According to the American Burn Association, in 2018, burn injuries continued to rank among the leading causes of unintentional death and injury in the United States. In fact, the same organization reports that approximately 450,000 people suffer burn injuries each year in the United States that require either emergency room medical treatment or hospitalization. Because these statistics indicate that burn injuries occur more frequently than one may suspect, it is important to understand the types of burn injuries that may occur, the medical treatment that may be administered to treat burn injuries, and the common causes of burn injuries. The aim of this blog post is to explain what burn injuries are, how they are treated, and how they are commonly caused.
What is a Burn Injury?
A burn injury is a wound, often to the skin, that is caused by a body part coming into contact with objects of extreme temperatures. While burn injuries typically result from coming into contact with objects that emanate extreme heat, burn injuries also occur if the body comes into contact with objects that emanate extreme cold.
Types of Burn Injuries
While the definition of the term “burn injury” is rather simple, the medical community, in treating burn injuries, created a tier system for burn injuries to indicate a particular burn injury’s degree of severity. For this reason, you may commonly hear burn injuries specifically described as first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree and deeper burn injuries.
- First-Degree Burn Injuries: First-degree burn injuries are the mildest form of burn injuries. When a first-degree burn injury occurs, it only damages the outermost layer of the skin called the epidermis. Oftentimes, this type of injury does not cause scarring or infection and will typically heal within 3-5 days. Signs of first-degree burn injuries include redness of the skin, but not breaking of the skin.
- Second-Degree Burn Injuries: Second-degree burn injuries are more severe than first-degree burn injuries in that second-degree burn injuries cause damage to the outermost and second outermost layer of the skin, which is called the dermis. Signs of second-degree burn injuries include redness of the skin, swelling, and formation of blisters on the skin.
- Third-Degree Burn Injuries: Third-degree burn injuries are the second most severe burn injury one can sustain. When third-degree burn injuries occur, both the epidermis and dermis are damaged as well as the tissue beneath the dermis. Signs of third-degree burn injuries include the appearance of charring of the skin that is either black, white, or deep red in color and numbness of the affected area to light touch. Unlike first and second-degree burn injuries, third-degree burn injuries cannot heal on their own.
- Fourth-Degree Burn Injuries and Deeper: Fourth-degree burn injuries and injuries deeper than fourth-degree burns are the most severe type of burn injury. When a fourth-degree or deeper burn injury occurs, the epidermis, dermis, underlying tissue, and sometimes bone is damaged or destroyed. Essentially, the skin, fatty tissue, muscle, and sometimes bone will be damaged or destroyed if a person suffers fourth-degree or deeper burn injuries.
Burn Injury Treatment
While every burn injury is treated on a case-by-case basis, the techniques used to treat the injury will often be the same depending on the degree of the burn suffered. First-degree and second-degree burn injuries often heal on their own and all that may be needed to treat these types of injuries include applications of soothing creams and taking ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling of the skin. Third-degree, fourth-degree, or deeper burn injuries may be treated by administering IV-fluids and medications to the injured, applying dressings to the burns, performing debridement of damaged skin or other tissue, and performing other surgical procedures like preparing and performing a skin graft procedure.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can occur in many ways. However, some of the most common causes of burn injuries include the following:
- Building fires
- Gasoline and other flammable fluid spills
- Electrical and industrial accidents, including the mixing of volatile chemicals
- Getting into a motor vehicle accident
- Use of defective candles, lighters, and matches
Contact an Edison Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Burn Injury Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious burn injuries due to a fire, explosion, or another reason in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.C. represent clients injured because of fires and explosions in Edison, Point Pleasant, Woodbridge, Freehold, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 709-7992 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820, as well as offices in Freehold, Brick, and Point Pleasant, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.