Burn Injuries Severe Burns Can Cause Scarring and Disfigurement. You May Be Entitled to Compensation.

Houston Burn Injury Attorneys

Receiving a burn injury can range from a Band-Aid to multiple surgeries depending on the severity. When you have been a victim of any sort of injury it is important to be prepared. Burns are an emotionally trying and painful injury. They are also, unfortunately, all too common. A burn can come from heat, exposure to chemicals, electrocution, and even time spent in the sun. If you have recently suffered from a burn injury, it is important that you get the assistance of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to help you fight for maximum monetary compensation.

Types & Degrees of Burns

  • Thermal Burns
    Very common. Associated with contact with heated items like metals, scalding liquids, steam, or flames.
  • Chemical Burns
    Form when skin comes in contact with a toxic substance like an abrasive cleaning product.
  • Flash Burns
    Form when people are exposed to an explosion; the burn will be more severe the closer the person comes to the explosion.
  • Inhalation Injury
    Occur when a person breathes in fumes coming from smoke or chemicals. This is usually sustained when they are in an enclosed area. An inhalation burn may cause swelling in the upper airway, difficulty breathing, or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Inhalation Injuries Caused by Fires

One injury closely related to burns is an inhalation injury. Fires where the victim breathes in particles in the air and toxic fumes commonly cause this. It can not only damage the victim's eyes, but can cause significant damage to their respiratory system—most significantly their lungs. If the victim previously suffered from chronic heart or lung disease, exposure to these toxic items can severely aggravate their preexisting condition.

Inhalation injuries result in the following symptoms:

  • Coughing Up Phlegm
  • Scratchy, Irritated Throat
  • Irritated Sinuses
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Pain or Tightness in the Chest
  • Headaches
  • Running Nose

Inhalation injuries typically occur one of three ways:

  • Heat Inhalation
    If a victim breathes in extremely hot air or a fire source, it can cause a burn to the inside of the lungs. This also occurs when high pressure forces heat into your lungs. Because the trachea attempts to shield your lungs, the majority of damage is limited to the upper airways.
  • Systemic Toxins
    Fires may release systemic toxins into the air, which if inhaled can inhibit the body's ability to absorb oxygen. Those who breathe in these toxins often become confused or can even become unconscious. Prolonged exposure can cause permanent organ damage.
  • Smoke Inhalation
    One of the most common fire-related injuries is caused by the inhalation of smoke. This is less visible, but still catastrophic; 60 to 80% of burn injury fatalities are caused by smoke inhalation.

Common Causes of Burn Injuries

  • Auto Fires: Car crashes can cause burns due to explosions, friction, extreme heat exposure, and/or smoke inhalation.
  • Industrial Accidents: Working with heated metals, exposed electricity, or other toxic substances can often lead to burns.
  • Oil Industry Fires: When working in oil and gas, the potential for being exposed to toxic chemicals and/or explosions is elevated.
  • Work Accidents: This can occur from a number of hazards, including dangerous chemicals, electricity, flash burns, thermal contact burns, explosions, heated mechanisms, hot oils or liquids, or tools that are not properly insulated.

First Degree Burns

First degree burns are quite common. This can if you bump your arm with the curling iron or accidentally splash hot oil on yourself while cooking. Generally these are not severe; usually running cool water over the area will help lessen the pain. Remember you don’t want to use ice, but cooler water will bring some relief. Next, you will want to make sure you protect the wound by covering it with a bandage. Use one without adhesive to avoid getting the sticky stuff inside the wound. There may be some inflammation and pain, so if needed a simple over the counter pain medication can be taken. With first degree burns they can be treated at home, and will heal in due time.

Symptoms of first degree burns include:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • White (or blanched) skin

Second Degree Burns

Second degree burns are the next up on the severity ladder. The size of the burn will determine whether emergency care should be sought out or if it can be treated at home. Usually, it will be no larger than three inches in diameter as a second degree burn. It is important to realize that these are not just surface level skin injuries, but rather affect the next layer of the skin as well. Make sure you don’t use ice when trying to treat a burn, and, if there is blistering, whatever you do, don’t try popping it open to release the fluid. Finally, it is common to want to relieve some of the pain with ointments or butters, but this may further irritate or infect the area, so avoid all topical treatments without the advice of a doctor.

Symptoms of second degree burns include:

  • Blistering
  • Intense redness
  • Severe pain
  • Splotchy appearance
  • Swelling

Third & Fourth Degree Burns

Third and fourth degree burns are among the most severe types a person can receive. Not only do these affect the different layers of skin, but this intense of a burn injury can also reach as far as the bones, and the surrounding muscles and fat as well. A burn like this may also damage nerves, which would explain if you experience any form of numbness or tingling in the burn area. These burns are generally caused from a prolonged time in the flames, rather than a quick encounter with a candle, etc. This severity of burns can happen when there is a building fire, and if that is the case, there is also a possibility of inhaling too much smoke therefore poisoning your lungs with carbon monoxide.

When dealing with these sorts of burns, the first thing you must do is contact the emergency services. These require medical care. Do not attempt to do anything that could further injure yourself. If you were wearing clothes that have been burned to your skin, don’t try and remove them. Wait for the professionals to do that. Avoid using cold water to treat the wounds. The pain is going to be severe, but the cold water may further irritate the area. If at all possible, try elevating the areas on your body that received the burns, to decrease the blood pressure near the wounds.

Symptoms of third and fourth degree burns include:

  • Charring
  • Stiff or waxy appearance
  • Leathery or tan appearance
  • Numbness (resulting from destroyed nerves)

Treatment for Burn Injuries: Skin Grafts

One of the most common treatment options for a severe burn injury is a skin graft. A skin graft is a surgical procedure where skin is taken from a healthy donor spot on the victim and transplanted onto the damaged areas. There are several different types of skin grafts, including:

  • Pinch Grafts
  • Split-Thickness Grafts
  • Full-Thickness Grafts
  • Pedicle Grafts

Generally, if the graft "survives" the first 72 hours after its initial implantation surgery, then the body will accept it. Should infection be kept at bay and steady blood supply given, the graft should take around six months to fully heal.

Burn Injury Treatments

Immediately after a burn occurs, the victim will need medical care. Cooling via water or ice can reduce the depth of the burn and the pain, but over-cooling can lead to hypothermia. For minor burns, pain relieving medications and bandages will usually suffice.

For more extensive burns, additional treatment will be required. This can include the following:

  • Amputation may be necessary for extreme burns
  • Antibiotics or other treatment for infection
  • Intravenous fluid, as fluid leakage occurs
  • Massage or antihistamines
  • Skin grafts
  • Surgery

Modern advancements in medicine have made surviving burn injuries much more likely, and treatment much more effective. Skin graft and flap procedures can repair many burn scars, to improve the quality of living for victims. Even though a burn victim may live longer, his or her quality of life will diminish significantly, as they will suffer permanent disfigurement and lifelong pain.

Contact a Houston Burn Injury Lawyer Today: (888) 493-1629

If you have been injured in an accident that resulted in serious burns, then it is highly important that you work with a personal injury attorney you can trust. At Arnold & Itkin, we have recovered billions on behalf of our clients; in fact, we handle more cases each year than most attorneys will handle in their entire careers. If you hire our firm, we will go the distance in our efforts to provide you with the reliable assistance you deserve.

So don't waste another moment! If you are a burn injury victim, call today to learn how we can help.

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