Think “burn injury”, and your next thought may be “fire”. But fires are only one common cause of burn injuries, along with motor vehicle accidents, chemical burns, scalds, and explosions. Overall, burn injuries ranks as the second leading cause of accidental death, following auto accidents.
Why are serious burns so deadly?
Your skin, the largest organ of the human body, is designed to protect tissue and internal organs from the elements, dirt and infection. A burn, especially a severe burn, compromises this protection, exposing tissue and organs. Infection is a leading cause of death among burn victims.
Which types of burn injuries are most serious?
Burn injuries are classified by degrees. A first degree burn is the least severe – perhaps you touched a hot iron with your fingers or received a mild sunburn while on vacation. This type of burn usually heals easily and does not require emergency medical treatment. Second degree burns are more serious, affecting both the first and second skin layers. Blistering is a symptom, and you may or may not require medical attention. A third degree burn is the most severe, affecting underlying tissue as well as all three layers of skin. Emergency medical attention is definitely needed at a specialized burn center. You will experience severe pain and scarring and likely require a long period of various types of treatment.
What are the costs associated with treating my burn injury?
In the United States, greater than 125 burn centers exist to treat patients with varying degrees of burn injuries. Severe burns generally require long-term hospital care that includes skin grafting, rehabilitation, psychological counseling, and other crucial treatments. Beyond the physical care lies emotional trauma, which may extend beyond the patient to his or her family’s emotional needs related to the patient’s injury. Specific costs depend on the extent of the injury. Emergency department services alone can cost several hundred thousands of dollars. Add to this lost wages, costs associated with rehabilitation, reconstructive surgery, counseling and other expenses, and it is not unusual to find the total cost of burn injury treatment reaching into the millions of dollars.
What is the Importance of treatment at a burn center?
Burn treatment is highly complex, requiring a team of specialists which may include one or more surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, respiratory and rehabilitation therapists, nutritionists, psychological counselors and exercise physiologists. This diverse, trusted team works together to help the patient heal, coordinating care under the skillful leadership of the surgeon to maximize treatment and recovery.
If my burn injury is someone else’s fault, can I sue?
If you believe your burn injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness, or a defective product, you may be able to file a burn injury claim seeking compensation to help you manage the ongoing costs of burn treatment and assist with other financial concerns, such as replacement of lost wages.
Speak to a knowledgeable burn injury attorney to learn more about your rights.