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Burn injuries can be painful, traumatizing, and expensive. Victims may be left with hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and life-long scarring and disfigurement. However, you should not have to pay for a burn injury that wasn’t your fault. Burn injury victims may be able to seek compensation for the financial and emotional trauma that their injuries have caused them.
The lawyers at Zinda Law Group have experience representing burn victims and helping them seek the compensation they deserve. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free attorney consultation with a burn injury attorney.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
According to the American Burn Association, every year over 450,000 people suffer from serious burn injuries that require medical treatment. There are several types of burns, including thermal, radiation, chemical, and electrical burns. While there are a number of situations that can lead to a burn, some of the common causes include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
In a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, the gas container may explode and cause serious burn injuries for drivers and passengers. In 2018, an estimated 212,500 vehicle fires caused 560 deaths, 1,500 injuries, and $1.9 billion in property damage.
Employers have a duty to provide a safe work environment for their workers and protective equipment to help prevent burns. Worksites can be especially dangerous for workers, who may be exposed to electrical wires, explosive chemicals, and open flames.
There are a number of defective products that can cause chemical, electrical, and thermal burns for users. For example, Samsung had to recall over a million phones after it was discovered that the Galaxy Note 7 was responsible for starting fires and causing burns.
What to Do Immediately After a Burn Injury
After a burn injury, it may be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. The steps below outline what you should do immediately following a burn accident as well as the actions to follow in the days and weeks after your burn accident.
Seek Medical Help
In mild cases after a burn accident, victims may be able to treat their burns without going to the hospital. To treat minor burns, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following:
Cool the burn
You should hold the burned area under cool, but not cold, running water, or apply a cool, wet compress until the pain eases. Do not use ice because putting ice directly on a burn can cause further damage to the tissue.
Remove rings or other tight items
You should try to remove rings or other tight items near the burned skin as quickly as possible before the burned area swells.
Don’t break blisters
Fluid-filled blisters help protect against infection. If a blister breaks, clean the area with water and apply an antibiotic ointment. However, if a rash appears, stop using the ointment.
Once a burn is completely cooled, apply a lotion, such as one that contains aloe vera or a moisturizer. This can help prevent the skin from drying out and provides relief.
Bandage the burn
You should cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage, but not one made of fluffy cotton. You should wrap the bandage loosely to avoid putting pressure on the burned skin.
Take a pain reliever
Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), can help relieve pain.
Consider a tetanus shot
A burn can leave your skin more susceptible to infection, so doctors recommend making sure that your tetanus booster is up to date.
However, the Mayo Clinic recommends that emergency medical assistance be called in serious burn cases where:
- Burns cover the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, a major joint or a large area of the body
- Deep burns, which means burns affecting all layers of the skin or even deeper tissues
- Burns that cause the skin to look leathery
- Burns that appear charred or have patches of black, brown, or white
- Burns caused by chemicals or electricity
- Difficulty breathing or burns to the airway
Document Your Damage
As soon as possible, be sure to take photos of your injuries. This may include pictures of the burn right after the accident as well as the burn injury healing process and how the skin looks days, weeks, and months after the accident.
Keep Track of Your Expenses
To help you receive the compensation you may deserve after a burn injury, you will need to keep track of your expenses. This could include hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and documented time taken off from work due to your injuries.
Contact a Lawyer
A burn injury attorney may be able to assist you by dealing with questions about hospital bills, insurance claims, and the next steps that you should take. Attorneys may also be able to discuss the specific facts of your case and help determine how much your case may be worth.
Classification of Burn Injuries
Burns are typically classified based on how deeply the skin has been burned or harmed. The higher the degree, the more severe the burn is. Classifying the severity of the burn helps medical professionals determine if a skin graft is needed and further steps that need to be taken to provide the best treatment. Burn injuries may range from minor to life-threatening, and some burns are easily treated at home, while others may cause long-lasting damage and require intensive medical care.
First-degree burn, or “superficial” burns, only affect the outer layer of skin. The skin may turn red or may be painful, but blisters will not form. Long-term damage is rare with these kinds of burns, and the skin is usually healed in 5 to 10 days. An example of a first-degree burn may be a mild sunburn.
Second-degree burns damage both the outer layer of skin, as well as the dermis, or the layer of skin underneath. The skin may be red, blistered, swollen, and painful. The pain associated with second-degree burns is severe. If second-degree burns become infected, they may cause scarring and discoloration. In general, second-degree burns take 1 to 3 weeks to heal, although it may take longer in more serious cases.
Third-degree burns, sometimes called “full thickness” burns, are the most serious types of burns. They can damage the underlying bones, muscles, and tendons. Third-degree burns destroy nerve endings, so victims may have minimal to no pain in the burned area. They usually take more than 8 weeks to heal from and require a skin graft.
Recovering from Burn Injuries
The recovery time for each burn is unique and will usually depend on the degree of burn and the type of burn that a victim sustained. In general, burns should be monitored for signs of infection. Your doctor may also recommend applying a moisturizer to the affected area and keeping your burn protected from the sun.
Depending on the burn severity, you may have some scarring, which may fade over time. People recovering from third-degree burns usually need physical and occupational therapy to help with their joint mobility. Your doctor may be able to give you specific advice on how to best treat and recover from your burn injury.
What Compensation May I Seek After a Burn Injury?
After a burn injury, you may be able to recover hospital bills, medical expenses, time taken off work because of your injuries, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering. Additionally, if you lost a loved one due to severe burn injuries, family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim. The circumstances of each case is unique, and some states place caps on the amount you may be able to recover. A burn injury lawyer may help you seek the compensation you deserve.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
If you were injured in a burn accident and want to file a lawsuit against the other party, you need to be aware of the time limits, or statutes of limitations, that are in place. Each state sets its own statute of limitations, so it will depend on how much time you have to file a claim for your injuries. It is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to help you navigate the filing timeline and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Lawyer Who Handles Burn Injuries for a Free Consultation
At Zinda Law Group, our burn injury attorneys have helped many victims get the compensation they deserved after suffering from a burn. We fight for our clients’ right to compensation for hospital bills, pain and suffering, and much more.
We believe an accident victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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