Severe burns can be extremely painful, and cause permanent scarring. In extreme cases, burn victims can also suffer the loss of facial features, fingers and toes. Due to the severity of these injuries, victims often need years of costly treatments.
Our burn injury attorneys have helped other burn victims get the compensation they need after a fire or other scarring accident. If you or family member has suffered severe burns or scarring due to someone else’s negligence, call The Barnes Firm now or contact us for a FREE consultation.
The Barnes Firm 1-(800) 800-0000
The Different Types of Burns
Burns are classified by how deep they penetrate the skin. There are three (3) types of burn injuries:
First-Degree Burns – This affects the outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis. Although minor, these burns can be painful, and they’re often accompanied by redness and swelling which usually resolves within a week. A sunburn is an example of a 1st degree burn.
Second-Degree Burns – This occurs when the burn affects the second layer of skin, called the dermis. Second-degree burns are often accompanied by blisters, and the skin may appear to be a ‘deep red.’
Third-Degree Burns – The most serious kind of burn, this affects the first two layers of skin and the third layer, called the subcutaneous. Skin that has suffered a third-degree burn may appear white or black in color, and leathery on the surface. These burns are so severe that nerve endings in the skin can be destroyed within seconds. These burns can also cause breathing problems and increase a victim’s heart rate..
Heat & Smoke Inhalation Injuries
There can be more than 100 toxic substances detected in smoke. When these toxins are inhaled, a person can become seriously injured or ill. There are three types of injuries associated with heat and smoke inhalation:
Heat Inhalation – A victim directly breathes in a hot air, which can cause severe damage to the lungs. This type of inhalation can also burn airways such as the nostrils, mouth and trachea.
Systemic Toxins – These can affect the body’s ability to intake oxygen. Carbon monoxide is the most common example of a systemic toxin. When a person breathes in too many toxins, they can become disoriented or unconscious. Breathing-in these fumes can also cause brain damage, and can even result in death.
Smoke Inhalation – This is the top cause of death related to fires and smoke. Firefighters estimate 75% of all fatal fires are the result of smoke inhalation injuries, not burns.
Warning signs can occur immediately, or it could take days for these symptoms to manifest, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nasal hairs, eyebrows, eyelashes have been singed
- Soot around the mouth or nose
- Burns around the face or neck
Fires and inhalation injuries can occur anywhere, anytime… but almost all domestic fires and gas-related deaths are preventable with proper use of smoke and CO detectors. Our attorneys have assembled some important fire statistics:
- It’s estimate that roughly 10% of all fatal fires were started by a child
- 70% of all fire fatalities were the result of smoke inhalation
- 30% were the result of burns
- Smoke alarms and sprinkler systems can reduce domestic fire-related deaths by nearly 90%
What Causes Different Burns?
Not all burns are caused by fire (thermal burns). In fact, it’s not even the leading cause of burns:
Chemical Burns – These happen when the skin comes in contact with strong acids or alkaloids. It’s extremely important to wash any chemical off the skin as soon as possible, and remove any clothing or jewelry that may have had contact with a burning agent. Some of these dangerous chemicals can even be found in your home, like bleach, paint thinner and plumbing products.
Electrical Burns – These burns happen when a current passes through a person’s body. If strong enough, the electricity can burn the skin and even cause internal damage.
Scald Burns – These are the most common cause of burns, and happen when hot water burns the skin. These burns send thousands of children to hospitals every year. Remember, hot water can quickly cause serious and painful burns if it’s not handled properly.
Thermal burns – These are the burns caused by direct contact with flames, hot objects or steam. Most thermal burns happen at home, but they’re also common among construction workers and other careers that have frequent contact with tar or asphalt.
Scarring After a Burn Injury
After a burn, scarring can form. These can range in severity, but it’s not the only injury a victim endures. Burns can also cause the following injuries:
- Physical and emotional trauma
- Body chemistry damage
- Organ damage
- Sensitivity to temperature change
Some burns can also impact a person’s respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems.
Types of Scars
Keloid Scar – These are associated with an overgrowth of scar tissue. Typically red or pink in color, these become dark tan over time. Keloid scars are thicker and ridged in appearance. They can also be irritating and itchy as they grow. Larger keloids have been known to limit a person’s mobility as well.
Hypertrophic Scar – These appear red, thick and raised, but they don’t develop beyond the site of injury or incision. This type of scarring will usually improve over time.
Contractures – This is a permanent tightening of the skin, it can limit the mobility of nearby muscles and tendons. Contractures usually appear after normal elastic connective tissue is replaced with tough fibrous tissue. Since they’re two different types of tissue, it can prevent normal movement.