By: Michael Rose
Burn injuries are among the most painful injuries that a person can suffer, and depending on the severity of the burn, recuperation and rehabilitation may take a long time. Burn victims not only suffer from physical scarring, but will likely suffer mental and emotional trauma, as well. The damages from burn injuries are often severe, and unfortunately, not everyone involved in a burn accident survives.
As stated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a burn is defined as damage to the body’s tissue that is caused by heat, chemicals, sunlight, electricity, or radiation. Burn injuries cause varying degrees of pain, swelling, blistering, scarring, peeling skin, fatal infections, and in serious cases, shock and death.
The National Institutes of Health states that approximately 4,500 burn fatalities occur every year in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that approximately 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention every year and approximately 10,000 people die from burn-related injuries.
Types of Burn Injuries
Thermal burns are the most common type of burn injuries. A thermal burn results from a flame, scald (from steam, hot liquid such as hot cooking pan, grease, or boiling water), hot objects, and flash burns (explosions).
Electrical burns occur when electrical currents pass through the body. There are different sources of electricity that cause electrical burns, such as wiring, electrical outlets, batteries, stun guns, and lightning. While electrical burns can cause severe external damage, most of the damage occurs internally beneath the victim’s skin.
These burns occur when a person comes into contact with certain chemicals. These chemicals include household chemicals, industrial chemicals (liquid, solid, or gas), acids, and strong bases, causing severe burns, irritation, or a burning sensation. If chemicals are swallowed they may affect internal organs. There are different places where chemical burns can occur such as at home, work, school, or as a result of an accident or assault.
Burn Injury Classifications
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), there are three different categories of burn injuries: superficial, partial thickness, and full thickness. These were previously categorized as first degree, second degree, and third degree. These three classifications depend on how deeply the tissue is affected by the injury.
Superficial (aka first degree burns): Burns to the first layer of skin (epidermis) that cause swelling, redness, and minor pains, such as sunburn. These types of burns usually heal on their own, and although very painful, they don’t generally cause permanent damage.
Partial Thickness (aka second degree burns): These burns cause damage to two layers — the outer layer and inner layer of the skin (epidermis to dermis). These burns cause pain, blisters, and redness, and while they often result in scarring, they normally do not require surgery.
Full Thickness (aka third degree burns): These burns are extremely serious and dangerous. They affect all layers of the skin and underlying tissue, and usually require surgical skin grafting and/or transplantation.
In the most severe cases, a person can suffer a fourth degree burn. These are burn injuries that spread into the muscle underneath the skin.
The law firm of Hach & Rose, LLP, recently secured a settlement of 1.5 million dollars for a worker who was injured by scalding water.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury from a burn, call for medical help immediately.
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are dedicated to helping burn injury victims fight for justice. If you or someone you love has suffered a burn injury because of the negligence of another person or entity, contact the experienced attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, today by calling (212) 779-0057.