What is a burn injury? It is a type of tissue injury caused by contact with heat, radiation, corrosive chemicals, electricity, or friction. You might be wondering, “Can I sue for a burn injury?” The answer is yes, you can file a personal injury lawsuit over a burn injury. To win, you will probably need to trace your burn injury case to someone else’s misconduct.
Classification of Burns By Depth of Injury
The medical profession classifies burn injuries by dividing them into four degrees, based on the depth of the burn injury (how far it penetrates into your body).
First-Degree Burn Injury
The first-degree burn is the least serious degree of burn injury. This type of burn injury affects only the outer layer of your skin. Symptoms include redness, pain, and swelling in the affected area. In most cases, only first aid is required. Almost everyone has suffered a first-degree burn at some point. They usually heal within about a week.
Second-Degree Burn Injury
A second-degree burn injury affects the top two layers of skin. Symptoms include blistering, swelling, severe pain, and extreme reddening of the skin. A second-degree burn definitely requires medical attention to prevent a potentially life-threatening infection from taking hold and to ease severe pain. Second-degree burns take weeks to heal, and they may leave permanent scars.
Third-Degree Burn Injury
As far as most people know, the third-degree burn is the most serious burn injury grade. A third-degree burn destroys the top two layers of skin. It often causes nerve damage, which generates numbness rather than pain. The skin appears dry and charred. You never fully recover from a third-degree burn, although you might make a significant recovery with skin graft operations.
Fourth-Degree Burn Injury
The fourth-degree burn is the most severe burn injury. In fact, many people do not even know of the existence of this category of burn injury. A fourth-degree burn destroys all the layers of skin, and it is almost always life-threatening.
A fourth-degree burn might also destroy muscle tissue, tendons, bones, and internal organs. Medical attention is an absolute necessity unless the victim dies before medical attention reaches them.
Classification of Burn Injuries by Cause
There are several different frequent causes of burn injuries, as described below.
Chemical Burn Injury
A chemical burn injury occurs when a corrosive chemical comes into contact with the skin. An acid burn injury is a typical example of a chemical burn. Solvents and detergents can also cause chemical burns, as can chemical explosions. Chemical burns are a common workplace injury.
Electrical Burn Injury
Electrical burns are also among the most common workplace injuries. You are at risk for an electrical burn any time your body comes into contact with an electrical current of sufficient strength. A high-voltage burn injury can be life-threatening and can even cause instant death.
Scald Burn Injury
Strictly speaking, a scald burn injury is a type of thermal burn injury. You suffer a scaled burn when your skin comes into contact with hot liquid or steam.
Thermal Burn Injury
The thermal burn injury is the most common type of burn injury. But what is a thermal burn injury? It is an injury caused by skin contact with hot steam, hot liquid, any hot surface, or fire. People associate fire and burn injuries for good reason–fire is one of the most common types of burn injury.
Radiation Burn Injury
Radiation burns include burns caused by:
- Sunlight (probably the single most common cause of burn injuries);
- Radio waves;
- Microwaves (which is why people use them to cook food);
- Medical devices; and
- Nuclear radiation.
Some types of radiation can cause cancer as well as burn injuries.
Friction Burn Injury
A friction burn injury occurs when your skin scrapes against a hard object such as asphalt, rubbing off some of your skin. Motorcyclists speak of “road rash”, which is a friction burn caused by a motorcycle accident.
Injuries and Complications After a Burn
Complications of a burn injury are frequently more dangerous than the burn injury itself. That is why complications can turn an ordinary burn injury lawsuit into a wrongful death lawsuit. Common burn injury complications include:
- Infections (the most common cause of death from a burn injury);
- Extreme pain;
- Skin breakdown;
- Organ damage; and
- Psychological trauma, including suicidal impulses.
Many other complications and side effects can occur as well.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Where do most burn injuries occur? Following is a list of some of the most common locations:
- On the highway. Auto accidents and motorcycle accidents frequently cause burn injuries, among many other types of injuries.
- At work. A burn injury at work can generate a workers’ compensation claim or a product liability claim, among others.
- Kitchens, both at home and in restaurants. Hot liquids and corrosive chemicals cause a high percentage of kitchen-based burn injuries.
- The vicinity of power lines and electrical equipment, particularly for workers who deal with high-voltage equipment.
Ultimately, a burn injury can occur almost anywhere.
Burn Injury Compensation
You might wonder about the average compensation for a burn injury, but this statistic is virtually meaningless. Since burn injuries vary widely in severity, burn injury claims cover a very wide range of compensation demands. Furthermore, burn injury settlement amounts often depend on external factors, such as insurance coverage limits and the skill of your attorney.
Burn injury settlements and verdicts do tend to be high, however, because of the various ways that a burn injury can impact the victim’s health, psychology, and earning potential. Some of the common components of a typical burn injury settlement include:
- Medical bills. Medical bills are often sky-high, and treatment needs (skin graft operations, etc.) might extend for years into the future.
- Lost earnings can be immense, especially for a young victim rendered occupationally disabled by a burn injury.
- Pain and suffering, which can be horrific for certain types of burn injuries. Unfortunately, if you suffer a burn injury at work, compensation might fall within the jurisdiction of the workers’ compensation system. This will probably render you ineligible for pain and suffering damages.
- A victim may suffer significant mental anguish because of disfigurement and scarring.
Never underestimate your future financial needs after a burn injury. Once you sign a settlement agreement, you won’t be able to come back for more money later. When you hire an experienced firm like Stracci Law, we can make sure that the compensation you receive addresses these concerns.
If you have suffered a burn injury caused by the misconduct of someone else, or by a defective product, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Likewise, you don’t have to console yourself with platitudes like “Life isn’t fair.” Maybe it isn’t, but we can help you make it fair, at least as far as financial compensation can remedy an injustice.
The Quality of Your Legal Representation Matters
Compensation for burn injury claims can be greatly impacted by the skill and experience of your lawyer. At Stracci Law Group, our burn injuries attorneys have negotiated a multitude of personal injury burn settlements for our clients. As experienced Northwest Indiana personal injury lawyers, we offer the following advantages.
- A fearsome reputation at trial, rendering opposing parties far more cooperative once they discover that you have hired Stracci Law to represent you.
- Decades of combined experience.
- A proven successful track record of victories in personal injury cases.
- Rich experience in the local legal system, since our attorneys have practiced in Indiana for their entire careers.
Call us at (219) 525-1000 or contact us online. We serve clients in Gary, Crown Point, Hammond, Merrillville, Valparaiso, and elsewhere in Northwest Indiana.