There are few injuries that cause more excruciating pain than a burn injury. To help illustrate how painful they can be, consider the fact that just the threat of being burned to death has prompted individuals to jump out of tall buildings, choosing to fall to their death as a more preferable fate.
The American Burn Association reports that nearly half a million individuals are treated for burn injuries in the United States each year. Of those, about 40,000 individuals require hospitalization, and roughly 3,000 individuals do not survive the injury.
What Causes Burn Injuries?
There are numerous incidents that can result in a burn injury, some of the most common causes include:
- Building fires
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Chemical accidents
- Scalding accidents
- Gas well explosions
- Pipeline explosions
- Electrical accidents
- Accidents involving defective products
These events can cause various types of burns, such as:
- Thermal burns: This is the most common type of burn injury, and it happens when an individual comes in contact with something hot; such as a flame or fire, hot steam, hot liquids, a heated stove top, or a heated cooking pan. Prolonged contact with something hot can produce severe burns that penetrate multiple layers of skin.
- Chemical burns: A chemical burn happens when the body comes in contact with a toxic chemical substance such as acid or bleach. These types of burns are most common in workplaces such as factories, construction sites, medical facilities, farms, and other places where workers are frequently in the vicinity of hazardous chemicals.
- Friction burns: This type of burn injury happens when two surfaces are rubbed together intensely for an extended period of time, which produces heat. Friction burns can happen when the surface of the skin rubs repeatedly against another hard surface, such as a carpet or rope.
- Electrical burns: These are burns that result from an electrical current running through the body. Also known as electrocution, electrical burns happen because the electrical current causes a major jolt or shock to our internal system.
- Radiation and laser burns: Radiation burns happen most often from overexposure to the sun, causing the skin to become sunburned. They can also happen because of overexposure in tanning beds or from radiation treatment for cancer. Laser burn injuries happen more frequently these days because of cosmetic treatments such as laser hair removal. Oftentimes, those performing the treatment are not properly trained and/or their equipment is not approved by the FDA.
Degrees of Burn Injury
Burn injuries are classified by degrees, based on the severity of the injury:
- First-degree burns: This is the mildest type of burn injury, affecting only the top layer of the skin, also known as the epidermis. A first-degree burn is usually just a somewhat painful nuisance that can be treated at home and typically goes away in about a week or so.
- Second-degree burns: Commonly referred to as a partial thickness burn, a second-degree burn is one that penetrates two layers of skin; the top layer (epidermis) and the next layer, known as the dermis. This type of burn injury is more serious than a first-degree burn and it often requires some type of medical treatment, such as a skin replacement or skin transplant.
- Third-degree burns: Also referred to as a full thickness burn, a third-degree burn penetrates into deeper tissues beyond the epidermis and dermis, frequently causing swelling, redness, numbness, and severe pain in the affected area. A third-degree burn will not heal on its own; immediate and intensive medical treatment is usually required, and there is typically a long recovery period before the burn is fully healed. In some cases, the damage from a serious burn injury is beyond repair.
The Psychological Aspects of a Burn Injury
All types of traumatic injuries can cause the victim to feel upset or anxious, and this is especially true with burn injuries. This is why burn teams usually include psychologists and psychiatrists who can help the victim deal with the emotional aspects of their injury; such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and problems sleeping.
Suffered a Burn Injury in Virginia? Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Schilling & Esposito
If you or someone close to you has suffered a moderate to severe burn injury and someone else was at fault, you deserve to be compensated. Compensatory damages for burn injuries may include reimbursement for medical costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, diminished quality of life, and disfigurement. To help ensure that your legal right to recover compensation is preserved, it is best to work with a skilled personal injury attorney.
At Schilling & Esposito, we understand the enormous physical, emotional, and financial pain burn injury victims and their families have to endure, and our goal is to make the legal process smooth and seamless. We work closely with our clients, taking the time to thoroughly investigate their case and explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering full and fair compensation. Call our office today at 804-261-1001, or send us a message through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.