Burn Injuries in Personal Injury Cases

There are a multitude of different injuries that occur in personal injury cases, some being much more common than others.

For example, many of those who have been injured in an automobile crash have endured cuts, bruising, lacerations, whiplash, sprains, and soft tissue injuries. People involved in more serious accidents may have suffered more severe injuries, such as concussions, broken bones, or dislocations. In this blog, we have discussed many other serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, neck and disc injuries, birth injuries, and a variety of injuries arising from medical malpractice.

But one type of injury that we don’t hear as much about, but that can be quite serious, is the burn injury. People suffer burns in motor vehicle accidents, as a result of certain defective products, or from the negligent actions of others. In this article, we will discuss the classification of burn injuries and how they occur.

Classification of Burn Injuries

Burns can be classified both by their cause and their severity. Burns are often caused by the following: 

  • Chemical burns: These are burns that occur when certain chemicals, such as acids, detergents, solvents, and alkalis touch the skin. 
  • Cold burns: A cold burn is commonly called frostbite. It can occur from being exposed to freezing temperatures or touching something very cold for too long a period of time.
  • Electrical burns: Electrical sources such as wall sockets or electrical appliance cords can contact the skin and cause burns.
  • Thermal burns: These are the types of burns people probably think of most. They are caused by external heat sources that cause the temperature of the skin to increase. These types of burns can be caused by fire, hot liquids, steam, and hot objects, such as metals, glass, and plastic.
  • Radiation burns: These burns are caused by exposure to various forms of radiation, including prolonged exposure to the sun or x-rays.

Burn severity, on the other hand, is classified as follows:

  • First degree burns: These are the least severe burns. Only the outer layer of skin is affected. These burns may be painful, but they do not result in blisters, and usually do not cause long term damage.
  • Second degree burns: These burns damage both the outer layer of skin and the next layer, called the “dermis.” Depending on the severity, second degree burns can cause blisters and scarring.
  • Third degree burns: These burns destroy two full layers of skin, causing damage to nerve endings. The skin can turn a variety of colors, including yellow, white, black, or brown.
  • Fourth degree burns: These are the most severe burn injuries. In addition to destroying skin, they destroy tendons, muscles, and bones. These burns can cause death.

The High Cost of Burn Injuries

Luckily, severe burn injuries in motor vehicle accidents are relatively infrequent. However, they do occur, and when they do, the treatment can be expensive. According to Paradigm, who reported on burns caused in a work environment, even moderate burns can cost more than $200,000 to treat when hospitalization is required and there are complications. Severe burns can cost more than $1,000,000 to treat.

Call with Questions

If you have suffered burn injuries due to the negligence or intentional act of another person, you likely have questions about your right to pursue a recovery for your losses. Whether the source of the burn is a car crash, semi-truck wreck, or other accident caused by negligence, the experienced attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield can answer your questions. Similarly, if you have been burned as a result of a defective product, we are also experienced products liability lawyers.

Please call us and schedule a free consultation. We are here to fight for the rights of our clients and to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. In our view, such accountability is the best way to make society safer for everyone.


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