Among children and babies, accidental burns are one of the most common injuries. Young children are curious about their surroundings and often adventurous. Their skin is more sensitive than an adult’s skin. Therefore, if a child is not taught to stay away from hot surfaces like the kitchen stove, their curiosity may hurt them.
Minor burns involving only some redness and no blistering may be treated at home. However, anything more severe should be given prompt medical attention.
Some Burn Injury Statistics
The Burn Survivor Resource Center collects statistics each year and compiles them for public education. They have found that each year, about 2.4 million burn injuries are reported, of which about 650,000 need medical care. About 75,000 of them are severe enough for hospitalization.
Fatalities from burns each year are between 8,000 and 12,000. Approximately one million more will have severe and perhaps permanent disabilities from their burn injuries.
The irresponsible conduct of another party can often lead to serious injuries, including burns. Our attorneys will diligently investigate the incident to determine the party or parties at fault for causing your injuries.
Personal injury claims can encompass a wide variety of cases. Depending on the nature of your burn injury case, potentially liable parties might include:
- A reckless driver who caused a car accident.
- The company responsible for designing, manufacturing, or selling a defective product.
- Property owners who fail to keep the premises safe, such as not installing or maintaining functional smoke detectors.
- Employers who expose workers to hazardous conditions.
Burn injuries often require a lengthy period of healing, and even after the initial recovery victims can suffer from ongoing pain, complications, and scarring. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be entitled to damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, to name a few examples.
Common Causes of Burns
- Scalds from steam, hot bath water, tipped over hot drinks, and cooking fluids.
- Contact with flames or hot objects such as the stove, fireplace, curling iron, and candles.
- Chemical burns from swallowing things like drain cleaner and batteries or from spilling chemicals onto the skin.
- Electrical burns from electrical cords and outlets.
Burn Injury Frequently Asked Questions
It depends on just how bad the burn injury was and where on the body the burn occurred. Our skin has three main layers, and when the lower two layers are damaged, recovery takes longer because these layers contain blood vessels, sweat glands, hair follicles, and nerves.
Any time the integrity of the skin is breached, as in a second or third degree burn (extending to the lower skin layers), scarring will happen. Each person forms scars in an individual way, so it’s hard to predict exactly how a person will scar, how extensively, and how quickly they will heal. In general, scarring takes up to a year to fully complete. If the scars are large and raised, surgery may be able to reduce their prominence, and this would extend the final recovery time further.
When a burn injury is severe, the person is first treated by the ambulance personnel, and then in a hospital emergency room. Even a very severe burn does not usually kill a person quickly. Any immediate death would more likely be from breathing difficulty or associated injuries. Therefore, your airway and lungs are checked immediately. If necessary, a tube will be inserted and oxygen given. Then the blood circulation is checked and any constrictive clothing removed.
At the same time, the burning process is stopped as much as possible by cooling burned areas with sterile saline solution or water. Charred clothing will be removed if it is not stuck to your skin. Then you are placed in dry, sterile sheets.
Follow-up care involves use of topical antibiotics, treatment and prevention of swelling in the breathing apparatus, chemistry testing, X-rays and/or CT scans to identify any related injuries or trauma, pain management, and maybe a tetanus shot.
Scarring is somewhat different for each individual. Different people heal at different rates and have individual ways of scarring. Ideally, the final scar will be skin-colored and flat. There are three types of undesirable scars:
- Contractures – which involve permanent tightening of the skin, affecting the muscles and tendons, and therefore mobility. It might also damage some of the nerves. Physical therapy and exercises can help to minimize them, and if necessary, surgery, a skin graft, or one of several new techniques.
- Hypertrophic scars – which are red, raised, and thick. They often improve given enough time and can be reduced by steroid injections or local application.
- Keloid scars – which grow to be larger than the injured area. They are usually red at first and become dark brown later. While they’re forming, they can be ridged and itchy. They can be irritated by clothing. There are some ways to reduce their size, using various injections, freezing, radiation, or surgery.
