The Four Degrees of Burn Injuries

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Burn injuries, even the most minor type, can be very painful. Most burns will heal with treatment and time without long-lasting consequences. However, depending on the area or depth of a burn, this injury can be life-threatening and life-altering. Often, a negligent party allowed the burn to happen. At this point, a burn injury lawyer will help to ensure that the burn victim receives the compensation he or she will need for costly medical treatment and other expenses.

What is a Burn?

You might think that the name burn refers to the painful sensation that you feel when your skin touches hot surface, hot liquid, or steam. But a burn is more than just a sensation. A burn is damage to the skin where its affected skin cells or the cells of other nearby tissues die. Burns can also be caused by chemical exposure, fire, electricity, or excessive sun exposure. The medical profession categorizes burns into four degrees of burn injuries to determine their severity and how they should be treated. A burn injury lawyer wants to know the specific burn level you suffer from.

First-Degree Burn

A first degree, or superficial, burn is the least severe type of burn. It only affects the epidermis, or the outermost layer of the skin. You might feel a sudden intense burning sensation when the burn happens. But after that, a first degree burn is very similar to a minor sunburn. Also, touching a hot metal object or liquid for a brief second can cause a thermal burn. Symptoms of a first-degree burn may include:

  • Skin that is red and painful to the touch
  • Minor swelling, but no blisters
  • Dry appearance

While more of an inconvenience than an actual injury, you may still want a medical professional to examine it to prevent infection. Otherwise, it will heal within a few days on its own.

Second-Degree Burn

A second-degree, or partial thickness, burn goes through the epidermis into the layer below known as the dermis. It can also happen from contact with scalding liquids, hot surfaces, open flames, or brief exposure to electrical arcing or flash explosions. This type of burn can be extremely painful and could produce blisters. Symptoms of a second-degree burn can include:

  • Blisters
  • Red or pink burned area
  • When applying pressure, the burn will lighten and return to original color when pressure is released

Second degree burns require medical attention to prevent infection. Healing time is between two to three weeks. The burned area sometimes scars after healing.

Third-Degree Burn

Third-degree burns are full thickness burns that go through every layer of skin. Often, there is no pain because there is so much damage to tissue, including nerve tissue. The same occurrences that cause second degree burns can also cause third degree burns. This burn can be caused by the same things that cause a second degree burn. Symptoms may include:

  • White or waxy color
  • Dark brown or charred appearance
  • Leathery or rough textured skin with undeveloped blisters

A third-degree burn needs immediate medical attention. Usually, surgery will remove the burned tissues. There can also be severe scarring and disfigurement. There is no way to estimate the painful healing time needed for this type of burn and there is a high risk of infection.

Fourth-Degree Burn

A fourth-degree burn goes through all layers of the skin and down into subcutaneous tissue. This type of burn is extremely serious and can damage bones, muscles, tendons/ligaments, or organs. There is usually a complete lack of sensation due to the destruction of all the nerve endings in the affected areas. The patient will require surgery and extensive medical treatment. Also, severe disfigurement may result.

A Burn Injury Lawyer Who Will Fight for Your Rights

If you suffer a serious burn in an accident, you could be facing expensive medical bills and a lengthy recovery time. You need a burn injury lawyer that will look out for your best interests and fight for your right to compensation. The Huntsville, Alabama, burn injury lawyers at Pitman & Petro Attorneys at Law will fight for the settlement you deserve, not just what the insurance company thinks you deserve. We are available to take your call at (256) 533-5000 or online via our LiveChat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your consultation is free and there is no fee unless we win your case.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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