Over two million burn injuries are reported every year in the United States. Burn injuries can require long periods of intensive care, repeated surgical skin grafts, rehabilitation therapy, pain management, and, in some cases, even counseling for emotional distress that burn victims may experience as a result of their injuries.
Types of Burns
Burn injuries are typically caused by exposure to a wide variety of substances and external sources such as chemicals, friction, electricity, radiation, and extreme temperatures. In the workplace, two of the more common types of burns are chemical burns and electrical burns:
Chemical Burns typically occur when the skin is exposed to reactive chemical substances such as irritants or corrosive products including acids, bases, oxidizers, solvents, reducing agents, and alkylates. The exact symptoms of a chemical burn will depend on the chemicals involved, but symptoms frequently include itching, bleaching or darkening of the skin, burning sensations, difficulty breathing, coughing blood, and, in some cases, death.
Electrical Burns are typically caused by natural causes such as being struck by lightning; but they can also be caused by defective electrical wiring, electrical outlets, or defective electrical products or tools. Electrical burns usually cause superficial injuries to the skin, but they can cause serious internal injuries such as cardiac arrest or cardiac arrhythmia, and the extent of these injuries is not always obvious.
Other common causes of burn injuries in the workplace are:
- Automobile Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Defective Products
- Industrial Explosions
Burn Injuries Are Among the Most Severe Personal Injury Cases
Because the skin is the largest organ of the human body, and protects you from the elements, while also presenting your best face to the world, burn injuries can be extremely severe. Many are minor and can be addressed with ointment and careful treatment at home. Yet, others can completely destroy your appearance and your ability to fight infections. The worst can result in long term disability or death. In most personal injury cases involving burns, the victims are facing permanent scarring, serious pain and trauma, and long term medical treatment and expense.
If you have suffered a burn that was caused by someone else’s negligence, on someone else’s property, or through someone else’s maliciousness, you need to know about the different factors that will impact your personal injury claim settlement. You also need an attorney. Call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers to discuss the unique circumstances of your claim and the potential value of your settlement.
The Value of Your Claim Will Depend on the Severity of the Burn Injury
As a general rule, more severe burns lead to higher settlements in personal injury claims. There are different types of burns, including those caused by open flame, by chemical exposure, or by electricity. There are also different degrees of burn injuries, ranging from first through third, with first being the least severe.
- In fact, first degree burns are typically superficial and will require no medical treatment or long term care. You can usually handle a minor first-degree burn at home, and you aren’t likely to have a personal injury claim worth enough to pursue if you faced no further injuries.
- Second-degree burns are a bit more serious, and they do come up in personal injury claims, though they still involve less than 10% of your body.
- Then, there are the third-degree burns, which are the most severe, and often cover more than 10% of the body, depending on the situation. These burns damage every layer of the skin and usually involve long term hospitalization to treat and leave lasting scars.
The Value of Your Claim Will Depend on The Expense of Treating and Recovering from Burn Injuries
Serious burn injuries often involve lengthy, painful, and expensive hospital stays. You may require surgery, physiotherapy, emotional counseling, and occupational therapy to return to work. In other cases, you’ll completely lose your source of income and will be unable to return to work. This all comes with the expense of lost wages, medical bills, surgical bills, counseling bills, and rehabilitation bills, along with any damaged property that was associated with the burn injury.
Punitive Damages May Be Available in Your Personal Injury Claim for a Burn Injury
In cases where your burn injury was caused by egregious negligence or malicious intent, you may be awarded punitive damages. These are damages that are included in personal injury claims where punishment for the defendant is warranted. If the negligence was far beyond what a normal person might manage as a mistake, then it may be bad enough to warrant punitive damages. This is especially so in cases where children are involved and the negligence of a caretaker, such as leaving the house with candles burning or lighters accessible, or even leaving the children alone at all, could be seen as egregious negligence where punitive damages are warranted. In cases of malicious intent, where someone intentionally caused your burns, punitive damages are very likely to be awarded.
What To Do When You’ve Been Burned
If you have sustained burn injuries, it is important to respond quickly and appropriately to minimize the damage, including the potential for long term scarring and even death. For a minor burn, you can respond by cooling that burn with cool running water, but not cold water, for about ten minutes or so. You should also remove any jewelry in the area because your skin might swell around the jewelry.
Further, you should avoid breaking any blisters that you see. If they do break, you’ll want to clean them carefully with gentle soap and use antibiotic ointment and a non-stick bandage. You can also treat the burn with a moisturizer, such as a lotion with aloe. For pain, over the counter pain relievers should do the trick. For larger blisters, or any oozing wounds (or other signs of infection), you’ll want to see a doctor. You may even need a tetanus shot, depending on the situation.
If your burns are more serious, then you need to call for emergency medical care. Do not remove any burned clothing that is stuck to your skin, as this could cause more damage. If you can remove jewelry, you should do so, for the same reason – the burned area is going to swell very quickly, and the jewelry could cause more problems. You should not try to put the burned area underwater, because, at this point, you are in danger of losing body heat and blood pressure, and even going into shock. If you can elevate the part that is burned above your heart, that is the best thing to do. You may also be able to cover the burn area with a clean, cool, dampened cloth.
How an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Assist You
Being hurt while working can be a scary experience and may leave you wondering how you’re going to pay your medical bills or support yourself and your family. To make sure that you never have to worry about these things, you need the help of the attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers. We’ll work hard to make sure that your claim for workers’ compensation benefits is approved! Call us now at 678-562-5595 for more details about how we can start helping you today.