Burn Injuries: Questions and Answers
One of the most common injuries that happens in the home is a burn injury. Burn injuries are especially prevalent among children, and they can result in long-term physical damage and scarring. With minor burns, a patient can recover from their injuries with few complications, but in the case of severe burns, a patient may require months, years or a lifetime of rehabilitation and treatment.
Following are some frequently asked questions about burn injuries in Washington State.
What are the most common kinds of burns?
The most familiar type of burn for most of us is a thermal burn. This is the kind of burn you get from touching something hot, like a fireplace, stove or oven, grill or heater. Other types of burns include:
- Chemical burns
- “Cold” burns, like frostbite
- Electrical burns
- Radiation burns
Sometimes a burn injury is unavoidable. You might forget to put on sunblock. Or, you did put on sunblock but it was mislabeled and defective, which might make you eligible for a product liability claim. Other people suffer burns in house fires, on a work site, or in car accidents.
When should I seek medical treatment for a burn injury?
Although not all burns are life-threatening, even a small burn can cause serious injury. Burns that initially look mild can lead to severe infection if left untreated. Medical experts classify burns by degree, and the higher the degree, the more serious the burn. Generally, you should seek treatment for anything above a first-degree burn.
- First-degree burns. A first-degree burn affects just the top layer of skin. Symptoms include minor pain, redness, dry skin, and inflammation. These burns don’t result in scarring, but if the burn happens on the face or over a large area of the body, the person should seek medical attention. Otherwise, the burn can be treated at home.
- Second-degree burns. These types of burns are more severe, going beyond the top layer of the skin. Second-degree burns result in blisters, with increased pain and redness. A bad sunburn can result in this type of injury, and should be treated by a medical professional.
- Third-degree burns. Third-degree burn injuries are extremely severe and affect every layer of the skin, including fat and muscle. Because these burns can damage the nerve endings, the patient may not feel any pain. These injuries typically require skin grafts and can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Fourth-degree burns. These burns are almost always fatal. Fourth-degree burns reach the bone and many victims don’t survive. Those who do may suffer amputation of the affected limbs.
How do I know if I have a burn injury claim?
If you suffered a burn injury due to the negligence of another person or party, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. For example, if you were hurt because a defective part caused a fire in your car, you may be able to hold the car manufacturer liable for your injuries.
Your attorney will investigate the circumstances of your injury and determine who was responsible. They also assess your damages, which include the costs associated with your:
- Medical bills, current and future
- Lost wages and future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
It’s important to fully understand the scope of serious injuries before agreeing to any type of settlement with an insurance company. Burn injuries can require a lifetime of care and medical costs – ensure you have the resources you need.
At Philbrook Law Office, our injury attorneys work to protect your right to compensation after an accident. To discuss your case, please call our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA. You can reach us at 360-695-3309 or fill out our contact form.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.