Burns are classified by depth and are divided into first, second and third degree burns. First degree burns are superficial and cause inflammation of the skin, typically resulting in pain, redness, tenderness and mild swelling. Sunburns are sometimes categorized as first degree burns. Second degree burns are deeper and usually result in similar symptoms as first degree burns, but also causing blisters to form on the skin. Third degree burns are the most severe kind of burn, involving all layers of the skin and virtually killing the affected area of skin. Third degree burns severely affect the nerves and blood vessels as well, causing the burn to appear white and leathery and be relatively painless.
Although this type of injury is classified into three categories, burns are not static and can evolve into a more serious condition over time. A first degree burn can become a second degree burn in a matter of hours as the injury progresses to involve deeper structures of the skin. Regardless of the severity of the burn, the complications surrounding the injury remain the same. Inflammation and fluid accumulation typically surround the affected area and the break in the skin makes the victim more susceptible to devastating infection. Since only the epidermis has the ability to regenerate, second and third degree burns may result in permanent scarring and damage, and the skin in that area will be unable to restore itself to its normal function.
In addition to the depth of the burn, the surface area of the injury is also significant in assessing the amount of damage suffered, particularly for second and third degree burns. The burn area typically determines the amount of fluid required during treatment to prevent the victim from suffering from shock, while also evaluating the risk of death. The location of the burn is also important. If the victim’s face is affected, inflammation and swelling may cause blockage of the airway, resulting in breathing difficulties. If the chest is burned, the motion of the chest which allows breathing to occur may be affected, causing breathing problems as well. Burns affecting the arms, legs, fingers or toes may restrict blood flow, potentially causing irreversible damage to the extremity. Extensive or deep burns may result in shock and devastating infection, requiring surgery, rehabilitation, and intravenous fluids, typically at a burn center.
It is estimated that more than two million people require treatment for burns in the United States each year, resulting in 3,000 to 4,000 deaths. Victims who have suffered from devastating burns resulting from an accident are not at fault and may be entitled to reimbursement for their injuries. Most people who are involved in an accident and suffer serious injury turn to their insurance company for help. Unfortunately, many insurance claims adjusters are trained to deny personal injury claims or to offer a settlement well below what the victim deserves, in order to pay out the lowest possible amount in damages. Sometimes, the claims adjuster will stall or drag out the claim in hopes that the victim will simply give up. Accident victims are too often exposed to these deceptive practices, and the only way to fight a rejected insurance claim is to hire an accident attorney to represent your case. Qualified accident lawyers are experienced in personal injury litigation and have the knowledge and skills necessary to help you develop a successful case. If you or a loved one has suffered from a severe burn due to an accident, you deserve to spend as much time as you need recovering from your injuries. With the aid of an experienced accident attorney, you can feel at ease in your time of need, relying on his ability and expertise to help you receive the compensation you deserve.