Common Causes of Burn InjuriesThe reality is that the vast majority of burn injuries are preventable. Many burns are the result of careless, reckless or malicious actions. Some common causes include the following:
- Chemical spills
- Fires and explosions
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Contact with steam
- Defective products
- Electrical malfunctions
- Hazardous premises
Types of Burn InjuriesNot all burn injuries are the same. Everyone has burned their hand on a stove, oven or piping hot pan at some point, just by touching it for a split-second. Now imagine prolonged contact, the pain and damage it would cause—an entirely different type of injury. To differentiate between types of burns, medical professionals divide them by both classification and degree.
Burn ClassificationsNot all burn injuries are the result of fire; they are caused by contact with a number of heat sources. These are the four main types of burn injuries:
- Thermal burns. These can be caused by contact with flame, hot surfaces or hot liquids. Depending on the degree, these injuries may require skin grafting surgeries and can cause severe scarring, diminished skin elasticity, itching and pain.
- Electrical burns. In addition to pain and scarring, electrical burns can cause cardiac complications and nerve damage.
- Chemical burns. These burns occur as a result of contact with toxic and corrosive liquids or gasses. In addition to skin, they may also burn the lungs, eyes and mouth.
- Radiation burns. These burns are similar to a severe sunburn and can increase a person’s risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Burn DegreesMedical professionals assess burns on a degree scale from one to four. First-degree burns are the least severe and only require emergency medical care if they cover a large portion of the skin or are located on a sensitive area like the face or genitals. As the degree climbs, so does the severity of the burn. Second-degree burns penetrate the skin more deeply than first-degree burns and generally require emergency medical treatment. Third-degree burns completely destroy the skin and require immediate medical intervention. The most serious type, fourth-degree burns, are open wounds that expose underlying tissue, muscle and bone, leaving their victims extremely vulnerable to infection.
Long-Term Effects of Burn InjuriesUnlike some injuries, burns may continue to negatively impact their victims long after the skin has healed. Studies show that burns can cause a number of long-term effects, including the following:
- Continued loss of muscle mass and bone density
- Increased risk for developing diabetes
- Lifelong scarring
- Mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic, persistent pain
- Decreased mobility in joints affected by scarring
Additional Risks of Burn InjuriesResearch suggests that burn injury victims have an increased risk for developing numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and musculoskeletal problems, as well as serious infection. Burn victims also have a higher mortality rate than the general population, which experts theorize may be due to the way in which burns interact with the endocrine system and cause long-term immune suppression.
Who Is Liable for Burn Injuries?As you can see, burn injuries shouldn’t be taken lightly. In addition to immediate medical intervention, people who have suffered serious burn injuries may require years of treatment and therapy to regain their quality of life. The question is—who pays for all of this? Determining liability isn’t always easy, but it’s one of the first things that your burn injury lawyer will need to figure out. After pinpointing the at-fault party, your burn injury attorney will build a case that illustrates why they are ultimately responsible for your losses. The at-fault party isn’t always a person; sometimes it’s a company, a government entity or a group of people. In certain cases, there are multiple at-fault parties. If you’re unsure of who caused your burn injury, the best thing to do is speak with an experienced burn injury lawyer in the Denver area.
The Hermele Law Firm: Trusted Burn Injury Lawyers in DenverAll injury victims—perhaps especially burn injury victims—deserve to be given the resources they need to recover. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen without help from a lawyer. If Stella Liebeck hadn’t partnered with an attorney to sue McDonald’s, it’s likely that she would have been saddled with medical debt and other injury-related losses. Luckily, she found help. If you or a loved one suffered serious burn injuries in an accident caused by someone else, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re alone. The compassionate, professional burn injury lawyers at The Hermele Law Firm are ready to help fight for the compensation you need and deserve. Reach out to us online or give us a call at (720) 740-0889 to get started.
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