressure. Explosions in confined areas like buildings, vehicles, and underground mines are extremely dangerous. They often result in the complete collapse of structures and high death rates. When victims do survive, they often suffer permanent or disabling injuries that have long-term, life-changing consequences.
Victims of explosions and blast injuries commonly suffer from the following conditions:
- Crushed or amputated limbs
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Severe burns
- Vision or hearing loss
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Mental disorders
Because blast injuries are often caused by flying debris, fragmentation injuries, penetrating trauma, and blunt trauma are quite common. When a sudden blast includes fire and toxic fumes, severe burn injuries, as well as toxic exposure, lung damage, and asphyxia can occur.
Lung injuries are common in victims with head trauma and extensive burns, but lung damage may not show up for at least 48 hours. Common symptoms of lung damage include persistent coughs, chest pain, difficult or labored breathing (dyspnea), and blood in the lungs and bronchial tubes (hemoptysis).
Many medical professionals compare blast injuries to injuries seen in military combat because they have such severe health consequences. Blast injuries require immediate medical treatment and diligent medical follow-up to prevent complications. When abdominal injuries occur, doctors, nurses, and EMTs must check for internal hemorrhages and perforations. Eyes must be checked for retina damage to prevent permanent vision loss, while ear injuries must be checked for damage to the tympanic membrane to prevent permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo.
Blast injuries, especially in a work environment, may be caused by negligent actions of a third party such as a fellow worker, supervisor, or employer. In some cases, defective parts or products produced by a manufacturer may be to blame for injuries. When negligent actions can be proven, a personal injury lawyer can file a negligence lawsuit against the at-fault third party. In such cases, the victim of a blast injury can be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In egregious cases, punitive damages may be awarded.