Burn Injury Awareness: How to prevent burn injuries at home and work

February 10, 2021 | 5:00 am

One person was burned by an air fryer while working at a fast food restaurant. Another person suffered serious second- and third-degree burns when a tank overflowed at work, and hot oil splashed onto his hands. And another person was burned by a cream bought for home use to remove callus.

These are just a few of the people in Kern County who have suffered burn injuries at work, or at the fault of someone else, and came to Chain | Cohn | Stiles for help. They join about 400,000 people who receive medical care for treatment of burn injuries each year.

This week is Burn Awareness Week, a chance for burn care organizations, survivor support groups, public safety officials, injury prevention professionals, educators, and all of us to share prevention messages associated with burn injuries.

Burn injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury in our country. Children under 5 years old are two times as likely to be seen for burn injuries at a hospital emergency department. The majority of these injuries are preventable, with most burn injuries occurring at home and nearly 10% of all burn injuries taking place in the workplace.



This year’s theme for Burn Awareness Week is “electrical safety.” The most common risk of electrical burn injuries comes from unprotected electrical outlets, improperly used extension cords, lightning, and workplace electrical injuries. In fact, one can encounter many risks in a household, but we can decrease the dangers of electrical fires and burns by doing the following:

  • Plug major appliances, like space heaters and air conditioners, directly into wall outlets. Don’t use extension cords or power strips with them.
  • Charge laptops and cellphone on hard surfaces. Don’t charge them on soft surfaces like beds or upholstered furniture.
  • Unplug any device powered by lithium-ion batteries once they are fully charged. Don’t overcharge or leave them charging unattended, or overnight.
  • Turn heating pads, electric blankets and space heaters off before sleeping.
  • Learn how to react to a fire in the microwave oven: keep the door shut and unplug it if safe to do so.
  • As a general rule, don’t put metal in the microwave.
  • Keep battery terminals (positive and negative ends) from coming in contact with each other, or with other metals. Tape the ends if you are storing them loosely in a drawer.

Sadly, accidents happen even when taking precautions. Here’s what you should do in the case of a burn injury:

  • Treat a burn right away by putting it under cool, running water. Cool the burn for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cover a burn with a clean, dry cloth. Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays or other home remedies.
  • Seek immediate emergency medical care for more serious burns to prevent infection and other complications.



Over the years, the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have helped numerous burn injury victims, as well as given back in an effort to raise awareness and make sure victims are properly cared for. In fact, when San Joaquin Community Hospital (now Adventist Health) established a burn center to help Bakersfield and Kern County residents in need of specialized burn care, the law firm’s partners donated $200,000 toward the center and it was named the Chain | Cohn | Stiles Burn Center.

Here are just a three recent notable cases:

  • Lawyer David K. Cohn helped resolve a lawsuit for $10 million after a man was burned over 80 percent of his body in an oilfield accident.
  • Attorney David Cohn represented two men who suffered from severe injuries caused in a fireworks accident while attending a party on Fourth of July in west Bakersfield. The two men arrived at the party where party-goers were allegedly setting off illegal fireworks and explosives. A blast injured two people, and the case settled in 2018 for $2.3 million.
  • In June 2012, David was watering his yard in Ridgecrest when he heard a sizzle and a pop sound. A raven had landed on a power line, which then failed and caused the electrical wire to fall on a fence three houses away. As the fence caught fire, David ran to try to put it out, not knowing a power line was down in the area. While focused on fighting the fire, David didn’t notice that his son, 3 years old at the time, followed close behind. When he noticed his boy, David ran to move him away, but it was too late. The boy tripped over the electrical wire, which caused an electric jolt that burned both of his legs. Attorney Matt Clark helped settle the family’s lawsuit, which argued that a connector on the power line failed when the raven landed near it. The failure caused the wire to fall to the ground, putting residents there in danger.
  • The law firm was involved in several cases of exploding e-cigarettes where the victims suffered major burn injuries when electronic cigarettes, or “vapes,” they were using failed and exploded spontaneously.

For more on these types of cases, see the “Results” page on chainlaw.com.


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles represents Bakersfield residents in exploding e-cigarette cases

November 25, 2015 | 9:41 am

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing three Bakersfield residents who suffered major burn injuries when electronic cigarettes, or “vapes,” they were using failed and exploded spontaneously.

Roy Iversen, Vicente Garza and Greg Phillips were each severely burned injured when the e-cigarettes they purchased in local shops suddenly exploded. The battery exploded while in the pants pockets of Iversen and Phillips, and Garza’s exploded in his face as he used it.

“Many consumers don’t know or are unaware of the fact that e-cigarettes and ‘vapes’ that are commonly sold in our community have the potential of exploding during use, or spontaneously catching fire,” said Matthew Clark, attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles. “These items are being marketed and sold without regulation oftentimes to young people in our community who have no idea that the ‘vape’ they’re carrying in their pocket, or e-cigarette they’re putting up to their mouths, can explode and catch fire. As you can imagine, as people are using these devices right next to their faces or carrying them on their person when they catastrophically malfunction, the injuries can be severe and life-changing.”

According to the American Lung Association, electronic cigarette use among young people surpassed traditional cigarette use in 2015 for the first time. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the sale and marketing of traditional cigarettes, but does not have authority over e-cigarettes. Additionally, the e-cigarette industry continues to operate with little oversight as manufacturers and sellers rake in billions of dollars.

And now, reports of e-cigarettes exploding when used and causing fires and major injuries are making headlines across the nation. Chain | Cohn | Stiles, on behalf of the victims, has filed complaints against the sellers and manufacturers of e-cigarettes.

Attorneys Matthew Clark and Neil Gehlawat from Chain | Cohn | Stiles – accompanied by a local victim – hosted a press conference recently to discuss the cases. Attorney Gregory L. Bentley held a press conference for Los Angeles area media related to these cases as well. To see complete coverage of these cases, see the “media coverage” section below.

Several of the victims described that they began using e-cigarettes in an effort to quit smoking, and believing they were safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Instead, they said, they caused more harm.

  • Garza was using the e-cigarette in October in his bathroom when it exploded in his mouth and caused severe injuries to his mouth, tongue and finger. His left index finger was amputated to the first knuckle as a result of the explosion. He also had surgery on his tongue immediately after the explosion, and was hospitalized for seven days. Luxor Café Vape Lounge, Fame Vape and manufacturer Flawless Vapes and Supplies LLC are named as defendants.
  • Phillips suffered second-degree burns over most of his left leg September, which required two skin graft surgeries, after the vape exploded in his pants pocket. Cigarette World is named as a defendant.
  • Iversen was a passenger in a car in November when the device exploded in his pocket. He, too, suffered severe left thigh burns, is unable to work, and uses a cane to walk.

The lawsuits state that e-cigarettes and their components, including lithium ion batteries and chargers, are unsafe and that the businesses in the supply chains failed to properly warn of the defects.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is working with attorney Gregory L. Bentley of the Claremont area on these cases.


If you or someone you know has been injured while using an e-cigarette or vape, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling 661-323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com and fill out a contact form.