Burn Injury Lawyers Examine the Facts on Burns
The American Burn Association estimates that 486,000 people seek medical treatment for burns annually. Most burns occur in the home, are caused by a flame or scalding, and have a high survival rate at 96.8%. They are the most painful types of injury and cause disfigurement in severe cases.
The Four Types of Burns
Burns are categorized by the layers of skin affected:
- First degree burns. These affect the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of the skin. First degree burns cause redness and swelling of the skin. They take up to a week to heal and usually do not require hospitalization.
- Second degree burns. Both the epidermis and dermis skin layers are affected. The dermis is the second layer of skin, which contains the sweat glands, hair follicles, and connective tissue. The skin appears swollen with blisters and may be colored red, yellow, or white. Recovery takes up to three weeks.
- Third degree burns. These burn all the way through the skin, affecting all skin layers and tissues. The skin appears leathery and colored white and brown. Recovery takes months and is usually incomplete.
- Fourth degree burns. These occur when a burn affects the body structures beneath the skin such as muscles, bone, and internal organs. The skin appears black and charred. The damaged areas require surgical removal.
Two Burn Accidents That Catch Their Victims off Guard
While there are numerous ways that accidental burns occur, two severe burn risks that few people think about yet have serious consequences are:
- Gas station accidents. Everyone who drives a car faces this risk each time they refuel at a self-serve pump. Static discharge on dry days can ignite the gas fumes near the gas pump handle and then cause a more extensive fire. This occurs when the person walks away from the pump handle while it’s fueling the car. The person typically builds up a static charge on her person while waiting inside the car (caused by movement against upholstery and the floor). Fumes can also ignite by lit cigarettes. Spilled gas, sometimes caused by leaking pump handles, can ignite when it contacts a heat source such as a cigarette stub or a hot motorcycle engine.
- Accidental contact with high voltage power lines. People at home or at construction sites face this risk every time they use an aluminum ladder outdoors. Failure to notice overhead power lines can have fatal consequences or cause severe electrical burns when the ladder itself or a long-handled tool contacts a nearby power line.
At Frekhtman & Associates, an experienced burn injury lawyer can advise you of your legal options on getting compensation for a burn injury suffered by you or a loved one. Contact us for a free consultation.