Burn injuries are significant and persistent, with over 500,000 individuals seeking medical care, 40,000 hospitalizations, and 4,000 deaths annually in the United States. Treatment for these burns is estimated to be over $ 1 billion each year, excluding the indirect costs of disability and rehabilitation. Considering that many burns are preventable and are often the result of careless or negligent actions, these are incredibly unsettling statistics.
Burns are some of the most painful injuries anyone can suffer. They are also at a higher risk of complications than other injuries. Infections, scarring, and disfigurement are common depending on the burn type, size, and severity. Suppose you or someone you love recently sustained a burn injury that someone else could have prevented. In that case, it’s time to seek the services of a compassionate Chicago burn injury lawyer. You could be entitled to receive monetary compensation for your damages, including pain and suffering and medical expenses.
Types of Burn Injury Claims
Dozens of different situations can result in burn injuries. Often, the situations and, therefore, the burns are the fault of another party.
Burn injury accidents can happen nearly anywhere. When you are burned, it is essential for you to determine what caused the injury. Some of the most frequent types of burn accident injury claims handled by the Chicago burn injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael J. Brennan include:
- Fires occurring in motor vehicle accidents
- Apartment building fires
- Fires resulting from defective products
- Burn injuries to people who are trapped inside by locked fire exits
- Electrical fires
- Chemical burns
- Scalding injuries from boiling liquids
- Fires in the workplace
No matter the circumstances that led to your burn injuries, our skilled Chicago burn injury attorneys will investigate to find out the cause of the fire or accident that resulted in these painful and complex injuries.
The Burn Classification System
Burns are classified by their severity and required treatment measures. The three classifications of burns are:
As the most superficial of all burns, first-degree burns typically only involve damage to the outermost skin layer. For example, a mild sunburn is a first-degree burn. First-degree burn symptoms include redness and peeling skin. Treatment is usually relatively simple, including using lotions, gels, or creams, or a cold compress.
Suppose the damage to the skin’s outer layer, the epidermis, is more severe. In that case, the burn is classified as a second-degree burn. Some second-degree burns can extend to parts of the inner dermis. Sometimes these burn injuries are referred to as partial burns. Scalding or contact-related injuries most often cause second-degree burns. Treatment is noticeably more involved but usually includes daily cleanings, dressing changes, and antibiotics. Pain control is also part of the treatment.
Third-degree burns are the most severe and intense burns. Most patients will have dry and blackened skin with experience swelling. Also known as full-thickness burns, the outer and inner dermis have both sustained significant damage. Requiring the most care, third-degree burns usually need to be treated with intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and a high-protein diet.
Just as there are different classifications of burns, there are also different types of burns. Each type has its own specific treatments and potential complications.
Thermal burns are the most common, impacting over two million Americans annually. Thermal burns happen due to exposure to heat sources, such as:
- Scalding water
- Hot grease
- The sun—UV rays often cause sunburns
Due to their prevalence, thermal burns are particularly prone to infection, usually strains like pseudomonas aeruginosa and staphylococcus aureus.
Chemical burns are challenging because the causative exposure isn’t always apparent. Chemicals can also build up on the skin or inside the body, delaying their harmful effects. Most people exposed to chemicals will experience a few hallmark signs of shock, like sudden fainting or shallow breathing. Due to their severe side effects, immediate treatment is critically vital for chemical burns.
Electrical burns caused by stun guns or lightning are often involved in terms of overall wound care. Electricity often damages muscles and internal organs, requiring hospitalization. Although not as common as many thermal or chemical burns, one percent of all accidental deaths occur from electricity.
Radiation burns are due to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun or other radiation sources such as x-ray.
Complications from Burn Injuries
No matter the degree or type of burn, each wound requires specialized care. Without prompt and appropriate care, the burn victim is at a higher risk of complications and increased pain. Even with the best care and immediate treatment, severe complications can still arise. Even though burn injuries can be highly localized, their effects are often systemic. In order to reach their full capacity for recovery, burn injury victims may need help from the following areas:
- Pain management
- Complex wound care
- Physical therapy for positioning, splinting, and exercise
- Cosmetic reconstruction and skin grafting
- Occupational therapy for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Counseling to deal with common emotional responses during convalescences, such as depression, grieving, anxiety, guilt, and insomnia
- Patient and family education and counseling
- Nutritional counseling
Contact a Compassionate Chicago Burn Injury Attorney for Help Today
A severe burn can be an utterly devastating injury, both physically but emotionally. It can affect not only the burn victim but also their entire family. Individuals with severe burns can be left with the loss of particular physical abilities, disfigurement, loss of mobility, loss of a limb, scarring, and infection. In addition, severe burns can penetrate deep skin layers, causing muscle or tissue damage that may impact every system of the body. As if these weren’t enough, burns can also cause emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, nightmares, or flashbacks from the traumatizing event.
At the Law Offices of Michael J. Brennan, you can meet with an experienced Chicago burn injury lawyer for free to discuss your accident, injuries, and damages. Call us today at 708-894-1611 to schedule yours.