Burn Injury Victims Face a Long Road to Recovery
Any injury can be painful, but a burn injury can involve chronic pain in many cases that only powerful pain killers can minimize. A victim who suffers second and third-degree burns may require numerous skin grafts and other treatments over a long period that may still leave disfigurement as well as physical difficulties and substantial emotional harm.
Lawyer for Different Types of Burns
Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and dermis or lower level of the skin. These types of burns cause redness, swelling and blistering. Blisters can pop with skin appearing wet and may result in thick, scab-like tissue developing over the burn area. Skin grafting may be necessary for severe cases.
Third-degree burns are full thickness burns and affect the deeper tissues. In severe cases, victims experience no pain since there is nerve damage. Your skin can take on the appearance of a waxy or white color or be dark brown or charred. Third-degree burns can lead to infections, blood loss and severe shock that can lead to death.
Tetanus is a complication of a second or third-degree burn. This is a bacterial infection that affects the nervous system. You also risk suffering hypothermia, or dangerously low body temperature from substantial loss of body heat from the burn, and hypovolemia, which is dangerously low blood volume from bleeding.
Personal Injury Burn Cases
Burns can be the result of numerous types of accidents:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Residential fires
- Construction accidents
- Forest fires
- Firecracker mishaps
- Airplane crashes
- Chemical burns
- Electrical burns
- Contact with a power line
- Extremely hot water
Treatment and Rehabilitation
If you suffered substantial and extensive damage from second and third-degree burns, these can lead to infections and other problems in your bones, tissues and organs. You may require:
- Surgical procedures
- Physical therapy
- Assisted care
- Rehabilitation including social and emotional counseling
Treatment of a burn injury may involve:
- Debridement–removing dead skin and underlying tissue
- Intravenous treatment for hydration and electrolytes
- Tetanus injections and antibiotics
- Skin grafting
- Pain medication
- Plastic surgery
Burn centers in Massachusetts are at the following locations:
- Massachusetts General
- Boston Medical Center
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
- Shriners Hospitals for Children
- University of Massachusetts Medical School
Prevention of Burn Injuries
Fires and burns can be prevented. Here are some tips for fire prevention:
- Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen
- Test smoke detectors monthly
- Keep water temperature under 120 degrees Fahrenheit
- Install electrical outlet covers
- Discard electrical cords with exposed wires
- Do not keep flammable chemicals in the house or garage
- Smoke outdoors only
- Clean out dryer lint traps with each use
- Have a fire escape plan for your family
Liability in Burn Cases
Many burn cases result from the negligence of the owner of the premises where the victim was injured. This could be a store, a friend’s home, a residence or at work.
In residential fires, you may be able to collect compensation if the landlord failed to install smoke detectors or provided defective ones or was otherwise negligent in failing to prevent a fire hazard.
If you were injured in the course and scope of your employment, you will likely be compensated through workers’ compensation since the negligence of the employer or of yourself is not an issue. You are limited in these cases since you cannot collect for pain and suffering, which is often the highest award category in a personal injury case, and your wage loss is restricted. You may still bring a personal injury action along with your workers compensation claim if another entity, such as another contractor or a manufacturer or designer of a defective product caused the injury.
These are issues to discuss with a burn injury lawyer.
In any case, consulting with a burn injury lawyer soon after the accident is essential if you wish to pursue a claim for compensation.
Consequences of a Burn Injury Case
The long term consequences of a burn injury can include:
- Scarring–third-degree burns may heal after a few months but surgery will leave scars
- Scar contracture–scars can form across a joint leading to decreased mobility. Skin grafts can reduce this but can shrink and require further surgery
- Disfigurement–surgery may not completely remove facial scars
- Skin color changes–Usually a paler patch of skin that may be permanent
Damages in a Burn Case
Your damages in a burn case depend on its nature and extent, liability of the responsible parties, wage loss and medical expenses as well as how your life has changed. Damages may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma
- Diminution in quality of life
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
Neil Burns is a partner at Burns and Jain and is a Boston personal injury lawyer who has handled numerous complex cases including burn injury cases throughout his over 30-years of practice. Choosing the right personal injury lawyer for you is essential if you want to collect the compensation your case deserves.
Call burn injury law firm Burns & Jain for a free analysis of your personal injury matter.