If another person or party caused a burn injury of any kind to you or a loved one, it’s important to know your options for legal recourse and contact the Philadelphia burn injury lawyers at Anapol Weiss. Burns are extremely painful, often leave long-lasting or permanent scars, and severe burns can negatively impact victims’ quality of life in the future. If someone else is responsible for your burn injury, it’s vital that you hold them accountable for their actions so you can obtain the compensation you need to recover and move on with your life.
Burns are some of the most painful injuries a person can endure, and unfortunately, they also carry a high risk for complex treatment plans and long-term effects like scarring and impaired mobility. It’s important for Philadelphia residents to know what a burn injury entails and what legal options they may have if another person or party causes a burn injury.
Contact Our Philadelphia Burn Injury Lawyers Today
At Anapol Weiss, we believe in dedicated, personalized legal representation for our clients in the Philadelphia area. If you’ve suffered a burn, take care of your medical concerns and then reach out to our firm for a consultation. We’ll discuss your burn injury and let you know if you have a case, and if so, what type of compensation you could collect.
Types of Burns
Most people are familiar with the “degree” scale for gauging burn injuries:
Burn injuries are often talked about regarding degrees. The extent of the burn refers to the severity of the injury. Proper treatment depends on accurately describing the severity of the burn.
There are six different degrees of burns. Most often we hear about first, second or third degree burns because it is tough to survive a fourth, fifth or sixth-degree burn.
- First Degree Burns: First degree burns usually result in redness to the top layers of the skin. The skin may feel warm and painful to the touch. There are many causes of first degree burns including hot water from the sink and sunburn. Most first degree burns can be treated at home. First, run the burned area under cold water. Then apply a soothing cream, such as aloe, to the burn and cover with a loose gauze bandage. Over the counter, painkillers might be useful to ease discomfort.
- Second Degree Burns: A burn that results in red, blistering skin is a second-degree burn. The deeper layers of the skin are affected with this degree of injury, and the victim is usually in significant pain. Second-degree burns can be caused by flames, chemicals, hot liquids and other catalysts. While some second-degree burns can be treated at home, the pain is usually significant enough to warrant a trip to the doctor or hospital. Also, victims of second-degree burns might be at risk of shock, so they need to be carefully monitored. The burn should be treated similarly to a first-degree burn. However it is important to prevent infection in the blisters, and therefore an antiseptic ointment is often advised.
- Third Degree Burns: Third-degree burns go all the way through the skin. The most common causes of this severe injury are electricity, chemicals, and fire. Skin that has been damaged by a third-degree burn may appear black or white. The nerve endings have been destroyed so the affected area might not hurt but the area adjacent to it will likely hurt. A burn of this severity may cause the victim to go into shock. Third-degree burns require medical treatment as quickly as possible and usually require hospitalization. The patient will need IV fluids, antibiotics, and likely prescription pain medication. The patient also may need help breathing. The burns will be cleaned, and antiseptic ointment will be applied and covered with loose bandages. The bandages should be changed regularly. Some patients are put into high oxygen rooms called hyperbaric chambers. The dead tissue in the burned area is removed surgically. Skin grafts may also be used to replace the burned skin with healthy skin. Third degree burns often result in scarring.
- Fourth Degree Burns: Fourth degree burns damage not only all of the skin in the burned area but also the underlying muscle, tendon, and ligament. Very often Fourth-degree burns are fatal. If a patient survives a fourth-degree burn, then skin grafting is essential.
- Fifth and Sixth Degree Burns: Fifth and sixth-degree burns are most often diagnosed during an autopsy. The damage goes all the way to the bone and everything between the skin, and the bone is destroyed. It is unlikely that a person would survive this type of injury but if a miracle occurred then amputation of the affected area would be necessary.
Any degree of burn is a serious injury. It is important to get medical treatment as soon as possible to have as complete a recovery as possible.
