Injuries Causing Burns
Burn injuries are some of the most painful and costly types of harm suffered in car, truck or motorcycle accidents, workplace explosions, and defective product incidents. In the United States, there are 1.25 million burn injuries that require medical attention every year, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH). Burn injuries can range in severity from minor (first degree) to most serious (third degree). There are a variety of causes of burns, some of them terrible accidents and others the result of negligent or irresponsible behavior.
Burn injuries are commonly classified by degree according to the severity of damage incurred:
- First Degree Burn – The outer layer of skin is damaged; redness, swelling and pain may be present
- Second Degree Burn – First layer of skin (epidermis) is burned through, and second layer (dermis) is damaged; blisters, severe pain and swelling
- A superficial second-degree burn penetrates the entire epidermal layer of skin and extends down to the next skin layer, known as the dermis. Pressure on a second-degree burn tends to produce red blanches. The burn may appear moist and pinkish in color. A superficial second-degree burn also should heal spontaneously, often within two weeks.
- A full thickness second-degree burn differs from the superficial second degree burns, because the tissue destruction runs deeper into the dermis. This type of burn is common in an explosion. A burn of this nature will be dry and whitish in color. It will not produce red blanches with application of pressure. This type of burn may take three to four weeks to heal. There is a risk that a deep second-degree burn will leave thick or hypertrophic scars.
- Third Degree Burn – Damage extends into the full depth of the skin and reaches the underlying tissue; Underlying muscle tissue, tendon, fat and bones may be damaged or destroyed
Burns occur when tissue is damaged by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight or nuclear radiation. First and second degree burns can be extremely painful. Third degree burns usually are not painful, because the nerves that transmit pain sensation have been destroyed. In very severe cases of extensive burns, loss of fluids can lead to depletion of blood volume, shock and dangerously low blood pressure resulting in death if not treated quickly.
Many burn injuries could have been prevented with proper safety regulations, safety equipment or responsible behavior when operating vehicles and dangerous machinery or handling dangerous chemicals. When unsafe behavior led to a burn injury, the person or entity that engaged in the negligence should be held accountable. A burn injury lawyer can help victims receive proper compensation from parties whose irresponsible behavior caused them harm.
Burns can be terrible injuries harming not only the skin, but the muscles, blood vessels, nerves and bone. Severe burns affect much more than the skin. Additional consequences include:
- Scars and disfigurement
- Extensive emotional and psychological damage
- Infection – burns can damage the skin’s protective barrier
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – occurs in patients with severe burns and causes the lungs to fail, sometimes proving fatal
Common cases resulting in burns:
- Chemical spills
- Industrial fires
- Industrial accidents
- Car fires
- Electrical fires