The American Burn Association estimates that 486,000 people in the United States receive treatment each year for a burn injury. (ABA, Burn Incidence Fact Sheet). The State of Florida estimates that fire-related injuries cost Florida residents more than $57 million annually. (Florida Health, Unintentional Fires).
Burns are a common form of injury. They are painful and costly. Burns also vary in their severity.
As Coral Gables personal injury lawyers, we help people get fairly compensated when someone else is at fault for their injuries. Burns are a common type of injury we see. Burns are a type of personal injury – they may be included in a personal injury claim. A burn may result from a car crash, product malfunction, fire, friction, medical malpractice, and other causes.
A burn is damage to the skin from a heat source. It occurs when the skin is damaged from the exterior by encountering heat. (Mayo Clinic, Burns).
How does the skin burn?
If the skin encounters heat at too high a temperature, its tissues may become damaged and die. Whether the skin can heal depends on the severity of the burn, treatment, and other factors.
The skin has several layers. The epidermis is the outer layer. It is relatively thin. The dermis is underneath. The dermis contains the sweat glands and hair follicles. It also has nerve endings which communicate with the brain. Beneath the dermis, the fatty hypodermis (subcutaneous tissue) maintains temperature.
If a burn penetrates through all layers of skin, it exposes the muscle and bone.
Causes of Burn Injuries
- Heat (Thermal)
- Exposure to the sun
Fire is one way that a burn can occur. A burn can also be caused by dry heat, like touching a hot pan or a hot iron. In a car accident, friction from being thrown across the pavement can cause road rash. There are several ways that a burn can occur, including ways that result from personal injury accidents.
Degrees of Burns
Burns vary in their severity. Some burns damage only the outermost layers of skin, while others penetrate deep into internal tissue.
- First-degree burns: The least severe type of burns are first-degree burns. Another name for a first-degree burn is a superficial burn. It does not penetrate the outer layers of skin. It may turn the skin a pink or red color, and the person may experience discomfort.
- Second-degree burns: A second-degree burn penetrates the skin to the dermis. Blisters are common, and they may weep with a pink appearance. Second-degree burns commonly result from contact with hot liquids or surfaces. Some may heal without surgery, but skin grafting may be necessary.
- Third-degree burns: Third-degree burns destroy all layers of skin. Blisters are likely present, but they may not cause pain. Surgery is usually required.
The degree of the burn is an important factor in determining a victim’s prognosis. The shallower a burn, the faster the body can heal.
Burns and Personal Injury Claims
Is a burn a physical injury for a personal injury claim?
Yes. A burn is a type of physical injury for a personal injury claim. If a person suffers a burn injury because of the wrongful conduct of another person or party, they have a qualifying injury for a personal injury claim. Whether or not a person has other injuries, damages related to the burn may be a part of a claim for compensation.
What is a burn injury worth for personal injury compensation?
The value of a burn injury for personal injury compensation depends on its severity and the monetary expenses that the person incurs. Some of the types of damages they may claim are:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Skin grafting, surgery
- Wound dressing, over-the-counter dressings, and treatments
- Prescription medication, pain management
- Scars and disfigurement
- Cost of follow-up medical care
- Lost income if the person is unable to work
- Pain and suffering, emotional anguish
The cost of the victim’s medical care may be claimed as damages. In addition, the person may claim an amount for pain and suffering that is proportional to the severity of their injuries. Related costs, like time away from work for a severe burn, may also be a part of the claim. Our lawyers can help you understand how these costs are evaluated and how to prove them in your case.
Lawyers for Burn Injuries in Coral Gables
If you have suffered a burn injury, it may be the basis for financial compensation in a personal injury claim. Our lawyers at Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC in Coral Gables can evaluate legal fault and determine if you have a claim. Then, we work diligently to fully understand the losses that you have, both economic and non-economic.
Burn injuries often occur with other harm. We look at your entire case to ensure your compensation is complete.
Contact us today for more information and for a free consultation about your situation.