What Are The Types and Degrees of Burn Injuries?

What Are The Types and Degrees of Burn Injuries?
Calendar icon June 28, 2024

One of the most painful, yet common types of injuries are burn injuries. Occurring on the body’s largest organ the remains largely unprotected, these injuries can range anywhere from mild to severe, or even fatal at times.

If you have suffered a burn injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. But what are the types and severities of burn injuries and how can a claim be filed for these injuries?

Types of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are categorized based on the cause of the burn. Each type of burn has distinct characteristics and requires specific medical attention.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns are the most common type of burn injuries and occur due to direct contact with heat sources such as flames, hot liquids, steam, or hot objects. These burns can range from minor to severe depending on the duration and intensity of exposure.

  • Examples: Fire, boiling water, hot cooking oil, and steam.
  • Symptoms: Redness, swelling, blistering, and pain.

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns result from exposure to corrosive substances such as acids, alkalis, detergents, or solvents. These burns can penetrate deeply into the skin and cause significant tissue damage.

  • Examples: Industrial chemicals, household cleaners, and battery acid.
  • Symptoms: Redness, irritation, blistering, and potential tissue necrosis.

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns occur when an electric current passes through the body, causing both external and internal injuries. The severity of these burns depends on the voltage, current type, and duration of contact.

  • Examples: Contact with live electrical wires, lightning strikes, and electrical appliances.
  • Symptoms: Entry and exit wounds, muscle contractions, nerve damage, and potential cardiac arrhythmias.

Radiation Burns

Radiation burns are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays or ionizing radiation. These burns are common in individuals undergoing radiation therapy for cancer or those exposed to excessive sunlight.

  • Examples: Sunburn, radiation therapy, and exposure to radioactive materials.
  • Symptoms: Redness, peeling, blistering, and long-term skin damage.

Degrees of Burns

Burn injuries are also classified based on the depth and severity of the damage to the skin and underlying tissues. The degrees of burns are as follows:

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns are the mildest form of burn injuries, affecting only the outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis.

  • Symptoms: Redness, minor inflammation, pain, and dryness without blisters.
  • Treatment: First-degree burns can often be treated at home with cool water, aloe vera, and over-the-counter pain relievers. They typically heal within a week without scarring.
  • Examples: Mild sunburn, brief contact with a hot object.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns, also known as partial-thickness burns, affect both the outer layer (epidermis) and the underlying layer (dermis) of the skin.

  • Symptoms: Redness, swelling, blistering, severe pain, and potential for scarring.
  • Treatment: Treatment may include running cool water over the burn, applying antibiotic ointments, and covering the area with sterile, non-stick bandages. In severe cases, medical attention is necessary to prevent infection and promote healing.
  • Examples: Severe sunburn, scalding from hot liquids, and contact with flames.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns, also known as full-thickness burns, extend through the dermis and affect deeper tissues, potentially damaging nerves, muscles, and bones.

  • Symptoms: White or charred skin, numbness due to nerve damage, and significant scarring.
  • Treatment: Immediate medical attention is required. Treatment may involve intravenous fluids, antibiotics, pain management, and potentially surgical interventions such as skin grafts.
  • Examples: Prolonged exposure to flames, electrical burns, and contact with hot objects or substances.

Fourth-Degree Burns

Fourth-degree burns are the most severe type of burn injuries, extending beyond the skin and subcutaneous tissue, affecting muscles, tendons, and bones.

  • Symptoms: Blackened, charred skin, and possibly exposed bones or muscles. Often painless due to nerve destruction.
  • Treatment: These burns require emergency medical care, often involving extensive surgical procedures, including debridement, skin grafts, and reconstructive surgery.
  • Examples: Severe electrical burns, prolonged contact with flames or hot surfaces.

Causes of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can arise from a variety of incidents, each potentially leading to a legal claim:

  • Workplace Accidents: Industrial environments, construction sites, and culinary settings present significant burn hazards. Employers are legally obligated to ensure safe working conditions as mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
  • Car Accidents: Car crashes can result in fires or explosions, leading to severe burn injuries. Additionally, faulty vehicle designs or manufacturer defects can contribute to these injuries.
  • Defective Products: Consumer products, such as malfunctioning electronics, kitchen appliances, or heating devices, can cause burns. Manufacturers and retailers may be held liable for damages resulting from such defects.
  • Premises Liability: Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe environments for tenants and visitors. Negligence in upholding safety measures can lead to burn injuries, making property owners liable for any resulting harm.
  • Medical Malpractice: Burn injuries can also occur in medical settings due to negligence during surgeries, radiation therapies, or the improper use of medical equipment. Medical professionals and facilities may be held accountable for such incidents.

Filing A Claim For A Burn Injury

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your incident and the severity of your burn injuries, you may be able to seek compensation through filing a claim. The types of claims that you may be eligible to file could include:

  • Workers’ Compensation: If the injury occurred at work, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation, which can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. In some cases, third-party personal injury lawsuits can also be filed if another party’s negligence contributed to the injury.
  • Personal Injury Claims: You can file a personal injury lawsuit against negligent parties to recover damages. This can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and punitive damages in cases of extreme neglect.
  • Product Liability Claims: If a defective product caused your burn injury, you could pursue a claim against the manufacturers, distributors, or retailers responsible for the defect.
  • Premises Liability Claims: If your injury occurred on someone else’s property due to unsafe conditions, you might be able to file a premises liability claim against the property owner for failing to maintain a safe environment.
  • Medical Malpractice Claims: If negligence in a medical setting resulted in your burn injury, you could file a medical malpractice claim to hold healthcare providers accountable for their actions.

Of course, it’s always wise to consult with an experienced attorney if you feel as though you have a valid burn injury claim.

How A Burn Injury Attorney Can Help Maximize Your Claim

Navigating the aftermath of a burn injury alone can be a daunting task, especially if there are multiple entities that may have caused your injuries. To ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve, it’s always recommended to speak to an attorney who has experience litigating burn cases before accepting an offer from the insurance company. 

Here’s how an injury attorney can help to maximize your efforts when filing a claim:

  • Thorough Case Evaluation: On your initial consultation with your attorney, they may ask for specifics about your injuries. They will investigate the claim, any medical records, and so on to determine if you have a valid claim
  • Gathering and Preparing Evidence: Your attorney and their legal team will work to ensure that all available evidence is collected to help strengthen your claim. Police reports, medical records, photos and videos are all valuable pieces of evidence when building a case. Your attorney may also enlist the aid of expert witnesses or accident reconstructionists to solidify your claims. 
  • Navigating Complex Legal Procedures: If multiple parties, government or corporate entities are involved, there are likely complex legal procedures that need to be followed. Your attorney will assure that all deadlines are adhered to to ensure your claim can proceed. 
  • Negotiating With Insurance: Insurance companies will often try to take advantage of injury victims by offering them a lowball settlement in hopes to close the case as soon as possible. However, your attorney will be able to better assess the value of your claim and work to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company on your behalf.
  • Representation in Court: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may suggest taking your claim to trial. It’s wise to ensure that any attorney you plan on retaining has courtroom experience in case your case does make it to the trial phase. 

Contact Cellino Law

If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to the personal injury attorneys with over $2 Billion in settlements for their clients. At Cellino Law, our team of experienced and compassionate attorneys have decades of combined experience working with burn injury victims to get them the compensation they deserve. For a free and confidential consultation with a member of our legal team, contact Cellino Law at 888-888-8888. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.

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