Bethesda Burn Injury Attorney
Burn injuries can be similar to car accidents, in the sense that they can occur when you least expect it. Was it a normal day, going to work or picking up the kids, and randomly you touch something that causes your skin to burn? Most of the time, burns happen in places or with objects that you would never expect a burn from. The best example is with electrical hardware that produces a shock to your body which in consequence burns the skin. The worst part is not the pain at the time of the burns that generally last more than a few minutes and in cases days, but the high risk of infection if not treated properly. If you have been badly burned through someone else’s negligence, contact Malloy Law Offices, LLC at (888) 291-6445, today. Our experienced Bethesda Burn Injury Attorneys are dedicated legal advocates for burn injury victims.
How Burn Injuries Can Occur?
Burn injuries can occur through a multitude of ways, including workplace injuries, auto vehicle accidents, and accidents due to negligently or poorly maintained premises, such as poorly repaired or maintained machinery, unsafe working or living conditions, or defective products. Other ways include dry heat (fire or heated implements), wet heat (steam or scalding liquids), friction, electricity, radiation, caustic chemicals, the sun, and even from exposure to severe cold, such as frostbite.
Types of Injuries
Burns can be caused by many different kinds of sources. The most common type of burn is caused by heat, also known as a thermal burn. Thermal burns can occur through wet or dry heat, such as a hot oil or grease spill, or fire, coming into contact with hot metal or heated implements like a malfunctioning electrical unit, or even scalding water caused by a broken water heater.
Chemical burns are caused by caustic chemicals that have come into contact with someone’s skin.
Some common situations may include workplace accidents, like a chemical spill. Others may include mislabeled products, or even cleaning solutions that were mishandled by employees at restaurants and stores, causing internal burns through food and drink contamination.
Electrical burns can occur almost anywhere there is a source of electricity. People repairing power lines are at risk, as well as electricians, and anyone attempting a repair of a damaged or defective product in their home or vehicle. Much less commonly, electrical burns can also be caused when someone is struck by lightning.
Medical professionals rank burns on a numerical scale according to severity.
- First-Degree: these are the least severe types of burns someone can receive. First-degree burns are generally characterized by mild to moderate pain in the burned area, and redness of the skin. Sunburn, wet or dry heat such as scalds from steam or liquids, coming into contact with a hot surface, and mild chemical burns, and friction burns, such as rug burn, can all cause first-degree burns. These are usually treated by applying cool water or cold compresses to the afflicted area, and covering with a loose bandage or gauze if needed.
- Second-Degree: these types are generally more severe than first-degree, but they can range in severity from mild blistering to blistering covering large areas of the body, or raw areas of skin where several layers have been removed. Second-degree burns come in two categories; superficial second-degree burns, and deep partial-thickness burns. Superficial second-degree burns are the less severe of the two. Blisters may form and the burn will be painful to the touch. With superficial second-degree burns, only part of the dermis, the second layer of skin, has been damaged. Generally, these types of burns do not tend to leave permanent scarring, as any damage incurred has not gone deep enough into the soft tissue. Deep partial-thickness burns, however, are more severe. These tend to have lasting scarring, as the heat or other means of burning the area has penetrated further, damaging more of the tissue. Second-degree burns are generally treated with cool water, pain relievers, and bandages or loose gauze. However, because these can become open wounds, an infection may set in. Doctors or other healthcare professionals will treat an infected burn wound with the appropriate medications.
- Third-Degree: these are some of the most severe types of burns. When someone has received a third-degree burn, heat, electricity, radiation, or some other type of agent has penetrated two layers of skin. Otherwise known as full-thickness burns, third-degree burns generally do not hurt because nerve endings have been damaged or destroyed. Third-degree burns do not blister, but instead take on a waxy appearance, with a white, yellow, brown, or black appearance. Some third-degree burns may also be charred, depending on the amount of heat and manner in which the person was burned. Electrical burns, burns caused by hot oil spills, and fires, such as motor vehicle accidents and fires that occur in buildings or residences can all cause third-degree burns. Because of the extent of the damage, skin grafts are often required, and range of motion and sensation can be greatly reduced. Amputation may also be necessary. Medical attention is always necessary when someone has suffered a third-degree burn, as they are at greater risk for infection, blood loss, and shock.
- Fourth-Degree: this is the most severe type of burn. All soft tissue, including all layers of skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are burned, as well as bone tissue. Fourth-degree burns are life-threatening, if not fatal, and always require excision of the burned tissue, if not amputation, depending on location and how much of the body was affected. People who suffer fourth-degree burns may be trapped in vehicle or building fires and cannot escape. Another way someone can receive a fourth-degree burn is through a workplace accident, especially if they work with highly flammable or unstable materials, like gases, incendiaries, and chemicals.
Treatment for Burn Injuries
Medical treatment for severe burns may include:
- Water-based treatments to clean and stimulate wound tissue
- Pain and anxiety medications
- IV fluids to prevent dehydration and organ failure
- Wound dressings to help burns heal
- Antibiotics to fight infection
- Tetanus shot
If the burned area is large or covers joints, you may need physical therapy to stretch the skin and keep the joints flexible. Victims who have suffered severe burns may need one or a combination of procedures, which may include:
- Breathing assistance: Burns on the face or neck can cause the throat to swell shut, in which case a breathing tube is inserted down the trachea (windpipe) to keep air supplied to the lungs.
- Procedure to ease blood flow: A burn scab that extends completely around a limb can tighten and cut off circulation. If the scab extends around the chest, it can make it difficult to breathe. In either case, a surgeon may cut the eschar (scab) to relieve the pressure.
- Feeding tube: People with extensive burns may need a feeding tube inserted through the nose to the stomach.
- Skin grafts: This is a surgery in which sections of healthy skin are taken from other areas of the body to replace scar tissue caused by deep burns.
- Plastic surgery: Reconstructive plastic surgery can improve the appearance of burn scars and increase the flexibility of the joints.
Recovering Damages in Burn Injury Cases
When a burn injury happened as a consequence of someone else’s negligence, then the victim is entitled to receiving monetary awards for their injuries, including lost wages, pain, and suffering, and medical bills. There are a lot of factors in determining how much of compensation the victim will receive, that is why a case evaluation is always recommended with a Bethesda personal injury attorney. Things that impact the monetary awards can be the severity of the burns, medical bills, loss of income, therapy needed, pain and suffering, and even sometimes the emotional distress that follows the accident.
Depending on the severity of the burn and other factors, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are only granted in very specific cases where malice and an intent to cause harm on the part of the defendant can be proven in court. A jury will award punitive damages based on these factors.
Why You Need a Bethesda Burn Injury Lawyer?
Burns can be life-altering injuries. Not only are they incredibly painful, but scarring, the manner in which the person was burned, and the severity of the burn all play into how long recovery will take, whether or not there was more significant damage, such as nerve damage, loss of range of motion, or even amputation, and change to the quality of life. If you or a loved one have suffered burns, contact a skilled personal injury attorney in Maryland for representation. They will be able to review the facts of the case, determine fault, and push for recovery of damages. Our trial lawyers have more than 15 years of experience and a history of success, recovering substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients. We believe that every person who suffers an accident has the right to claim the compensation he or she deserves. Our burn injury lawyers are dedicated to pursuing the maximum recovery available under the law. Contact our Bethesda Burn Injury Lawyers today for a free case evaluation.