Personal Injury Law – Burn Injuries
Everyone suffers minor scrapes, bruises, and even the occasional burn every now and again. But when someone suffers a significant burn injury, the pain, suffering, and damages caused can be serious, and even life-threatening. Learning the difference between minor burns and more serious burns is important, especially if you’ve recently suffered an accident and have been burned as a result.
Types of Burns
Medical professionals categorize burns based on both their cause and their severity. Here are the four main sources of burn injuries:
Thermal Burns. When most people think of burn injuries, they think of coming into contact with an open flame, a kitchen stove, or another hot object. These types of burns are called thermal burns. When you touch a hot object, the heat transfers to your skin and causes damage.
Scalding Burns. A lot of kitchen burns involve scalding burns. These burns result when your skin comes in contact with a hot liquid or gas. For example, the oil that bubbles up as you are frying chicken often results in very minor scald burns.
Chemical Burns. Chemical burns can be serious because they don’t usually involve heat sources. When we come into contact with various types of chemicals, those chemicals can cause damage to our body’s tissues. These are chemical burns. Chemical burns can arise if a person inhales noxious vapors.
Electrical burns. Electrical burns can be very serious because they not only cause obvious burn damage to exposed skin, but the electricity can also cause unseen damage to tissues and organs. Electrical burns are often some of the most serious types of burns because the readily apparent damage can be very minor, even though the total damage done to the body is far more extensive.
When health care professionals evaluate the extent of a burn injury, they categorize the burns a person has sustained in degrees. The degree of the burn, as well as other factors, will determine the types of treatment involved, whether scaring will be present, and how long the burn victim will take to recover.
*First-Degree. A first-degree burn is painful, but it is also the least serious type of burn. This type of injury only affects the outer layers of the skin, usually healing in a matter of days. First-degree burn victims usually don’t require hospitalization and do not suffer permanent side effects.
Second-Degree. Second-degree burns are more serious. They are extremely painful and can take up to 35 days to heal. Second-degree burns *can result in minor scarring, as well as discoloration to the skin. These types of injuries are often caused by chemical and scald burns.
*Third-Degree. Even though it’s the most serious type, third-degree burns typically result in little to no pain. Someone suffering a third-degree burn may not fully realize the extent of the injury, but even small burns can take months or longer to heal. In the most severe cases, skin grafts will be required to treat the injury, and extensive scarring could be present.
If these burns are the result of an accident or someone’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages. To be sure, you can contact a personal injury lawyer and discuss your unique situation. Personal injury lawyers will often provide a free initial consultation and will be able to better assess your situation and determine if filing a lawsuit would be advisable.