Burn injuries can devastate the body. The skin regulates the body’s temperature and moisture. After a severe burn, the body can easily get dehydrated.
The skin also forms a protective barrier from infection. Burns expose the body to invasion by bacteria and other pathogens.
A burn injury can even result in significant disfigurement. Burn scars may remain visible for the rest of your life.
Here are some of the important things that you should understand about burn injuries and the ways that they can affect an injury claim.
How Do Burn Injuries Happen?
Although burn injuries evoke images of a house or car fire, they can happen in many ways.
Each type of burn injury involves damage to the skin and underlying tissue, although some burns are more severe than others.
Some causes of burn injuries include:
Flames result from the combustion of fuel in the presence of oxygen. Flames produce hot gases and smoke. They can also spread as long as they have fuel and oxygen.
Your hair and skin can act as fuel for flames. These burns can produce charred skin and flesh that can contaminate your burn injuries. After these types of burn injuries occur, doctors need to debride dead skin and tissue to reduce the risk of infection.
Contact with hot objects and liquids is the most common cause of burn injuries. You probably get minor burns from hot liquids and objects on a near-daily basis. Hot coffee can burn your tongue, or a hot pan might burn your finger.
But contact with hot objects and liquids can also cause severe burns. The severity of these burns depends on the temperature and duration of time that the hot object or liquid contacts your skin.
These burn injuries require immediate action because your body will continue to burn as long as the hot object or liquid remains in contact with your flesh.
These burns do not produce charred flesh like flames will, but they can damage and destroy tissue.
Sources of radiation can damage the skin, producing radiation burns. Radiation consists of energetic particles that damage the cells of your body when they strike your skin. The most common form of radiation burn is sunburn.
Radiation burns kill skin cells. They can also damage living cells, increasing the risk of skin cancer.
Many caustic chemicals can burn skin. Acids, bases, solvents, and other chemicals can react with the atoms in your skin to damage skin cells.
Chemical burns require immediate first aid because the chemical reactions will continue as long as the chemicals remain on the skin. You must neutralize the chemicals or flush them off the skin to stop the burning.
Electrical burns result from the heat produced when an electrical current enters your body.
First responders often find electrical burns difficult to treat for a couple of reasons. First, they need to make sure the source of electricity is shut off before attempting to treat the victim. If electricity continues to flow, the first responders could be electrocuted.
Secondly, electrical burns can pose a great risk to an electrocution victim. Electricity can short-circuit the nervous system, leading to irregular breathing, muscle spasms, heart arrhythmia, and seizures. These initial problems could result in death.
What Types of Accidents Cause Burn Injuries?
Burn injuries can happen at work, in the home, or on the road. Some of the accidents that can result in burn injuries include:
Working around hot machinery, power tools, chemical cleaners, solvents, or electrical equipment can increase the risk of burns in workplace accidents. These injuries might be eligible for workers’ compensation claims.
Many of the fluids used in vehicles are flammable and caustic. Fluid leaks and flames after a car accident can cause burn injuries.
A defective product can break, igniting a fire or exposing hot surfaces. Defective products might also lack safety features to prevent overheating. Warning labels or instructions may fail to warn users of burn risks posed by the product. Any of these types of product defects can lead to burn injuries.
How Are Burns Categorized?
Doctors rate the severity of burns using a three-step scale:
First-degree burns only affect the outer layer of skin. The skin may become discolored and painful. The damaged skin may flake away but will usually heal without scars.
Second-degree burns damage the dermis below the outer layer of skin. With a second-degree burn, the skin will discolor, and you may experience severe pain. The skin may blister, as well. When the blisters burst, the open sores could develop an infection. Some second-degree burns will leave burn scars.
Third-degree burns reach the tissue below the skin. Fat, muscle, nerves, and blood vessels may sustain damage or die. In the case of flame-induced burns, the flesh may char. Since the nerves can die from third-degree burns, you may experience numbness instead of pain.
What Are the Effects of Burn Injuries?
Burn injuries can produce both short-term and long-term health problems. When the skin is compromised, your risk of infection increases. Your body can also get dehydrated because it cannot retain moisture or regulate its temperature.
Burns can result in severe pain. The nerve endings in the skin may become damaged and produce pain signals throughout the burned area. But third-degree burns may also result in numbness and a loss of sensation in the burned area due to nerve damage.
Burn injuries can leave scars that never heal. Burn scars result from an overgrowth of scar tissue over the burned area. Although skin grafts can help burns heal and prevent infection, the process often leaves permanent scars.
What Compensation Can I Recover For Burn Injuries?
Burn injuries sustained due to a person or business’s negligent or intentional actions can lead to large compensation claims. Compensation after an injury covers medical expenses and lost income. Severe burn injuries often require extensive medical treatment and recovery time.
Burns can also support a claim for pain and suffering damages. Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the permanent scarring, disfigurement, and pain you experience after a serious burn injury.
If you were in a car accident, burn injuries may justify opting out of Florida’s no-fault insurance system to sue the at-fault driver.
Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer For Help
Our Clearwater personal injury lawyers are ready to discuss your case and explore potential avenues for compensation.