Serious burn injuries can be both physically and psychologically devastating. These painful injuries can not only significantly alter the way you look, but change the way your muscles, nerves, blood vessels or respiratory system function. It takes some burn victims years to fully recover from their injuries, and often takes great rehabilitative effort and expense to do so. If you have suffered a burn injury that you think may be due to the fault of others, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to safeguard your rights to just compensation.
About Burn Injuries
The American Burn Association reports that approximately 450,000 people received medical treatment for burns in 2012. Of these, 40,000 were hospitalized for their burns, with about 30,000 receiving treatment at a hospital burn center. About 3,400 people died as a result of their injuries.
Burns can be caused in numerous ways, including car accidents, electrical fires, chemical spills, structural fires, hot liquid spills or scalds, construction accidents, thermal fires, fires caused by defective products, explosions, radiation, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and accidents occurring while at work.
Burns are medically classified by severity of the injury:
- First degree burns: First degree burns are the least severe, affecting only the outer layer of skin (epidermis). The burn site is usually dry, red and painful with no blistering. It typically heals within 3-5 days with minimal medical treatment. Mild sunburn is a typical example of a first-degree burn.
- Second degree burns: Second degree burns (also known as “partial thickness” burns) affect both the epidermis and upper dermis layers of the skin. The burned skin appears white, deep pink or red, usually with blisters, and is often swollen and painful. Sunburn, scalding, briefly touching a hot object, or exposure to chemicals often causes second-degree burns. These burns typically take three weeks to heal.
- Third degree burns: Burns are classified as third degree burns (or “full thickness” burns) when both the epidermis and dermis layers of skin are entirely destroyed. The skin becomes dry, leathery, and swollen, and becomes brown, black, yellow or white in color. There is no pain (or any sensation) because the nerve endings have been destroyed. New skin does not grow from third degree burn sites, thus a skin graft is usually required.
Consequences of Burn Injuries
No matter the level of severity, burns should be treated immediately and properly to reduce the risk of suffering serious health consequences. Among the more common consequences of burns are:
- Infection: Infection is the number one risk of having a burn injury. Because the skin is the body’s first line of defense against bacteria, when skin’s integrity is compromised, infection can easily settle in. Signs of infection include a change of color of the burn site, a change in the thickness of the burn, green discharge or pus, or fever.
- Dehydration: With severe burns, fluid is lost through the skin. This can lead to dehydration, which in turn can lead to shock. Some burn victims must be treated through intravenous fluid to prevent or rectify dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, light-headedness, dizziness, weakness, dry skin and urinating less than usual.
- Scarring: Burns scars can be psychologically traumatic, as these scars can alter your entire appearance. To minimize scarring, you should receive prompt treatment after a burn and take proper care of the burn while healing. Unfortunately, the greater the severity of the burn, the greater the chances that your scarring will be permanent.
How We Can Help You
Burn injuries are frightening occurrences for both the victim and their families. If the burn was caused due to the negligence of others, it’s understandable that you’d want those responsible to financially compensate you for your medical expenses, lost income and other losses that you’ve suffered.
At Appel Law Firm LLP in Walnut Creek, California, our burn injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you obtain the financial compensation you need and deserve for your injury. We can’t turn back the clock before your accident happened, but we can help you to move forward into a happy, healthy future. For a free consultation, call us today at (925) 938-2000 or contact us online.