Blast Injuries and their Effects
A direct exposure to an explosion is one traumatic experience that can result to severe injuries. Besides a bomb, which is the most common cause of a blast, there are many other causes of explosions, including gas pipelines, propane, fertilizers (these contain the chemical ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive compound that is commonly used in agricultural fertilizers), gas tankers, fuel barges and others. Whatever the cause of the explosion, however, the effect always becomes more intense when it happens in confined spaces, like in enclosed large vehicles, buildings or mines.
Explosions, as fire engineers put it, are the effect of the abrupt violent expansion of gases. Besides the loud noise, balls of flame, clouds of black smoke, and scorching heat, an explosion also produces shock waves, which cause windows to shatter, doors to be knocked down and walls to collapse. Depending on the surroundings and the distance of a person, an explosion can shatter glasses, knock people down and even damage their lungs and other parts of the body; a blasted lung, which refers to severe pulmonary contusions, is actually the most common cause of fatal injury among survivors.
There are four classes of injuries sustained from a blast, these are:
Primary injuries – caused by blast overpressure / shock waves and these are sustained due to proximity to the explosion. Injuries are usually damage to the middle ears, blasted lungs, abdominal hemorrhage and perforation, eye rupture and damage to the gastrointestinal tract’s hollow organs.
Secondary injuries – are due to fragmentation and explosion-propelled objects that can affect any part of the body. Secondary wounds, which can be caused by shattered glasses or metals, such as in nail bombs, can have lethal effects.
Tertiary injuries – also called tertiary blast injuries are caused by the blast wind created by air displacement at the moment of explosion. Blast winds can throw people, especially children, towards solid things and vice versa. Victims who sustain this type of injuries can suffer from fractured bones and coup contre-coup injuries. Coup injury means injury on the part that suffered direct impact on another solid object; contre-coup refers to the other side of that part that was directly impacted.
Quaternary injuries – refers to any injuries that fall out of the first three types. These may be physical, like respiratory injuries and flash burns, or psychological, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and psychiatric injuries.
Filing a lawsuit against the party liable for the explosion that has caused your injuries may be more complex than you think. To make sure that you make the right moves and are able to prepare the right case and evidences that will strengthen your case, hiring an experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel ought to be one of your immediate decisions.