A burn injury happens when fire, chemicals, and other hazardous materials come in contact with the skin. The victim could suffer damage to multiple layers of skin as well as the underlying muscle, fat, and bones. A severe burn could open the door to dangerous bacterial infections that could prove fatal.
Burn injuries are common in the United States, with hospitals treating hundreds of thousands of burn injuries every year. Medical treatment for a burn depends on the type and depth of the injury. With first and second-degree burns, doctors may encourage the body to heal itself and bandage any wounds.
More severe burns may require skin grafts and lengthy surgeries to repair the damage. Even then, burn injury victims may be left with permanent injuries that can affect their health and the course of their lives.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can happen for various reasons and in many different places.
- Exposure to flame and fire: This is the most common type of burn injury. A fire can start anywhere around flammable materials, such as gasoline. That can result in thermal burns and painful injuries for anyone trapped in the vicinity of the fire.
- Flash burns: These burns happen when someone is exposed to a sudden blast of heat. Flash burns occur in cases of propane or natural gas explosions. These powerful blasts can lead to dangerous burns, head injuries, and other life-threatening injuries.
- Scalding: Exposure to hot liquids or steam can cause scalding burns. Hot cooking grease or spilled coffee are common causes of scalding. Unfortunately, these injuries happen all the time and most of them are related to cooking.
- Electrical burns: When people encounter live wires or faulty electrical equipment, they can be exposed to large amounts of electricity in an instant. That can lead to significant burns, electrocution, spasms, and seizures.
- Chemical burns: Coming in contact with certain chemicals at home or work can result in life-threatening external and internal burns.
Classification of Burn Injuries
Medical professionals classify burn injuries based on their depth. Burn injuries that affect only the outer layers of skin are usually regarded as first-degree burns. In contrast, burns that penetrate deep into the body may be classified as high as sixth-degree burns. Categories of burn injuries include:
- First-degree: These burns often only affect the top layers of skin. They can result in minor pain and involve limited redness. People who suffer first-degree burns usually heal quickly without a doctor’s help. Most sunburns are first-degree burns.
- Second-degree: Burns that penetrate deeper into the skin are known as second-degree burns. These types of burns generally involve pain, redness, and may result in blistering. Typically, the skin can heal on its own given time, but infection is a possibility.
- Third-degree: A third-degree burn penetrates all layers of the skin. These severe burn injuries may destroy nerve endings and the skin itself, meaning that victims may not feel pain. But these dangerous injuries can’t heal on their own. Skin grafting and intensive treatment are necessary to prevent infections, improve mobility, and increase a victim’s quality of life.
- Fourth-degree burns and higher: Doctors classify burn injuries that char the skin, fat, muscle, and bone as fourth-degree burns or higher. These catastrophic injuries leave the skin and underlying tissues destroyed. They may require surgery and may result in permanent damage to the skin and tissue underneath. In some cases, surgeons may even need to amputate affected limbs.
Burn Injury Compensation
After a serious burn injury, you’ll likely be out of work and wondering how to pay the bills. Talk to a burn injury attorney right away. Successful burn injury claims help victims seek compensation for their financial losses and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Most burn injury settlements result in payouts from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Compensation can include money for:
- Medical expenses: Burn injuries might require extensive surgeries and long hospital stays in specialized burn centers. This can add up to mountains of medical bills.
- Lost wages: If you can’t work because of your burn injury, you could be entitled to compensation for your lost income.
- Reduced earning potential: Severe burns can prevent people from returning to work or continuing in the same career they did before the accident. When a burn injury hurts your ability to work in the future, Louisiana law allows victims to demand compensation for their lost earning capacity.
- Disability: Burn injuries, particularly those that lead to scarring, disfigurement, or deep tissue injuries, may result in temporary or permanent disabilities. You can seek compensation for any disability you suffer as part of a burn injury claim.
- Pain and suffering: Burn injuries can be physical and emotionally devastating and can cause problems that last a lifetime. Compensation can help injured people find the resources they need to rebuild their lives after a burn injury.
- Lost enjoyment of life: Burns have the potential to prevent people from participating in activities and hobbies they once enjoyed. You can be awarded compensation if this happens to you.
- Scarring and disfigurement: In Louisiana, any injury that results in changes to your appearance or causes deformity is considered disfigurement. Third and fourth-degree burns certainly fall within that definition.
There’s no reason for you to suffer financially after such a traumatic accident. An experienced Louisiana burn injury attorney from Tomeny|Best Injury Lawyers can tell you how much compensation you may be entitled to and push for the results you deserve.
How Can I Maximize My Burn Injury Settlement in Louisiana?
There are several steps you can take to protect your burn injury claim right now:
- Speak with a burn injury attorney in Baton Rouge: A burn injury lawyer knows the law and the unique medical issues that burn victims face. A knowledgeable attorney also knows how to stand up to insurance companies so that you receive a fair settlement offer. And because the burn injury attorneys at Tomeny|Best Injury Lawyers always provide initial legal advice in a free case review, you’ll know what to expect every step of the way.
- Follow all medical instructions: Burn injuries often have lifelong consequences, so it’s vital to attend any appointments and follow all your doctor’s orders.
- Keep all medical records: Following a burn injury, you may need surgeries, long-term hospitalization, and extensive rehabilitation. Keep detailed records of the medical care and bills you paid during treatment.
- Retain your pay stubs and any communications with your employer: If you need to miss work because of your injuries, pay stubs, W-2s, and other communications with your employer could help demonstrate your losses.
- Don’t post about the accident or your injuries on social media: These days, people share much of their lives on the Internet. But keep in mind that insurance adjusters investigating your claim could take your comments out of context and use them against you. Keep any discussions about the accident or how you were hurt between you and your burn injury lawyer.