Burn injuries are one of the most painful injuries anyone can suffer; that’s why you need an expert burn injury lawyer when a burn accident happens. Most people do not realize that our skin is the largest organ in our body. Our skin has billions of neuron receptors that tell our brain if that part of our body is cold or hot or is injured.
If our body is hot or cold, normally a message is then carried to the brain. We react appropriately to heat or cold to protect our body such as by covering our skin if it’s cold, or by rubbing our hands together to create friction. If we are hot, we take clothes off, take a shower or go for a swim to cool down or go in an air conditioned environment.
If we feel pain, we instinctively remove that part of the body away from the source of the pain. When we get a minor burn injury (which is referred to as a first degree burn injury), we frequently run water on the affected area to help the pain. The outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis, then regrows and the skin heals with no after effect, except possibly a minor scar.
Serious Second Or Third Degree Burn Injuries
When the skin is burned more severely, either a second degree burn injury or third degree burn injury, the lower layers of the skin are affected.
Burn injuries often result from:
- on the job incidents,
- automobile accidents,
- fires in structures,
- electrocution or electrical burns,
- thermal burns, and
- chemical burns.
Electrical burn injuries result from exposure to high voltage electricity. On the job exposure for those working in the electrical field is ever present. The burn injuries result from electric current flowing through the body and causing a severe exit wound. Possibly, high voltage will cause the heart to stop beating and result in the death of the victim. Workers can be electrocuted on the job and experience fatal work-related injuries.
Flammable Clothing Burn Injuries
The Flammability of clothing is tremendously dangerous as it may spread through the clothing and create severe burns all over the body. Clothing sold in the USA must comply with the Flammable Fabrics Act.
Thermal burn injuries occur when there is exposure to, or contact with steam, flames, flash, and hot surfaces or hot liquids with a temperature of 115 degrees. Thermal burn injuries may be on the job related and occur while cooking on hot stoves, for example.
Automobile Fires And Burn Injuries
Automobile fires may result from auto accidents, putting passengers at great peril. Automobile fires may be caused by gas explosions as well as contact with another object.
Chemical burn injuries are caused by contact with acids or strong bases such as alkaloids. Often strong chemicals are used in laboratories and place on the job workers at risk. Very strong chemicals will dissolve skin at contact and are difficult to wash away at contact exposure.
Structure Fires And Burn Injuries
Fires are a common cause of residential fire deaths and office building fire deaths. Heating and electrical equipment may malfunction and result in serious burn injuries or death.
Consequences Of Serious Burn Injuries
When skin is severely burned, scar tissue is formed. This burn scar tissue loses many normal characteristics because of the severe scaring.
- Loss of Ability to Regrow: When the skin suffers third degree burn injuries, it may lose its ability to regrow. In that event the surgeon will transplant undamaged skin from another part of the body to the damaged area. Modern medicine has also developed artificial skin or skin grown in laboratories to cover severely burned areas of the body.
- Loss of Elasticity: Skin normally has a wonderful characteristic of elasticity. Loss of elasticity is a consequence of burn scar tissue.
- Loss of Sense of Touch: Normally we rely on our sense of touch to tell when objects are hot or cold. Loss of sense of touch is a consequence of severely burned and scared skin tissue.
- Loss of Ability to Perspire: One way the body acts to stay cool is to perspire. Perspiring brings the fluid to the skin surface, so the fluid can evaporate and we then feel cooler. Perspiration also helps the body eliminate waste. A seriously burned victim’s skin may not perspire normally as the quality and ability of the skin tissue has been compromised. This loss of ability to perspire means that the body’s own way of cooling itself can no longer function.
- Need for Protection from Weather: Severely burned skin, even after healing, must be permanently protected from the sun and weather elements.
- Risk of Infection: Dead Skin (called eschar) needs to be remove to make a clean, raw place for skin grafting or new skin to grow. This is called debridement. Debridement is necessary to help prevent infection since dead tissue from burns is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection.
Do You Have A Serious Burn Injury Case?
Burns may cause devastating, life altering, debilitating, burn injuries, and even death.
Repeated surgeries for skin grafts may be required with painful recovery. Because there are so many ways a person can become burned, it is impossible to state in general if there is liability and impossible to specify under what circumstances there might be liability.
Whenever a person is severely burned they or their family members should seek legal counsel. Whenever a family member is deceased as a result of serious burn injuries, their family members should seek legal counsel.