Everyone will experience a burn in their lifetime, but the severity of that burn will vary greatly from person to person. Most will only suffer a minor burn, such as touching a hot pot or getting into the shower before checking the water temperature.
Other times, individuals may experience more catastrophic burns. These more serious burns cannot be treated at home and may require a lengthy hospital stay filled with never-ending surgeries and pain.
The Various Burn Degrees
Burns are measured in “degrees,” with the highest degree being the most severe. These degrees include:
- First Degree – Reddened skin, irritation, but no blisters.
- Second Degree – Blisters and thickened skin. The burn can be partial or full thickness covering the skin. Full thickness burns might need a graft to heal.
- Third Degree – Third degree is the most severe type of burn and creates a thickening of the skin and leaves it white in color.
Technically, physicians have a fourth-degree category. However, this is reserved for burns that pass through the skin and affect the bones and tendons; not just the skin. In these instances, the patient requires specialized treatment and will be hospitalized for an extended period.
What Causes Burn Injuries?
Burn injuries are prevalent in the United States. In fact, there were 486,000 burns treated in hospitals in 2011 according to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2011. Sadly, 73 percent of these burns occurred at home, while only 8 percent happened at work. The most common cause of burns was fires and flames – totaling 43 percent. Scalding was a close second at 34 percent.
Many different events can lead to burning. Aside from being categorized by degree, burns are also categorized by type, which includes thermal, chemical, electrical, and radiological.
- Thermal Burns – Thermal burns are those from direct heat sources, such as touching an open flame, explosions, hot liquids, and encountering other heated materials – such as heated coals.
- Chemical Burns – Chemical burns come from acidic or alkaline substances and will require proper hazardous material treatment plans to prevent the injury from continuing. Until the chemical is properly removed from the skin, the substance will continue to burn.
- Electrical Burns – Electrical burns come from electricity, and while the burn itself might look fine on the surface, these are very dangerous burns. Electrical burns have hidden damage under the surface, including organ damage.
- Radiological Burns – Radiological burns come from radiation and require decontamination in specialized facilities. Radiological burns are the rarest type of burn. Most people will never encounter this type of burn, either themselves or through a loved one.
When Burns are Caused by Negligence
When severe burns are caused by someone’s negligence, you can hold the party responsible financially accountable for your injuries.
These types of burn injuries can carry long-term recovery times, multiple medical appointments, and in some cases – you may be unable to return to work. Many victims suffer physical and emotional trauma, and some become permanently disabled.
You need compensation to cover these substantial losses, and the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. can help. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our attorneys today at 954-677-0155 or request more information online.