If you suffer a burn injury and there is any doubt about its severity, err on the side of caution and seek medical attention. Burns are open wounds, and even mild burns can leave permanent scarring if not suitably treated. Without proper care, some burns can become infected or heal improperly, resulting in a more drawn out medical issue.
In addition to the degree scale, burns are categorized by their origin. Most burn injuries fall into the following categories:
- Thermal burns – These are the most commonly seen and result from contact with hot substances or surfaces, such as scalding hot water, flames, or a stovetop.
- Electrical burns – High voltage electrical discharges can result in severe burns as well as several other medical issues, such as cardiac interference and nerve damage.
- Radiation burns – Exposure to UV or other radioactive rays can result in burn injuries as well. A common example of a radiation burn is sunburn, something most people experience at least once in their lives. Prolonged exposure to radiation (even sunlight) has been linked to skin cancer.
- Chemical burns – Corrosive or toxic chemicals can cause external or internal burns. For example, ingesting or inhaling corrosive fumes can cause burn injuries to the victim’s internal organs.
Common Causes of Burns Injuries
Burn injuries can be severe, life-threatening experiences. To prevent these tragic events and to hold those accountable for the injuries responsible, it is important to understand what causes burn injuries. Burns can be caused by many different things ranging from chemicals to the sun and from electricity to a fire. Burns are painful.
Building fires are what many of us think of when we think of burn injuries. The fires can start from a variety of sources ranging from smoking cigarettes to cooking accidents to faulty electrical work. The best way to prevent these types of accidents is to be mindful of what you are doing and to put out any fire as soon as you see the first flame. In addition to being aware of potential fire hazards, it is important to have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your home. It is also important to have a family fire plan where you make sure that everyone knows how to get to the nearest exit and safely go to a pre-designated meeting place. Many parents find fire drills to be useful safety exercises that prevent fire injuries.
Manufactured goods are sometimes faulty and create flames, heat or smoke which in turn produce burns. Almost any electrical product can result in an injury, but some common causes include space heaters, fire extinguishers, and tea kettles and even electronic cigarettes.
Workers in industrial plants and people living nearby should be aware of the possible burn injuries that could result from different accidents. Explosions, chemical spills, and machinery defects can all lead to severe burns.
Flammable liquids can also be particularly dangerous. Everyday things such as paints, cleaners, and adhesives can spontaneously combust if they are not kept in appropriate containers and at proper temperatures.
Gasoline and Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle fires are common, and according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) they kill several hundred and injure several thousand people each year. People can prevent life-threatening burns from motor vehicle fires by quickly exiting a burning vehicle. Also, it is important never to open the hood of a car if a fire is suspected. The air could make the fire more severe. Gasoline spills should also be handled with care since gasoline is extremely flammable and can easily lead to hot fires that cause significant burns. If you have been injured in a car accident, call the injury attorneys at Anapol Weiss.
Chemical burns can be severe. They usually occur when a chemical comes into contact with a person’s skin. The person’s skin suffers from a burn, and if the chemical is strong enough, the burn can go much further than the skin and burn the underlying bone, fat or muscle.
Chemical burns can also be a problem because they might not be readily apparent. A person might not know that his or her skin has come into contact with a dangerous chemical right away. However, the chemical starts doing damage immediately.
Clothing fires must be avoided because burn injuries are often severely painful, disfiguring, and can cause death. The very clothing that protects us from the elements and sheer modesty permit us to have a sense of style while conforming to societal norms also can go up in smoke and cause severe burns at the drop of a match. For example, if you leave a hot iron on a cotton shirt too long, the heat will scorch the shirt and may start a fire. More about flammable clothing lawsuits.
Hot liquid burns, such as those created by hot water, are a very common source of injury especially for children and senior citizens. Hot water can burn a child in as little as 3 seconds. Other hot liquids such as oil, soup, and tea can also cause significant burns.
The purpose of knowing what causes burn injuries is to prevent them. Burn injuries are painful and can lead to life-threatening infections. Therefore, precautions should be taken to prevent their occurrence.