The American Burn Association reveals that an average of 486,000 people are treated for burn injuries every year, whether in emergency rooms, hospitals, urgent care centers, clinics, or private medical offices. Many of these burns were the result of vehicle crashes, but defective products, dangerous household appliances, and workplace accidents also rank high on the list. Burns are a unique type of injury because they are excruciatingly painful. Plus, scarring and disfigurement can be severe, often leading to psychological issues and emotional distress.
Fortunately, Florida law provides you with rights if you suffered burn injuries in an accident that was not your fault. These claims can be complicated, however, so you will need solid representation from a Miami personal injury attorney. Some general information about burn injuries may also be useful.
Types of Burn Injury
You are probably familiar with the common classification of burn injuries into categories based upon severity. There are first-degree burns, which are minor and similar to a sunburn; on the other side of the scale are third-degree burns that are extremely severe. They are often fatal, but victims who survive endure agonizing pain and must often undergo multiple skin graft surgeries.
However, another approach to classifying burn injuries is the source of the harm. The four major categories are:
- Thermal burns caused by the actual flames from a fire or explosion, or through contact with an extremely hot object;
- Scalding burns from exposure to hot liquids, such as water or oil;
- Electrical burns resulting from loose wiring or a defective electrical appliance;
- Chemical burns caused when the skin is exposed to a corrosive or acidic substance.
In addition, though not widely recognized by the medical industry, radiological burns are a fifth classification. These burns can result from instruments and devices used in radiation therapy for patients being treated for cancer.
Complications and Long-Lasting Effects of Burn Injuries
In addition to the factors listed above, burn injuries are also unique because of the secondary effects. Besides the burn, the most critical complication is infection. Depending on the degree, a burn will affect the skin’s inner and outer layers. The dermis and epidermis exist to protect the interior of the human body from infection. When damaged or entirely destroyed by a burn, the skin cannot do its job. Infection is common and will definitely prolong the healing process.
Other effects from burn injuries, in the short and long term, may include:
- Tetanus, a bacterial disease that results from infection;
- Excessive blood loss;
- Shock, characterized by rapid, shallow breathing, a weak pulse, dizziness, fainting; and,
- Death, especially in the case of third-degree burns.
Contact a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Rights
For more information on your legal remedies as the victim of burn injuries, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can set up a free consultation to review your circumstances and determine your options. Our team serves clients throughout South Florida from our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, so we are prepared to advise you on your rights.
(image courtesy of Camilo Jimenez)