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.
Types of Burns
Most people are familiar with the “degree” scale for gauging burn injuries:
- First-degree burns only affect the outermost layer of skin. The affected area may appear red or slightly blistered, but unless the burn covers a large or sensitive area of the body, you can treat most first-degree burns with over-the-counter remedies like burn ointment.
- Second-degree burns affect the layer of skin below the outer layer. These usually appear blistered and the affected skin will thicken. Second-degree burns usually require medical attention, even if they only affect a small area.
- Third-degree burns are more severe and affect all layers of the skin and the tissues under the skin. The affected area will appear waxy or white and leathery, and victims may not feel much pain after the initial burn. This is due to the nerve endings in the skin being burnt away. Third-degree burns of all sizes are medical emergencies and require immediate emergency care.
- Fourth-degree burns are the most severe, affect the entirety of the skin, the tissues below, even extending to the tendons and bones below the subcutaneous tissues. Fourth degree burns are open wounds that can have catastrophic effects for victims if they are not immediately addressed by medical professionals.
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.
Know Your Rights and Options
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. 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.
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.