If you’ve suffered scars because of a burn injury call Jim Leach.
The experienced West Virginia burn injury attorneys at Jim Leach Attorneys at Law can assess your situation and inform you of your legal rights. We have served the residents of West Virginia for many years and are intimately familiar with the laws governing burn injury claims. We will thoroughly investigate the events of your accident to prove negligence so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Please contact our West Virginia burn injury lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation. We represent burn injury victims throughout West Virginia and Southern Ohio including the communities of Belpre, Parkersburg, Wheeling, Athens, Morgantown, Charleston, and Huntington.
Severity of Burns
Several factors are used to determine the severity of a burn, including the patient’s age, size, depth of burn, and the location of the burn. Burns are classified as first degree, second degree, or third degree.
- First degree burns are red and very sensitive to touch. The skin will appear blanched when light pressure is applied. These burns involve minimal tissue damage and only involve the epidermis (top layer of skin). These burns may cause pain, redness and swelling. A sunburn is a good example of a first degree burn.
- Second degree burns affect the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and the underlying layer of skin (dermis), causing redness, pain, swelling and blisters. Second degree burns also affect sweat glands and hair follicles. If a second degree burn is not treated properly, swelling and decreased blood flow in the tissue can result in the burn becoming worse.
- Third degree burns affect the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis, causing charring of the skin or a translucent white color with coagulated vessels visible just below the surface of the skin. These burns may be numb, but the burn victim may complain of pain due to other second degree burns. Healing from third degree burns is a very slow process due to the skin tissue and structures being destroyed, and third degree burns usually result in extensive scarring.
The treatment for second and third degree burns is the same:
- Stop the burning by covering the flames with a blanket. If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop, and roll on the ground to smother the flames.
- Check for other injuries.
- Remove jewelry or clothing at the burn region. If clothing is stuck to the burn, do not remove it. Cut around the stuck fabric to remove all loose fabric.
- Make sure the victim is breathing and if breathing has stopped, begin CPR.
- If the victim is breathing, cover the burn with a cool moist sterile bandage or cloth. Do not use a blanket or towel; a bed sheet is best for large burns.
- Do not apply ointment and avoid breaking blisters.
- Separate burnt toes and fingers with dry sterile non-adhesive dressings.
- Elevate the burned area if possible and protect it from pressure or friction.
- Monitor the victim’s vital signs.
- Try to prevent shock by laying the victim flat with feet elevated about 12 inches and cover the victim with a coat or blanket. Do not place the victim in this position if it makes the victim uncomfortable or if a head, neck, back or leg injury is also suspected.
- Do not apply ice, ointment or butter to a burn.
- Do not allow the burn to become contaminated.
- Do not apply cold compresses.
- Do not immerse the victim in cold water.
- Do not place a pillow under the victim’s head if there is an airway burn and they are lying down as this can close the airway.
Burns are said to be the most excruciatingly painful physical injuries, and even minor burns can be relatively painful. If you are burned, seek medical attention immediately.
If your burn was due to a defective product, industrial accident, automobile accident, chemical spill or an electrical mishap, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your suffering.
For more information, please read our Burn Injury Attorney Questions page.
Parkersburg Burn Injury Attorney
Having served his West Virginia clients so successfully in the past, personal injury lawyer Jim Leach is well prepared to look at the particulars of your case. His focus is first on listening to you, as a potential new client, and evaluating your legal situation. No two cases are alike, and Mr. Leach always caters his legal strategy to address the unique attributes of your situation. After years of dealing with insurance companies, he’s familiar with how they operate and how they determine the settlement value of your individual case. Using his case management system, Mr. Leach and his associates can effectively gather and organize all the important information necessary in making your claim.
Please contact our West Virginia burn injury lawyers today to discuss your claim. We represent burn injury victims throughout West Virginia and Southern Ohio including the communities of Belpre, Parkersburg, Wheeling, Athens, Morgantown, Charleston, and Huntington.