Types & Degrees of Burns
If you have been involved in an accident, you may have sustained a burn injury along with other ailments. Burns can form when tissue is damaged by exposure to heat, radiation, friction or chemicals. There are several different types of burns that an accident victim may sustain:
- Thermal Burns: Very common, and are 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 toxic fumes coming from hot smoke or toxic chemicals. This type of injury is usually sustained when the victim is in an enclosed area. An inhalation burn may cause swelling in the upper airway, difficulty breathing, or even carbon monoxide poisoning.
Burn injuries can be the result of any number of accidents, but these are some of the more common causes:
- 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 greatly elevated.
If you have sustained a burn injury, it will be classified according to its severity.
First Degree Burns
First degree burns are usually minor injuries involving minimal tissue damage affecting only the outer layer of the skin.
Symptoms of first degree burns include:
- white (or blanched) skin
Second Degree Burns
Second degree burns affect both the outer layer of skin as well as the underlying layer.
Symptoms of second degree burns include:
- intense redness
- severe pain
- splotchy appearance
Third and Fourth Degree Burns
Third and fourth degree burns affect all of the skin's layers; they are the most severe of all burns, affecting fat, muscle, and bone. When recovering from these burns, the process is usually slow and painful. Scars often result from these injuries.
Symptoms of third and fourth degree burns include:
- stiff or waxy appearance
- leathery or tan appearance
- numbness (resulting from destroyed nerves)
Depending on the severity of a burn, treatments and prognosis will differ. While minor burns may be treated at home, more serious injuries will require a doctor's care or even hospitalization. If you have sustained a burn injury as the result of the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation regarding your case.