Burns are one of the most painful and life-threatening injuries a person can suffer, as well as one of the longest wounds to heal. When burns are catastrophically severe, the healing can take years or even a lifetime. This pain is made worse when the victim and their family and loved ones know that the injuries were caused by another person’s negligent action or inaction. Here are some factors to consider when determining if you need to speak to a burn injury attorney following a burn injury.
When are Burn Injuries Considered Catastrophic?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) over 1 million Americans each year suffer burn injuries that require medical attention. Of this number, at least 50,000 require hospitalization, 25,000 have burns on over 25% of their body, and at least 4,500 die. Additionally, 10,000 Americans die of burn-related infections each year.
Though the public often considers third-degree burns the most severe type of burn, there are actually four degrees of burns.
- First-degree burns can be treated with what is commonly found in a first aid kit.
- Second-degree burns cause blisters, and can require professional medical treatment, especially if they cover more than 10% of the body.
- Third-degree burns are the start of what are considered catastrophic burns. These permeate the skin to the layer of fat (adipose tissue) underneath and leave skin looking leathery, white, and waxy. Recovery may require skin grafts.
- Fourth-degree burns affect the muscle, organs, and bones, with the affected area often looking blackened or charred.
In the case of both third- and fourth-degree burns, victims may not feel pain because of nerve damage. This is one of the symptoms that can help distinguish between a second- and a third-degree burn at home. Since burns compromise the integrity of the skin, your body’s protection, these wounds are highly prone to infection, which can make it risky to treat even a moderate burn at home. It is always better to consult with a medical professional if you are unsure of the severity of a burn or if a burn appears to be getting infected.
Third- and fourth-degree burns aren’t not only the beginning of a long and challenging healing process but often have permanent life-altering effects. These include:
- Loss of motion
- Nerve damage
- Painful scar tissue
- Infection and other comorbidities
- Chronic pain
- Joint contracture
- Overheating (due to permanently melted pores)
These long-term effects are part of the reason severe burns are considered catastrophic. Do not attempt to treat serious burns unless you are a trained medical professional.
How is Liability Determined in Burn Injury Cases?
Here are some of the situations where another party might be deemed liable for catastrophic burn injuries:
- Car or Trucking Accident: When a car or truck accident happens due to another driver’s negligence, they can always be pursued for damages like lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills. This includes circumstances where a driver or passenger suffered severe burns.
- Defective Product: Manufacturers and retailers can potentially be held liable when a defective product results in catastrophic burns. Examples could include a defective toy, improperly manufactured or stored cosmetics that cause chemical burns, flammable clothing, defective appliances, flammable mattresses or bedding, holiday decorations, electronics, and more.
- House and Apartment Fires: Faulty wiring and other improper contracting work or maintenance are common causes of house and apartment fires. When a landlord knew about these issues and did not address them, they are responsible for burns and other injuries, losses, or damages suffered in the fire. The same liability would apply to a contractor or home inspector that knew about an issue but did not fix it or make it known to the owners.
How Can an Indiana Burn Injury Attorney Help?
When another party’s negligence caused or contributed to catastrophic burn injuries, a burn injury attorney can help Indiana residents seek justice in a few ways. Our team of experts have the compassion to listen fully to your story, and the insight to understand how the law applies to your case. We may consult with your doctors, family, friends, and employer(s) to appreciate the full impact these injuries had on your life or life of a loved one. This allows us to get a perspective on the extent of the damages you may be entitled to for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other future harms and losses. We know how to collect the evidence necessary to represent your story to its full effect under the law.
Our Lafayette Indiana Burn Injury Attorneys Can Help You
Whether you know negligence contributed to your personal injury, or just have questions and need answers, the attorneys of Bennett, Boehning, and Clary have the experience and compassion to support you through this time. We believe that every injury case is unique and can be decided on the smallest of details. Reach out to us at 765-742-9066 if you need an advocate and someone to fight for you.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.