Patient with burns wound in burn unit at the hospital

What to Do If You Have Suffered a Burn Injury

Always Take Burns Seriously

Burns are serious injuries, and if you have been burned or scalded, you should seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Even if a burn seems small, it is important to have your burn treated by a medical professional. You may not realize how deeply a burn has penetrated your skin, and the situation may be more serious than you realize. When it comes to burns, it is always best to be cautious.

Burns are classified into degrees denoting their severity:

  • First-degree burn: the least severe type of burn that typically only affects the epidermis. Healing can take five to 10 days. If you've had a mild sunburn, you've experienced a first-degree burn.
  • Second-degree burn: more severe than first-degree burns, this type of burn often results in blistering. Healing times vary, and recovery can take two to eight weeks.
  • Third-degree burns: these burns are very serious and penetrate the entire dermis. Recovery typically takes months, and some people never fully recover.
  • Fourth-degree burns: these burns are the most serious and penetrate through both layers of the skin and affect underlying tissues, muscles, and bone. These types of burns may result in amputation.

Common Causes of Burns

Burn injuries are incredibly common. Hot surfaces, open flames, hot water, steam, friction, chemicals, electrical components, and radiation exposure can result in burns. Additionally, you may experience burns after being involved in a collision, explosion, or other accident. No matter what causes them, burn injuries can be incredibly traumatic.

Steps to Take After Suffering a Burn Injury

It is not uncommon for a serious burn injury to result in a long recovery period, significant pain, and long-term or permanent disabilities. After a burn injury, you may also be in a situation where you cannot go to work because of your injuries. For example, even a small burn on your hands can leave you unable to perform basic tasks, let alone work, go to school, or take care of your family.

Many people are burned through no fault of their own. Burns caused by defective products, malfunctioning appliances, or someone else’s negligence or recklessness is common. For example, a malfunctioning water heater may scald you or a family member, or a defective kitchen appliance can burn you while you are making dinner. Workplace accidents are another common cause of burn injuries.

After you have sought medical treatment for your burns, you should assess your situation and consider your legal options.

Reach Out to an Experienced Lawyer

If you have suffered a burn injury, it is worth speaking with an attorney to discuss your legal options. Many people are surprised to find out that they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. A skilled lawyer familiar with handling burn injuries can help you determine if you have grounds to file a suit against the responsible party.

You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Rehabilitation and long-term care costs
  • Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering

Document the Incident & Your Injuries

When pursuing your case, you should do your best to document everything that happened and take detailed photographs of your injuries. For example, if a malfunctioning water heater caused your burn, collect all information regarding the water heater's make and model, including pictures of the unit. If there are witnesses who can speak to what happened, gather their information, and pass it along to your lawyer. You also want to keep track of all paperwork, communications, bills, etc. associated with your injury.

Additionally, because burn injury cases can take months to resolve, you should document your injuries over time. Hold onto all medical documentation regarding your injuries and keep track of the doctors and healthcare workers you are referred to throughout your recovery. If you are not sure if something is relevant, hold on to it anyway and pass it on to your lawyer. Your legal team will help you determine what documentation will be necessary for your case.

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