Burn injuries are among the most painful and horrific injuries a person can endure. Severe burns may cause nerve damage and excruciating pain, while scarring and trauma often result in long-term emotional harm. When a burn injury is caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party, victims may be entitled to significant compensation. If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury, it takes a skilled personal injury attorney to protect your rights.
J&Y Law is a premier personal injury practice representing burn injury victims throughout Northern and Southern California. We understand that managing the physical pain and emotional trauma caused by a burn injury can be an overwhelming burden. Our dedicated attorneys can help to lift that burden by providing you with informed representation and exceptional personal service. When you become our client, we will help you obtain the medical care you need and the compensation you need and deserve.
Common Types of Burn Injuries
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), there are four main types of burn injuries:
- Thermal burns
- Scalding burns
- Electrical burns
- Chemical burns
Thermal burns or “fire” burns the most common type of burn injury, are caused by exposure to flame or heat. While thermal burns typically affect external body surfaces, victims can also experience damage to the mouth, nose, and lungs from breathing hot or smoke-filled air. The ABA reports that over 40 percent of hospital admissions for burn injuries are caused by fires.
While victims often suffer thermal burns at home from fireplaces, ovens, and backyard barbecues, many fire burn injuries are work-related. Individuals whose work involves cooking or exposure to flammable material and chemicals are at a higher risk of suffering thermal burns.
Scalding burns are a type of burn caused by heated fluids such as boiling water or steam. The majority of scalding burns are caused by exposure to high-temperature water (e.g. tap water from showers, spilled coffee), typically resulting in first or second-degree burns. Scalding burns caused by steam can be more severe because steam reaches a higher temperature than water.
Scalding burns are unfortunately common in children, in part because they are unaware of the danger of scalding or boiling water. At the same time, these burn injuries are often work-related: factory workers, restaurant workers, baristas, and those involved in food production (e.g. slaughterhouse workers) are especially susceptible to on-the-job burn injuries.
Electrical burns occur when the victim’s body comes into contact with an electrical current, often due to faulty wiring. There are two types of electrical burns — direct and indirect.
A direct electrical burn is one in which an electrical current passes through human tissue, which can lead to serious subdermal damage. The severity of this type of burn injury depends on factors such as the voltage of the electrical current and the duration of contact.
An indirect electrical burn typically involves exposure to an electrical arc or a strong current between the source and the ground (e.g. a lightning strike, or downed power line), causing instant, deep thermal burns. An electrical arc or current can also ignite a fire on the victim’s clothing or surroundings, which can worsen the burn injury.
Chemical burns are typically associated with workplace accidents, causing injury to the skin structure as well as deeper underlying tissue, depending on the severity of the burn and the type of chemicals involved. Chemicals can also become airborne, causing painful injuries to the lungs, nasal cavities, mouth, and eyes.
Workers are frequently exposed to dangerous chemicals in workplaces such as mining, auto repair, medicine, and chemical plants. In these environments, chemical burns are typically caused by exposure to:
- Strong alkali substances (cement burns)
- Industrial chemicals (e.g. lye, lime)
- Household chemicals (cleaners/fertilizers)
- Corrosives, oxidizing, and reducing agents
- Desiccants, vesicants, and gasoline
Chemical agents can also be absorbed by the body, producing toxicity in the internal organs which may lead to liver and kidney failure.
Degrees of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries are classified into four degrees, based on the extent of damage to the skin, muscles, tissues, bones, and/or internal organs:
- First-degree burns are “superficial” injuries, limited to the first layer of skin (the epidermis). Symptoms include redness, minor inflammation, and pain. Typically treated with home care, first-degree burns should heal within 7 to 10 days.
- Second-degree burns are more serious injuries, extending deeper than the epidermis into the dermis, causing skin blisters. While second-degree burns may take up to 3 weeks to heal, more severe injuries require skin grafts, and may also lead to nerve damage.
- Third-degree burns are severe, destroying the outer layer of skin and subcutaneous tissue, which leaves the skin charred and leathery. Third-degree burns are usually treated with skin grafts, reconstructive surgery, and other long-term medical procedures.
- Fourth-degree burns not only damage skin, but nerve endings, fat, muscle, and bone, which can lead to permanent motor damage, may require amputation, or even result in death.
Burn Injury Statistics
The American Burn Association’s report on burn incidences is startling: each year, over 480, 000 burn injuries require medical treatment, 40,000 burn injuries require hospitalization (30,000 of which are at specialized burn centers), and more than 3,200 burn injuries result in death.
The ABA also reports that the majority of burn accidents, 69 percent, occurred in the home; 9 percent were work-related; 7 percent were caused by street/highway accidents; 5 percent were recreational-related; and the remaining 10 percent involved other burn incidents.
At J&Y Law, our burn injury attorneys have the knowledge and skills essential for conducting extensive investigations to determine the cause of burn accidents, identify the responsible parties, and hold them accountable. Above all, we will fight for your right to just compensation.
The Lasting Repercussions of A Burn Injury
Depending on the circumstances, burn injuries can affect the respiratory system and damage muscles, bones and blood vessels. Ultimately, such catastrophic injuries can affect the way victims walk, their body temperature (causing fever or dehydration), joint function, and fluid balance in the body.
Regardless of the cause, patient outcomes ultimately depend on the type and the degree of the burn. Even more crucial is quickly receiving appropriate medical care. Moreover, scarring and disfigurement are often the debilitating results of severe burn injuries. Visible scars on the face, neck, arms, and other body parts can have an emotional impact as well, often requiring psychological counseling.
Given the catastrophic consequences of burn injuries, the best way to protect your rights is to work with the dedicated legal team at J&Y. Whether your burn injury was caused by a workplace accident, a motor vehicle accident, a home fire, or another act of negligence, we will stand by you on the long road to recovery.
Contact Our Los Angeles Burn Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has sustained a burn injury due to another party’s negligent, reckless, or willful conduct, you deserve justice. That’s where J&Y Law comes in. Our burn injury attorneys will provide you with powerful representation and fight for the compensation you deserve. Please contact our office today to set up a free consultation. You will not pay any attorneys’ fees until we recover for you.