There are few injuries more painful, and more serious, than burn injuries. Depending on the severity of the burn, it can be a life-threatening emergency. If a person survives a severe burn injury, can potentially suffer life-changing complications for the rest of their life. Some of the more serious complications can include:
- Respiratory problems: Inhaling smoke and ash can lead to long-term breathing and respiratory issues, such as asthma or lung damage. Inhaling burning ash can cause damage to the throat and mouth, as well.
- Contracture: A contracture is when the tissue, tendons, or muscles become tough or firm. This can cause issues with moving the joints or limbs, which can cause mobility problems.
- Low body temperature: When a person has severe burn injuries, they may suffer from low body temperatures. The reason for this is because the skin has lost a major protective element, which was used to keep the body’s temperature from dropping to low temperatures. In severe cases, the pores may melt, leaving a victim unable to control their own body temperature.
- Scarring or keloids: Severe burns cause permanent scarring, disfigurement, and keloids. Keloids are thick, raised scars that can recur over time, even with treatment.
- Amputations: Sometimes, severe burns can reach tissues and bones. This can cause a person to need one of their limbs surgically amputated.
- Organ failure: Burns can cause a severe loss of fluids, either from the open wound or from damage to internal organs. This fluid loss can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure, which can cause a person to go into shock; the exact opposite – retention of too much fluid – can also occur, leading to swelling (edema). Both events can cause organ failure; per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the “lungs, heart, brain, and kidneys are particularly susceptible.”
- Sepsis: One of the immediate risks of burn injuries is infection, especially if the victim is exposed to contaminants like dirt. This infection can trigger a life-threatening inflammatory response called sepsis. If sepsis is not caught and treated immediately, it can lead to organ damage, limb loss, and/or death.
- PTSD and emotional trauma: After an individual experiences a severe and life-threatening burn, they may suffer emotional trauma or PTSD for many years to come. The reason for this is because these types of experiences are traumatic and extremely painful to go through.
The different categories of burns
There are three different categories of burns, which increase in severity. Those categories are:
- First-degree burn: A first-degree burn typically only affects the outer portion of the skin, which is called the epidermis. Individuals who suffer from these types of burns may only have minor pain, redness, and irritation.
- Second-degree burn: Second-degree burns usually impact the epidermis and the dermis, which are the first and second layers of the skin. Individuals with these types of burns experience severe pain, swelling, and discoloration. It is also not uncommon for second-degree burns to leave permanent scarring.
- Third-degree burn: This type of burn goes beyond the skin and makes its way to the individual’s fat layer. Third-degree burns can be extremely painful and may leave the burn site white, black, or brown. Individuals who suffer third-degree burns end up losing feeling in the burn areas as the nerves become permanently damaged.
Some medical professionals and organizations, including the NIH, also recognize fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-degree burns, which penetrate through muscle and bones. All three of these additional categories are generally considered deadly.
When a doctor is assessing the burn area, they will determine the type of burn that you have by how much skin is damaged and how far that damage penetrates.
How to prove liability for a burn injury
If another person’s negligence caused your burn injury, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers at Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA will help you prove liability and hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligent behavior. However, we must first establish four important elements to successfully do this, which are:
- Duty of Care: A duty of care is a legal obligation that a person has to another individual. Therefore, the defendant must have owed you some type of duty of care.
- Breach of Care: The duty of care was breached, meaning that it was breached by the defendant’s negligent behavior.
- Causation: The breach of that duty of care was the proximate cause of your injuries.
- Damages: You experienced harm and losses as a result of the defendant’s actions.
Our personal injury attorneys know that you are dealing with pain, suffering, and growing medical costs. Therefore, we encourage you to focus on your recovery process and getting your life back on track, while we handle the obstacles and challenges that emerge from your case. Our team is experienced, skilled, and highly qualified when it comes to personal injury claims, and we will do everything in our power to help you seek fair compensation for your damages.
The burn injury lawyers at Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA are committed to handling severe and complicated burn injuries in Maryland. We have helped many clients obtain compensation to help them put their lives back together, and we will be happy to assist you with this as well.
To get started, you can schedule a no-obligation case evaluation by calling our office or filling out our contact form today. No matter where you are located, we have multiple offices spread across the state of Maryland to make accessing our firm easy and convenient for you.
Joshua Plaxen graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, and graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2012 magna cum laude. He was also inducted into the Heuisler Honor Society for finishing in the top ten percent of his class. During law school, Joshua served on the Executive Board of the University of Baltimore Law Review.