Burns and Fire Injuries

May 30, 2016

Burn injuries are some of the most serious and debilitating injuries that can occur. Not only are burn injuries painful, but they may result in some level of disfigurement. Burn injuries may include both internal and external damages. Burns can result from a number of different types of accidents. Burns are most commonly caused by fire, but they can also be caused by chemicals, fireworks, electricity, radiation, and scalding.

About Burn Injuries

Burn injuries range from mild to very severe. However, even just a short exposure to fire or caustic materials will cause a severe burn. Burns can be difficult to treat and may require long-term medical care. When the skin is seriously damaged, skin grafts are necessary. This care requires various treatments and numerous painful surgeries. Even with extensive treatment, full recovery may not occur. There will usually be scarring, and other damage that cannot be completely repaired.

Burn Classification

Burns are classified by their severity. The standard classifications range from first degree burns, the least harmful, to fourth degree burns, the most severe. All burns need to be medically diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible after they occur.

First Degree Burns

First degree burns are the least severe type of injures. First degree burns typically affect only the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. The skin will be red and the area will be painful. There could be slight swelling, but no visible blisters.

Second Degree Burns

Second degree burns are more serious. They reach down into the second layer of skin, called the dermis. The burn area will be red and painful, and there are likely to be blisters. Some blisters may occur immediately, while others could show up later.

Third Degree Burns

Third degree burns are very serious. They are also known as full-thickness burns because they reach down below the dermis into the tissues or fat underneath The area could be numb due to nerves being destroyed. The skin appears white or tan and is very tough in some instances.

Fourth Degree Burns

Fourth degree burns are the most severe type of burns. Burns of this type reach all the way down through the tissues to the muscles and bones. Because of severe nerve damage, there may be reduced feeling or pain in some areas. The skin itself could be blackened or even burned completely away.

Treatment of Burns

Immediate treatment is necessary for burns. Severe burns, such as third or fourth degree burns, are considered medical emergencies. The patient could lose consciousness and may go into shock. The exposed areas should be lightly protected until the person can reach medical services. Specific treatment depends on the classification of the burn.

Eye Injuries

The eyes are sensitive to smoke and particles, so they are easily damaged in a fire. Smoke itself is injurious, but it may also contain tiny specks of dirt and dust that can easily enter the eyes. These miniscule pieces of dirt need to be flushed out immediately or they could cause permanent injuries. Eye injuries can be serious and require fast medical attention.

Smoke Inhalation

Smoke inhalation occurs when you breathe in dense smoke particles. Smoke that is thick has little or no oxygen mixed with it. This makes breathing difficult or impossible. When you breathe in smoke it gets into the lungs, but the body cannot process it in the same way as oxygen. When the lungs fill up with smoke they are no longer able to function properly. Smoke inhalation can quickly cause death. When smoke inhalation is severe, death may occur. Many fire-related injuries are caused by smoke inhalation rather than burns.

Burn Injury Lawsuits

When a serious injury was caused by the negligence of another, the victim may be entitled to compensation for damages. First, the victim needs to be able to prove that the other person was both liable and negligent. The defendant must have a duty of safety. For example, in a work-related injury, the employer has a duty to keep employees safe. The defendant must have breached this duty, and the breach specifically caused the injury. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff in cases such as this.

Some types of accidents that could result in a burn injury and lawsuit include such things as chemical spills, welding injuries, electrical shorts, and gas explosions. Many of these types of accidents occur in the workplace. If so, the employer may be liable for any injuries caused by negligence. Regardless of where the accident happened, the victim should seek justice for the resulting injuries.

Personal Injuries

If the other person is both liable and negligent, then the victim must prove damages. Damages are the expenses that are necessary due to the injury. Some of the most common types of damages include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, future medical expenses, emotional trauma, and permanent disfigurement. The person who suffered the injuries, or his representative, must provide documentation of the medical treatment and any other proof.

What to Do After a Burn Injury

The first thing to do after suffering a burn injury is to seek medical care. Make sure that you maintain all of the diagnosis and treatment information from paramedics, doctors, and other medical professionals. Ensure that an accident report or police report document the accident. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Do not speak with the insurance company until you have talked to a lawyer.

Talk to a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney

When you or a loved one suffered serious burn injuries as the result of the negligence of someone else, you need legal help. Medical treatments and future care will be very expensive. These costs should be paid by the responsible party. Other damages should also be paid. A lawsuit is appropriate in many such cases. Your attorney will guide the legal process and gather evidence required to prove your case. Many personal injury cases result in a settlement. However, if the case needs to go to court, you should turn to your lawyers to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

Contact the Kershaw County, SC personal injury attorneys at Connell Law Firm to discuss your case today.