How Do Burn Injuries Occur?
Fire and burn injuries can occur for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of burn trauma:
- Fire in an apartment building, house, restaurant, nightclub, or other space
- Workplace incident
- Car or truck crash
- Defective products
- Electrical incident or electrical cord fire
- Scalding water/liquid or pipes
These are the most likely suspects in a home or apartment fire:
- Unattended cooking
- Portable heaters
- Electrical equipment
- Faulty wiring
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), nearly half of all home fires are caused by cooking. You can curb the risk of these blazes by following the ABA’s cooking safety tips.
What Are the Different Types of Burns?
Burn injuries generally fall into one of five categories:
- Thermal (fire/heat)
- Electrical (e.g., from an extension cord or electric fence)
- Chemical (e.g., chlorine, bleach, battery acid)
- Friction (from skin rubbing against another surface)
- Radiation (e.g., from radiation therapy or sunburn)
(Note: A radiation burn technically is not a burn but rather burnlike skin damage that arises from radiation.)
What Are the Different Degrees of Burns?
As you may know, burns are classified into first, second, and third degrees, with the degrees escalating in severity (third is the worst). These are the criteria for each degree:
- First-degree burns, or “superficial burns,” do not penetrate the top layer of skin (epidermis). Symptoms include pain, redness, and swelling.
- Second-degree burns, or “partial-thickness burns,” affect both the outer layer of skin and the one below it (dermis). Symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, and blistering.
- Third-degree burns, or “full-thickness burns,” are the most severe. They penetrate the deepest layers of the skin, turning it white or black and often numbing all sensation.
Complications from burn injuries, especially second- and third-degree burns, can be life-altering. These wounds may lead to scarring, deformities, or long-term disabilities. They can even cause a person to not recognize themselves or their abilities.
What Are the Phases of a Burn Injury?
Burn injury care is divided into three phases:
- Emergent: Also known as the resuscitative phase, this refers to the immediate burn wound care (first aid) and the resuscitation of fluids.
- Acute: This intermediate phase consists of the short-term care and closing of the wound, preventing infections, and nutritional support.
- Rehabilitation: The final phase of burn care is the long-term rehabilitation and healing of the wound. In addition to physical and vocational rehab, this may include psychosocial counseling and cosmetic reconstruction such as skin grafts.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
If someone has suffered a fire or burn injury, they may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for medical bills and other damages. For example, if a fire broke out in their apartment building because it wasn’t up to code or had faulty wiring, the landlord or building manager might be at fault.
Regardless of how the burn occurred, a lawyer can help determine if someone should file a burn injury lawsuit. If so, the attorney will help steer the client through the legal process, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting experts. A skilled personal injury lawyer will handle every aspect of the claim, taking it to trial if necessary. They will build the strongest possible case so the injured party can focus on getting better.
Importantly, most personal injury attorneys are free to hire unless the client wins a settlement or jury verdict, at which point they accept a percentage of the money recovered.
Burn injuries and their complications can devastate a person’s health, career, and finances. As a result, there are many types of damages a person may be able to recover through a lawsuit:
- Medical bills (medicine, rehab, reconstructive surgeries, etc.)
- Pain and suffering (physical pain and/or emotional distress)
- Lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Other damages, if applicable
Full compensation for these damages can help a person get their life back on track. If you think you or a loved one might qualify for a burn injury lawsuit, please don’t hesitate to contact us.