There are many causes of burn injuries, and some of those causes involve the negligent or reckless behavior of another person. Burn injuries may occur in car accidents, on a job site, in the workplace, or when you’re using an everyday item like a grill or power tool that malfunctions due to a manufacturing or design defect. If you’ve suffered a serious burn or someone you love has been burned through no fault of their own, you will most likely need an experienced personal injury attorney like attorney Laurie Robbins to help you navigate the complex process of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for your injury.
Burn injuries are not only physically painful; they often cause extreme emotional and mental distress, and they almost always involve a long recovery time. Not only must a burn victim recover from the physical devastation a burn may cause, but a burn victim must also contend with the emotional pain that accompanies a burn injury. It may take months, years, or even decades to fully recover from a burn, and there may be physically scarring to constantly remind the victim of what they have endured.
Causes and Degrees of Burn Injuries
A burn injury most often damages the layers of skin, but deeper burn injuries may damage fat and muscle tissue or bone. According to MedlinePlus, these are the most common causes of burn injuries:
- Contact with fire
- Contact with a flash from the heat of an explosive blast
- Being scalded with hot liquids or steam
- Contact with hot grease with hot grease
- Prolonged contact with something hot
- Electricity passing through the body
- Contact with dangerous chemicals
Medical professionals measure the severity of a burn in terms of degrees, and there are four degrees of burns.
First degree burns are the mildest type of burn and are also referred to as “superficial burns.” These burns damage only the epidermis, which is the first layer of skin, and they usually don’t get infected or leave a permanent scar. The skin may get red but won’t break and usually heals within a very short amount of time (3-5 days).
Second degree burns are also called “partial thickness burns.” This type of burn damages the epidermis and the dermis, which is the second layer of skin. Second degree burns are painful, and the burned area can swell and appear red with blisters. With these types of burns, damaged skin will grow back unless it becomes infected.
Third degree burns, also called “full thickness burns, go through the epidermis and dermis and affect deeper tissues which may also be damaged or destroyed. With third degree burns, the area may appear charred and may be black, white, or deep red in color, and the skin is often numb to light touch. Skin grafting may be necessary with third degree burns.
Fourth degree burns completely destroy skin, fat, muscle, and bone.
More About Burn Injuries
The term “total body surface area” (TBSA) is used to measure the size of a burn, and a percentage is used to indicate how much of the body the burn covers. To estimate burn size, doctors use a formula that considers the age of the injured person and a diagram called the “Rule of Nines.” Physicians consider a number of factors to determine a burn’s severity:
- Depth of the burn (First, second, third or fourth degree)
- Size of the skin that’s burned (percentage it covers)
- Age of the burn victim
- Location of the burn
- Type of burn (chemical, fire, steam, etc.)
- Other injuries like bone fractures
- Other health issues like heart disease
Treatment for burns depends on many factors; here are some of the most common treatments for burn injuries:
- Burn center to provide intensive physical and occupational therapy
- Inpatient rehabilitation facility specially designed for burn victims
- A skilled nursing facility where patients live for some period of time to receive medical and nursing care as they recover
- An outpatient rehabilitation center to provide physical and occupational therapy services to burn victims recovering at home
Burns are serious injuries that may take years to heal because the skin, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and bone may all be damaged. Burn victims often deal with:
- Scars and disfigurement
- Extensive emotional and psychological damage
If you’ve been burned in an accident at work, a vehicle accident, or due to a defective product, please contact attorney Laurie Robbins to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Attorney Robbins represents injury victims in Sandy Springs, Atlanta and throughout Georgia. You may be entitled to compensation for the losses you’ve suffered; damages may be awarded for medical bills, lost wages, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering.