According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year in the United States, 1.1 million people experience burn injuries that require medical attention. The amount of burn victims and the extent of their injuries might be shockingly high; however, every burn victim’s experience is different and personal. Seriously burned victims will have different experiences as they attempt to recover from their injuries and get their lives back together. Many complications can happen as a result of a burn injury such as scaring, infections, contractures, disfigurement, limited mobility, mental and psychological trauma, loss of function, ligament, muscle, or nerve damage, amputation of limbs or even death in more severe cases.
One of the results of a serious burn injury is physical pain and discomfort. Based on the severity of the burn, the physical pain can linger for weeks to months, and in some cases the rest of the victim’s life. The physical pain associated with burns can seriously impact all aspects of the victim’s life, such as their everyday activities, sleep, and their inability to go back to work.
Physical pain also has the ability to impact the victim’s mood. The ongoing pain and discomfort can be frustrating and result in depression and anxiety, preventing the individual’s ability to continue on with an otherwise normal life.
Types of Pain Associated with Burn Injuries
Healing after a burn injury can be a long and difficult journey. To ensure that your healing process is successful, it is important to be honest with your healthcare provider. Some victims tend to “tough it out.” However, your input is essential to assessing the level of your injury and providing you with the appropriate care.
In order to successfully heal after a serious burn injury, it is important for the victim to understand the different types of pain he or she might experience:
- Acute Pain: short-term, intense pain that victim’s experience during activities or procedures such as physical therapy or changing the dressing on the wounds.
- Breakthrough Pain: this type of pain goes in and out throughout the course of the day.
- Resting Pain: the “background” pain victim’s constantly feel all the time.
- Chronic Pain: pain lasts for more than 6 months after the wound has “healed”.
- Neuropathic Pain: pain caused by damage to or re-growth of the nerve ending in the skin where the victims experienced burn injuries.
Types of Burns
Although burns have a 94% survival rate, a burn is one of the most painful injuries a person can endure. Potential burn hazards are encountered throughout the course of everyday life, it is important to be aware of the different types of burns you can experience in different situations. Burns are a unique type of injury that require special treatment. The long-term consequences that burn victims endure require them to be transferred from normal medical facilities to “burn centers” where they can better focus on the burns.
Chemical burns can be the most painful and dangerous type of burns. These types of burns are incurred from a person’s skin coming in contact with a chemical. If the burn is strong enough, it may pierce through the skin and go further into the victims underlying bone, muscle or fat.
Gasoline and Motor Vehicle Accident
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), auto vehicle fires kill hundreds and injure thousands of people each year. Fires are a common result of accidents which can lead to burn injuries.
Industrial plants can pose a threat to industrial workers and people living close in proximity to them. Burn injuries are a common result of accidents that occur in plants such as chemical spills, explosions and machinery defects.
Types of Burns
First Degree Burns: Involve the top layer of skin. (ex. Sunburn)
- Painful to touch
- Skin shows mild swelling
Second-Degree Burns: involve the first two layers of skin
- Deep reddening of skin
- Glossy appearance from leaking fluid
- Possible loss of skin
Third-Degree Burns: involves a burn that penetrates the entire thickness of the skin and permanently destroys tissue.
- Loss of layers of skin
- Sometimes painless (Pain may be caused by patches of the 1st and 2nd degree burns which often surround the 3rd degree burns)
- Skin is leathery and dry
Third degree burns often require hospitalization and numerous surgeries that could go on for months. Initial treatment involves the removal of dead tissue and skin from the areas of the body that have been burned. Medical professionals then use skin grafts from parts of the body that have been unharmed to cover the burn areas. This invasive process involves the surgical removal of healthy skin, which is placed on top of the burns to initiate a quicker recovery. Unfortunately, even with these methods involves risk. Some patients experience loss of sensation or bleeding, while infection is one of the leading concerns. According to Medscape, over 61% of burn-related fatalities are result from infected wounds.
The trauma experienced by burn victims’ affects them for the rest of their lives. Among the mental problems associated with burns is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a severe anxiety syndrome that consists of a constant replay of the experience of from the traumatic accident. People with this problem heal at a very slow pace, both physically and emotionally. Additionally, the physical scars from the burns can lead to feelings of isolation and depression. These are symptoms of PTSD in burn victims:
- Obsessively recalling the incident
- Fear of fire
- Nightmares about the event
- Feeling emotionally incapacitated
- Being easily startled
- Experiencing flashbacks regularly
Complications of Burn Injuries
Scarring is an unavoidable outcome of burn injuries. While minor burns often heal, more severe burns may result in permanent scarring. Depending on the severity, the functionality of body parts may be lost. For example, the use of fingers can be dramatically impaired, depending on the severity of the burns.
The most effective time for helping to prevent burn scarring is during the treatment and healing process. Of course, all of this can cost considerable amounts of money, and might not be accessible for everybody. In a hospital, specialists work to prevent burn scarring through the use of treatments, and often give patients exercises to do, that may help increase the strength of the skin in the affected area. All of this medical treatment can leave burn victims considerably out of pocket. If the injury is a result of malpractice in the work place, or an act of malice by another person, you could have good grounds for pursuing a negligence lawsuit.
Burn Injury Lawsuit Elements
In this kind of lawsuit, the victim making the complaint holds the burden of proof. What this means is that you must provide the judge with enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is solely responsible for the injuries that were inflicted. Because of this, it really pays off to have the backing of industry experts, that can help you to build a factual case with as much solid evidence as possible. Having the backing of an attorney increases the likelihood that you win your case and get the compensation that you’re not only entitled to, but that you deserve.
Examples of Burn Injury Lawsuits
The following list details some common examples of burn injury lawsuits where the lawsuit is most likely to be found in favor of the person making the complaint.
- Your employer failing to issue with protective gear during a welding project
- A fire or explosion in the workplace that occurs as a result of an electrical fault
- Chemical burns that are a result of your workplace failing to correctly store hazardous materials
- An explosion or fire at a gas station that occurs due to a leaking pipe or storage chamber
In short, burn injuries can affect every aspect of your life. Severe burns are life-threatening injuries that result in life-changing consequences; money alone will never make up for your injuries. Burn injuries require special medical attention with experience in treating burns to rehabilitate patients and it takes an experienced legal staff to handle lawsuits for burn injuries to ensure that the victims get the compensation they need and deserve. For more information on burn injury lawsuits, and to talk to an expert burn injury lawyer to find out if you’re entitled to compensation, contact the team at Thompson Law today at 844-308-8180 and see what we can do for you.