Given that Texas is home to a wide variety of industries, workplace accidents are common, often resulting in burn injuries. At the same time, the majority of burn injuries occur at home — in house fires, kitchen accidents, grilling accidents, and other incidents. In any event, severe burn injuries typically require highly complex, long-term medical procedures and treatments for a victim to recover. Of course, some burn injuries are severe enough to cause death.
If you or a loved one has sustained a burn injury, you may feel alone and afraid, not knowing where to turn. That’s the time to call a winning personal injury team — Sherman Law Firm. We know that being injured in a burn accident is a traumatic experience, marked by lasting pain and suffering and a long road to recovery. Our attorneys will be there for you every step of the way, fighting to make sure you receive proper medical care and just compensation.
Common Types of a Burn Injury
According to the American Burn Association, the most common types of burn injuries are:
- Thermal burns
- Electrical burns
- Chemical burns
The most common type of burn injury, thermal burns are caused by exposure to flame or heat. Such injuries typically occur on the body’s external surfaces, but damage to the lungs, nose, and mouth are also common for victims of building fires who have inhaled hot or smoke-filled air.
Thermal burns can also be caused by scalding liquids (e.g. boiling water, hot cooking oil) open flames, hot objects, and explosions. While anyone can sustain a thermal burn, those whose work involves cooking, or exposure to high-temperature equipment, material, or flammable chemicals are at a greater risk of this type of injury.
Such injuries occur when the person’s body comes into contact with an electrical current. Common scenarios include:
- A finger in a light socket
- Falling into electrified water
- Touching a live power line
- A lightning strike
Direct Electrical Burn
A direct electrical burn involves an electrical current passing through human tissues, and the severity depends on factors such as:
- The type of circuit (AC/ DC)
- Amperage and voltage of the electrical current
- Duration of the contact
- Tissue level of electrical conduction or resistance
Such a burn injury can cause extensive subdermal damage, resulting in coagulation, necrosis, and hyperthermia.
Indirect Electrical Burn
The most destructive indirect electrical injury involves exposure to an electrical arc or a strong current spark between a highly charged source and the ground (such as a lightning strike or a downed power line). Depending on several factors, an indirect electrical injury can cause instant, deep thermal burns at the point of contact, often with catastrophic results. Such an arc can touch off a fire on a person’s clothing or surroundings, further aggravating the degree and complexity of burn injuries.
Chemical burns often result from workplace accidents and involve the skin structure, and deeper underlying tissue, depending on the severity and type of chemicals. At times, such chemicals can be airborne, causing painful burns in the lungs, nasal cavities, mouth, or other unexpected locations.
Workplaces where exposure to dangerous chemicals is likely include mining, auto repair, medicine, and chemical plant operation, where chemical burns can be caused by:
- Strong alkali substances (cement burns)
- Industrial chemicals (e.g. lye, lime)
- Household chemicals (cleaners/fertilizers)
- Corrosives, oxidizing and reducing agents
- Desiccants, vesicants, and gasoline
In addition to burns, chemical agents can be absorbed into the body, having a toxic effect on internal organs that can ultimately lead to liver and kidney failure.
Different Types of Degrees of a Burn Injury
There are four categories of burn injuries, determined by the extent of damage to the skin, muscles, tissues, bones, and internal organs:
- First-Degree Burns — Superficial injuries that only involve the first layer of skin (the epidermis), resulting in symptoms such as redness, minor inflammation, and pain. First-degree burns are typically treated with home care, usually healing within 7-to-10 days.
- Second-Degree Burns — More serious injuries that go beyond the epidermis, reaching the dermis, resulting in skin blisters. Second-degree burns may take up to 3 weeks to heal, and severe injuries may require skin grafts or result in nerve damage.
- Third-Degree Burns — Very severe injuries that destroy the outer layer of skin along with subcutaneous tissue, leaving the skin charred and leathery. Third-degree burns typically require skin grafts, reconstructive surgery, and other long-term medical procedures and treatments.
- Fourth-Degree Burns — In addition to severely damaging the skin, fourth-degree burns can also damage nerve endings, or reach the fat, muscle or bone, often leading to permanent motor damage, amputation, or death.
The Grim Statistics on a Burn Injury
The American Burn Association has reported that:
- Over 480,000 burn injuries require medical treatment each year
- More than 3,200 fire/burn deaths occur each year
- 40,000 burn injuries require hospitalization each year (30,000 of those are at specialized burn centers)
An even more surprising fact is that the majority of burn accidents, 69 percent, occurred at home. The remaining 9 percent were occupational injuries, 7 percent were due to street or highway injuries, 5 percent recreational-related, and 10 percent were caused by other incidents. In any event, patient outcomes depend on the type and the degree of the burn, as well as receiving appropriate medical care promptly.
Contact Our Dedicated Burn Injury Attorney
At Sherman Law Firm, we fight for rights of burn injury victims throughout the state of Texas. If you or a loved one has sustained a burn injury due to another party’s negligent, reckless or willful conduct, we can help.
We know that you may be concerned about finding the proper medical care, how you will pay for the medical bills, when will you recover, or whether you will be permanently injured or disfigured. Our attorneys will address those concerns by providing you with knowledge, compassion, and aggressive legal representation, fighting tirelessly for the compensation you deserve. Please contact our office today to learn how we can help.