Are All Burn Injuries The Same?

Personal Injury Blog

Burn injuries are among the most costly injuries anyone can suffer–both financially and physically. Studies show that burns have the highest hospitalization lengths, incurring hundreds of thousands in medical costs over the first few days. After discharge, injury survivors are facing a whole new future—a far more uncertain one, if they don't receive the help they need.

As injury lawyers, some of our clients faced lost wages, lost jobs, the end of their career, a lifetime of medical care—all due to a severe burn injury. Our goal was to make sure they had everything they possibly needed to keep their family and their future secure.

Burn injuries are categorized into three levels, depending on the depth of damage to the skin. They are the following:

First-Degree Burns

A first-degree burn is the mildest burn because it does the least amount of damage to the skin. This type of burn is often referred to as a superficial burn. First-degree burns cause minor swelling, redness, and mild pain. As the burn heals, the skin will become dry and peel away.

Most first-degree burns heal within a few days or a couple of weeks with minimal treatment. You may receive an antibiotic ointment and ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. People who have a first-degree burn on a sensitive area like the face or a large area of the body should seek medical attention. If the burn does not begin to heal within a few days, medical intervention may be 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 deeply red, sore skin. In some cases, the blisters will open and make the burn appear "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 Burns

A third-degree burn, sometimes called a "full thickness" or "deep partial thickness" burn, causes damage to all layers of skin. A third-degree burn can also cause damage to internal organs. If the damage is severe enough, such a severe burn can result in death. The counter-intuitive truth about third-degree burns is that victims may not feel as much pain with a third-degree burn as a first or second-degree burn because the third-degree burn causes nerve damage. A third-degree burn is extremely serious. Never try to treat a third-degree burn at home.

If you experience any of the following symptoms of a third-degree burn, call 911 immediately.

  • 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 bloodstream), blood loss, tetanus, scars, and hypothermia. 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 injury 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 at Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC for a free consultation. We will fight for your right to a fair and just settlement for your injuries.

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