According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.1 million people suffer a burn injury every year that is severe enough to require medical attention. These burns range from relatively minor burns that require minimal medical treatment, to more severe and life-threatening burns.
In 2016 alone, more than 40,000 burns were so severe that they required hospitalization. 75% of these injuries were so traumatic that they required admittance to a specialized burn center.
Severe burn injuries can cause a lifetime of pain and suffering, as well as horrific disfigurement. Burn injury victims may undergo years of plastic surgery and therapies in an attempt to heal from their injuries. Even with the most advanced treatments and skilled plastic surgeons on their medical team, some burn injury victims will never truly recover from their injuries.
When this occurs, burn injury victims need someone on their side who can aggressively fight for them and their future. An experienced Washington DC burn injury lawyer can be the legal advocate you need during this difficult time.
Understanding Burn Injuries
There are four main types of burns. Each type of burn injury is categorized by the severity of damage sustained by the skin and underlying tissues. Prompt medical evaluation of a burn injury is key to preventing long-term damage and disfigurement.
First-degree burns are typically superficial and only involve the top layer of skin. These burns may be red and painful. They may also swell slightly and be warm to touch. In general, first-degree burns heal on their own with minimal medical treatment. A sunburn is an example of a first-degree burn.
Second-degree burns are more severe than first degree burns. These types of burns involve damage to both the first layer of skin (the epidermis), as well as the second layer of skin (the dermis). The skin may be very red and painful, and blisters typically develop on the surface. These burns typically look shiny and wet. There is also the possibility of the loss of skin with a second-degree burn.
Some second-degree burns leave scars or cause a permanent change in skin color. Deep partial-thickness second-degree burns can cause contractures or scarring. In some more severe cases, second-degree burn victims will need to undergo skin grafting.
Third-degree burns are some of the most severe types of burns. These burns are also called full-thickness burns because they destroy the epidermis and the dermis fully. These burns aren’t red at all. Instead, they’re black, brown, white, or yellow in color due to the damage they’ve caused.
Unlike first-degree and second-degree burns, these burns don’t hurt because the nerve endings are also damaged. These burns will not heal on their own and surgeries, skin grafting, and even amputation of the affected area may be required.
These burns are the most severe and life-threatening of all burns. In a fourth-degree burn, all the layers of the skin, as well as the bones, muscles, and tendons beneath are completely destroyed. These burns are not painful at all and often appear black. Amputation is often needed due to their severity; in some cases, these burns can cause death.
Causes of Burn Injuries
There are numerous causes of burn injuries in the United States, including:
- Fire or flame (44%)
- Scald (33%)
- Hot objects (9%)
- Electricity (4%)
- Chemical (3%)
Fire and hot liquids are responsible for the vast majority of burn injuries. Of all the fatal house fires that occur in the United States, 25% are caused by smoking, and 22% are caused by heating devices.
Scald injuries most commonly occur to children under the age of five. In fact, in the United States, children are the victims in more than 66% of all scald accidents. Scalds will typically cause first or second-degree burns; however, third-degree burns are also possible, especially if there is prolonged contact with the hot liquid.
Contact Our Experienced Washington DC Burn Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has suffered a devastating burn injury after an accident, we can help. Our law firm has the experience and resources needed to tackle these complex cases. We offer compassionate and aggressive legal representation every step of the way, so you can focus on your recovery.
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our Washington DC burn injury attorneys work hard for our clients every step of the way. To learn more about your legal rights after an injury accident, contact our law firm by calling (202) 742-1500 or (888) 625-6635 or filling out our confidential contact form. We offer a free initial consultation for all injured victims and can help you choose the legal path that is best for you. Call today!