Understanding Burn Injuries in Legal Cases

There are many ways in which to suffer burn injuries. Burns can be caused due to a fire, hot liquids or steam, chemicals, the sun, electricity, heated objects, friction or radiation. Many burn injuries happen during a car accident. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that there are about 500 deaths related to car fires annually. The one thing burns have in common is that they can result in serious injuries.

Burn Injuries in Los Angeles

Burns that are caused by the negligent actions of an individual such as a motorist or another entity can result in a personal injury. This allows the injured person to place a claim for compensation, which is used to pay for their medical bills, lost wages and the pain and suffering they experienced.

The Categories of Burn Injuries

While some burns may be mild such as a minor sunburn, others can be dangerous or life-threatening. Their level of seriousness categorizes burn injuries as first, second or third and fourth-degree burns with the lowest number representing the mildest injury. Hospitalization is required for children who have been burned over 10 percent of their bodies, while adults are hospitalized if 15 percent to 20 percent of the body is affected. They are considered major injuries. Classification of burns depends on the depth and severity.

  • First Degree Burns: A first-degree burn affects only the skin’s outer layer or epidermis. This type of burn can occur from too much sun exposure. The site of the burn can be painful, red and dry, but no blistering appears. Generally, tissue damage long-term is not a problem with first degree burns.
  • Second Degree Burns: These types of burns involve not only the outer layer of skin but extend to include the dermis, which is the layer underneath. The dermal layer contains the sweat glands, hair follicles, nerve endings and blood capillaries, so this is a more severe injury. The site of the burn may be painful, red and swollen and blistering may appear.
  • Third Degree Burns: A third-degree burn destroys both the epidermis and dermis. It can also cause damage to the muscles, tendons and underlying bones. In this serious burn injury, the nerve endings have been destroyed, so the victim has no sensation in that area.
  • Fourth Degree Burns: Fourth Degree burns not only go through both skin layers and the underlying tissue but go in deeper and can cause serious injury to muscles and bones. As in a third-degree burn, pain is absent because the nerve endings have been destroyed.

How the Body Reacts to a Burn Injury

Serious burns do not just affect the part of the body. They can affect the entire body. This is because the body can react to the injury with an inflammatory response that is explosive. The body reacts to foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria to destroy the invader and cause healing. However, the body can overreact in the case of deep or extensive burns. This can result in the injury being even more severe, causing harm to the organs and blood vessels. Some of these complications can be lethal and lead to the death of the burn victim:

  • Fluid loss: The inflammatory response of the body to a serious burn causes fluid loss. The victim can experience a sudden, severe drop in blood pressure, leading to shock. Fluid can build up, causing dangerous swelling. If the organs and tissues don’t receive sufficient oxygen because of swelling, shock or other complications, they can become damaged and fail. The heart, lungs, kidneys and brain are especially susceptible.
  • Infection: Infection is a major complication in severe burn injuries. Because the protective barrier of skin has been seriously damaged, infections can occur more easily. This is further complicated because the immune system in the burn victim has become weakened. The threat of infection is not just present at the site of the burn. It can also attack the organs, causing sepsis, which attacks the blood or results in pneumonia, which attacks the lungs.

How Burns Are Treated

Skin ointments or creams and sterile bandaging are used to treat burns in many cases. Sometimes, a dressing that contains silver is used because it helps prevent infection. In some second degree burns and third-degree burns, fluid loss needs to be addressed to prevent shock from setting in and keep the blood pressure up. Intravenous antibiotics are added to help prevent infection. Large burns require surgical repair to remove damaged tissue and to perform skin grafts.

However, depending on the type of burn, location and seriousness, a combination of grafts may be used that consist of natural and artificial skin or epidermis that is grown in a laboratory. Physical therapy is necessary in severe burn patients to help retain the functionality of a limb and ability to move it freely. Otherwise, the limb may have limited use.

How a Burn Injury Lawyer Pursues Justice

Those who suffer severe burns can be left with physical and psychological injuries. Other injuries usually complicate car accidents with burns. Medical bills, lost wages and other consequences can mount and cause financial distress. This life-altering injury can change a person’s life forever. However, if this is due to negligence, the victim can obtain monetary compensation for his or her losses. A personal injury lawyer with experience in burn injuries can help you travel through this complicated process by investigating the cause of the burn. Once negligence is established, the attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a just settlement. If negotiations are not satisfactory, the lawyer can present your claims in civil court.


The Law Firm of David Azizi

When you are injured by fire, turn to the lawyer that all of Los Angeles trusts, David Azizi. David provides the compassion, investigative thoroughness and legal excellence you want. Call him at (800) 991-5292 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review. The statute of limitations restricts the time you have to file a claim. If you miss the deadline, your case will not be heard. It is essential that you contact David as soon as possible after an accident. David wins 98 percent of his cases. Let him begin working on yours, and take the time you need to recover without worry.