Burn injuries often have devastating results. They can cause pain, disfigurement, and permanent disabilities. After suffering a severe burn, you may face years of treatments, surgeries, and therapies.
Almost any type of accident can result in a burn injury. When your injuries result from someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions, a burn injury lawyer from Neufeld Law Firm can help you pursue a legal claim against the people or business responsible.
What Are Burn Injuries?
Burns happen when skin cells experience physical damage. Although most people associate burns with heat, these injuries can take many forms.
Thermal burns occur when skin contacts hot solids, liquids, or gasses. Skin cells suffer damage when the substance transfers heat to them.
Combustion burns happen when your skin, hair, or clothing catches on fire. While thermal burns heat your skin cells, combustion cells char them.
Caustic chemicals like acids, bases, oxidizers, and solvents destroy skin cells at a molecular level. Each of these chemicals damages the molecules in different ways — from stealing electrons to breaking molecular bonds.
Electromagnetic radiation can damage skin cells by damaging the molecules in them. They can also damage cell parts, causing them to mutate and even become cancerous. The most common type of radiation burn is sunburn.
An electrical current can cause metal to become hot enough to burn. The current also causes water molecules in your skin and soft tissue to heat rapidly. Electricity can disrupt the nervous and cardiovascular systems, leading to heart attack, nerve damage, and brain injury.
Rating Burn Severity
Your skin has three layers. The outer layer is called the epidermis. It provides a water and microbe-resistant covering for your body. It keeps fluid in and contaminants out.
The next layer, the dermis, includes many of the skin’s functional structures. Blood vessels run through the dermis, delivering oxygen to the skin cells. It includes nerve endings that detect temperature, pressure, texture, and other touch sensations.
The innermost layer is called the hypodermis. This layer includes fat to insulate the body and connective tissue to hold the skin to the underlying muscles and tendons.
Doctors rate burns on the depth of the skin damage. Burns typically take three levels of severity.
First-degree burns affect the epidermis. They produce redness and pain. These burns rarely cause scarring and will typically heal in a few weeks.
Second-degree burns affect the entire epidermis and part of the dermis. Your skin will appear red, swollen, and blistered. You may experience pain, and your damaged skin may seep pus. Once they heal, these burns may produce scars.
Third-degree burns affect the entire epidermis and dermis. These burns are also called full-thickness burns. The skin will appear gray and charred. Since the destroyed dermis held the nerve endings, third-degree burns produce no pain.
These burns may require skin grafts with harvested or artificial skin. The skin protects the body from dehydration and infection. Even with grafts, you can develop these complications. Grafts also increase the risk of scars.
Another complication that can develop after a third-degree burn is called a contracture. This condition develops when scarring and tissue damage cause muscles and tendons to shorten and harden. This complication can deform the body. For example, a contracture in the hand can deform the hand into the shape of a fist or claw.
Risk Factors for Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can result from many types of accidents and incidents caused by someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions. Several scenarios may result in burn injuries.
Car and Motorcycle Accidents
Motor vehicles have many burn risks, such as hot metals and caustic chemicals. A car accident can tear the car apart, exposing your skin to these hazards.
Motorcycle accidents, in particular, can expose you to burns. Your legs are near the engine and can come into contact with the exhaust system or other hot surfaces. A collision can rupture fluid reservoirs and lines, spraying you with brake fluid or other dangerous liquids.
If you slide across the road after getting hit, you can experience a friction burn called road rash.
Trucks can carry hazardous chemicals, including gasoline and radioactive waste. When a truck hits your automobile, the accident could compromise the tanks and dump material that can burn you.
Workplace accidents can cause every type of burn injury. Toxic chemicals may splash you. Hot materials can touch your skin. Some workers might even get exposed to radioactive materials found in power plants, medical devices, and imaging machines.
Premises Liability Incidents
Burns can happen while you are on someone else’s premises like:
- Rental homes
- Amusement parks
These injuries can result from someone’s negligence in maintaining or repairing the premises. They can also happen when a property owner, manager, or tenant knows of a hazardous condition, like a faulty water heater, but fails to warn visitors.
Defective Product Incidents
Defective products can explode, catch fire, leak caustic chemicals, or deliver an electrical shock. These accidents can burn your skin.
Contact an Experienced Burn Injury Attorney Today
Burns can produce painful and disfiguring injuries that may never heal. If your burns resulted from someone else’s conduct, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your financial losses as well as the negative impact of the injuries on your quality of life.
Contact Neufeld Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss how you received your burn injuries and how we can help you pursue financial compensation for them.