Burn Injury Claims, Lawsuits and Lawyers
Nearly everyone has experienced the discomfort that a sunburn causes. As unpleasant as a sunburn may be, this discomfort is minor compared with the damage that more serious burns can cause. The most severe of burns can penetrate layers of skin and impact bone and muscle tissue. These and less-severe burns may require painful and expensive skin graft procedures to help repair the damage caused by the burn. Whether at home or at work, burn injuries can usually be avoided by the exercise of due care by the victim or (more often) by some other third person who contributes to the burn.
Severity of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries are categorized according to degrees. First-degree burns are considered the most minor of burns and may not require any additional treatment beyond basic first aid, while third-degree burns will almost invariably require medical treatment at a hospital or emergency care center. The degree of a particular burn will also indicate the layers of skin and/or tissue that are impacted by the burn. Burns are classified as either:
- First-degree burns: First-degree burns are considered minor and generally do not require emergency medical treatment. The skin that is burned is often red and painful to the touch. In a first-degree burn, only the outer layers of the skin are affected. When a first-degree burn is sustained, cooling the skin and thereafter keeping the skin dry and cool. In some cases, Tylenol or other pain medication may be used as well as skin ointments or aloe vera gel.
- Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns penetrate deeper into the skin but generally do not affect other tissue. The skin may appear red, swollen, and blistered. The burn is usually quite painful. Although these are more serious burns, emergency medical treatment is usually not required unless second-degree burns are present on over 50 percent of the victim’s body and/or are present on sensitive areas like the face. Treatment may consist of skin ointments and keeping the affected area dry as well as preventing infection from setting in once the blisters burst.
- Third-degree burns: These burns are considered the most severe and can affect not only the various layers of skin but also the deeper muscle tissue and (sometimes) even bone. Unlike other burns, a third-degree burn usually appears white or charred and sometimes the victim does not feel any pain at all (due to nerve damage). A third-degree burn is a medical emergency and the victim should be taken promptly to the hospital or to an appropriate burn treatment facility. A third-degree burn may require skin grafts and other expensive and painful procedures in order to treat the burn and minimize the loss of functioning.
As is true with many other types of injury, the sooner a burn victim can obtain appropriate medical treatment, the better outcome the burn victim can generally expect. Complications such as shock can set in quickly if severe, third-degree burns are not treated appropriately.
Causes of Burns and Burn Injuries
Most individuals think of heat and fire as the cause of burns. These types of burns are called thermal burns and are just one type of burn injury. Burns can also be caused by:
- Chemicals such as acids and other caustic compounds;
- Cold temperatures, such as occurs when a person develops severe frostbite;
- Radiation from the sun, tanning booths, X-ray machines, and cancer treatments;
- Electrical currents that make contact with the skin.
Some of these burns can be sustained if appropriate warnings are not attached to products or if products are manufactured in a defective and dangerous manner. For example, hot coffee contained in a defective cup that leaks onto the skin of the user can cause a serious and painful thermal burn. Other times, burns are sustained at the workplace because the employer fails to provide his or her workers with appropriate training and safety gear. For instance, a chemical can spill or splash onto the skin and cause a significant chemical burn if the worker is not provided with protective gloves, an apron, and appropriate clothing.
The Impact of Burn Injuries
When a person suffers a burn because another person acted with carelessness or recklessness, that person will likely experience intense pain or (in the case of a third-degree burn, shock). He or she may be unable to use the affected body part for days or weeks as the area heals. This can mean periods in which the person is unable to work. Skin grafts (used to help heal damaged skin and reduce the appearance of scarring) can be extremely painful, especially if the person’s face or other sensitive areas are affected.
While Stern Law, PLLC cannot undo the damage caused by a burn injury, we can help burn injury victims recover compensation so they can obtain the treatment they need to move forward with their lives following a burn injury. Compensation may also be available for time missed from work and other losses as well. Call Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529 following a burn injury and learn what compensation you may be able to recover.