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Burn Injuries – What You Need to Know

burn injury attorney in Virginia

Burn injuries can be incredibly painful, lead to other medical conditions, and cause you to have permanent scarring and limitations. The American Burn Association (ABA) reports that as many as 1 million burn injuries happen in the U.S. annually, and about half of those require medical treatment. 

If your burn was caused by the carelessness or negligence of another party, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. But the truth is that there are many different causes and types of burn injuries, so it helps to understand the basics. 

Common Causes of Burn Injuries

There are countless ways for a person to get a burn injury. According to the ABA, the most common ones include:

  • Fire (43%)
  • Scalding liquid or steam (34%)
  • Contact with a hot object (9%)
  • Electricity (4%)
  • Chemicals (3%)
  • Other (7%)

Burn injuries can take place in the home, at work, at someone else’s business (a restaurant or hotel), or in a motor vehicle. 

How Burn Injuries Are Classified

Burn injuries are classified in several ways – by either the type of burn or the level (or degree) of the burn. The different types of burns are:

  • Thermal burns – These burns result from contact with severe heat of 115° F or more. 
  • Radiation burns – These burns are caused by exposure to UV light or nuclear radiation. 
  • Electrical burns – These burns occur when the body comes in contact with high voltage.
  • Chemical burns – These burns result from contact with caustic chemicals such as detergents, alkalis, and acids. 
  • Inhalation burns – These burns are caused by breathing in fumes from a fire or chemical leak or toxic gas. 

When you suffer a burn injury, it can range from minor to incredibly severe. The different levels of burn injuries are:

  • First-degree burns – With a first-degree burn, which is common with sunburns, your skin will be red, painful, and sensitive to the touch. Generally, only the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis, is affected. 
  • Second-degree burns – The epidermis and the second layer of skin (the dermis) are affected by a second-degree burn. You’ll have the same symptoms as a first-degree burn in addition to blistering. 
  • Third-degree burns – Third-degree burns impact the first, second, and third (hypodermis) layers of skin. The skin appears translucent or charred, and these burns result in the destruction of tissue as well as extensive scarring. 
  • Fourth-degree burns – A fourth-degree burn is the most serious type of burn injury. It reaches the muscle, ligaments, tendons, and even bones. Some of these burns result in death, and others require amputation of a limb. 

Potential Complications from a Burn Injury

First and second degree burns often heal with time and minimal medical treatment. If you have second-degree burns over a large part of your body, this will be very painful, and you’ll require medical attention. 

All third and fourth-degree burns require immediate medical attention because they can be life-threatening and lead to other complications. The Mayo Clinic reports that some of the complications related to severe burns injuries include:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Fluid loss
  • Low body temperature
  • Breathing issues
  • Bone and joint problems
  • Loss of sweat glands
  • Scarring
  • Contracture
  • PTSD and other psychological complications

Do You Have a Burn Injury Lawsuit?

If you’ve been the victim of a serious burn injury, you are probably paying a steep physical, emotional, and financial price. This is not a burden you should have to shoulder alone if another party was responsible for the accident that caused your injuries. 

The types of burn accidents that may be caused by another party’s carelessness or negligence vary widely. But some may include:

  • Burns from defective products
  • Fires from vehicle accidents
  • Apartment, hotel, or other business fires
  • Exposed power lines
  • Chemical spills

You may be eligible to collect damages for such things as medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, the insurance companies are not on your side, so we don’t recommend dealing with them until you speak with us first. 

Speak with a Qualified Virginia Burn Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has suffered a burn injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. You have just two years to take action in Virginia, but the evidence that can strengthen your case could disappear quickly. 

At Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, our personal injury attorneys have more than 100 years of combined legal experience working on behalf of accident victims and their families in the Charlottesville area. Contact our office today at 434.977.7977 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation. 

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