Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can leave long-lasting scars and produce long-term emotional and physical trauma for the victim. Whether the injury is the result of a chemical burn from a defective product or a burn caused by the negligence of a landlord, you might need an experienced burn injury lawyer to make sure you are compensated for your medical costs and suffering.

What causes burn injuries?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 1.1 million burn injuries that need medical attention each year in the United States. In addition, the American Burn Association reports that about 25,000 victims were admitted to the 128 burn centers across the country in 2010, an average of 200 per center.

Dry heat (such as fire), wet heat (such as steam or hot liquids), radiation, friction, heated objects, the sun, electricity, or chemicals can all cause burns injuries, which fall under the following classifications:
  • Thermal burns are the most common, and occur when flames, hot metals, scalding liquids, or steam come in contact with skin. This can happen during a house fire, vehicle accident, kitchen accident, or electrical malfunction. Those heat sources raise the temperature of the skin and tissues, which causes the death or charring of tissue cells.
  • Radiation burns are caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun, or to other sources of radiation, X-rays being the best-known.
  • Chemical burns are caused by strong acids, alkalies, detergents, or solvents coming into contact with the skin or eyes.
  • Electrical burns are caused by electrical currents, either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).


What are the classifications?

The most common categories of burn severity are:

  • First-degree burns damage the outer layer of the skin (or epidermis). These burns typically heal in 3-4 weeks, depending on the extent of the injury.
  • Second-degree burns damage both the outer layer and the layer beneath it (called the dermis). The injury looks red and blistered, and is often swollen and painful.
  • Third-degree burns are more severe because they destroy both layers of your skin. Hair follicles, sweat glands, and other tissues tend to also experience damage. The injury may look white, blackened, and charred.

Fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-degree burns exhibit many similar symptoms to third-degree burns but also include additional characteristics. These types of burns result in charring and loss of function of the affected area.

  • Fourth-degree burns involve injury to deeper tissues, such as muscle and tendons, as well as bone.
  • Fifthdegree burns will extend past the fat and start to burn through muscle.
  • Sixth-degree burns are the most severe burns; they produce injuries that result in charred bone, which most likely will require skin grafting or amputation.

What are the legal ramifications?

Burn injuries are among the most expensive and traumatic injuries to treat. Even a simple first-degree burn can become infected and  require medical treatment.

Third-degree burns – or worse – can take years of costly treatment, and they usually have a significant impact on the victim’s quality of life and ability to work.  Extensive burns can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment costs, repeat hospital admissions, and rehabilitation.

If  you were the victim of a burn injury because of someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people burned by the negligence of others. Contact him today for a free consultation.

Get Your Free Consultation With Burn Injury Lawyer

Avoid burn accidents at home

Many burn injuries occur at home. To avoid them, check the warnings on all devices, including appliances, gas fireplaces, and electric heaters, to name just a few. If you purchase liquid chemicals – for instance, those used for lighting fires, those used for cleaning surfaces, or chemicals for a pool – be sure to read the safety instructions first. Perhaps most important of all, make sure everyone in the family is aware of that information.

Additionally, to keep your family safe:

  • Install smoke detectors.
  • Teach your children fire-safety techniques.
  • Do not let children near open stoves and grills when cooking.
  • When using a grill, make sure it is far from combustible materials.
  • Do not sprinkle gasoline, ethanol, or alcohol onto a fire to speed it up.
  • Never cook if you are exhausted or intoxicated.
  • Install a sprinkler system to protect your home from a fire if you are home or not.
  • Finally, keep devices that are for adult use only out of the reach of children.