Burn injuries range from mild to severe and are categorized into three levels based on the amount of damage to the skin.
First Degree Burns
A first degree burn is the mildest burn because it does the least amount of damage to the skin. A first degree burn causes minimal damage to the outermost layer of skin; therefore, this type of burn is often referred to as a superficial burn. A first degree burn will cause minor swelling, redness, and mild pain. As the burn begins to heal, the skin will become dry and begin to peel. Most first degree burns heal in a few days or a couple of weeks with minimal treatment with an antibiotic ointment and ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. People who have a first degree burn on a sensitive area such as the face or a large area of the body is burned should seek medical attention. If the burn does not begin to heal in a few days, medical intervention is probably required.
Second Degree Burns
A second degree burn damages the layers of skin below the outermost layer. Signs of a second degree burn including blisters and extremely red, sore skin. In some cases, the blisters will open causing the burn to appear to be "wet." Because of the blisters and damage to the inner layers of skin, second degree burns take longer to heal. Severe second degree burns may require skin grafting to repair the damage (using healthy skin from other areas of the body to replace the burned skin). It is always prudent to seek medical attention for a second degree burn because of the risk of infection and scarring associated with some second degree burns.
Third Degree Burn
A third degree burn is the most serious type of burn because it causes damage to all of the layers of skin. A third degree burn can also cause damage to internal organs. If the damage is severe enough, a third degree burn can result in death. The misleading thing about third degree burns is that the victim may not feel as much pain with a third degree burn as a first or second degree burn because the third degree burn damages the nerves. A third degree burn is extremely serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms of a third degree burn, call 911 immediately. Never try to treat a third degree burn at home.
- Lack of pain
- Waxy or white skin
- Charred or dark brown skin
- Raised and leather skin
Complications From Burn Injuries
Serious complications can result from burn injuries including infections, shock, sepsis (an infection in the blood stream), blood loss, tetanus, scars, and hypothermia. If the burn is severe enough, the victim can die. Immediate medical attention can reduce the risk of permanent injury and complications from a burn injury. However, medical care for burn injuries can quickly reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If an √ caused the burn injury, the victim may be entitled to receive compensation for the injury through a personal injury claim. Money will not undo the physical damage or erase the pain; however, a monetary award will help provide for the medical care needed to recover from a burn injury. It will also compensate the victim for other damages including lost wages, permanent disability, scarring, disfigurement, loss of earning capacity, mental anguish, and emotional suffering.
If you have suffered a burn injury in an accident, contact the burn injury lawyers of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLP for a free consultation. We will fight for your right to a fair and just settlement for your injuries.