To put it simply, burns hurt. They’re one of the most painful injuries a person can experience, even when they’re minor. Burns happen when the tissues in the body are damaged by contact with heat, electricity, or exposure to chemicals.
The American Burn Association reports that more than 450,000 people are treated for burn injuries each year. They also note that, in 2014, more than 3,200 people died from burn- and smoke-related injuries. Burn injuries are not only common, but also potentially severe and life-threatening.
Three types of burns
We’re all aware of the three levels of burns—first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree, with third-degree being the most catastrophic. However, there are also three different types of burns. Although they may happen differently, they’re all capable of producing first-, second-, and third-degree burns.
- Thermal burns. These are the most common kind of burn. They happen when flames, hot objects, steam, or scalding liquids come into contact with the skin. A person might suffer thermal burns in a kitchen accident, house fire, or car crash.
- Chemical burns. These types of burns are caused by chemicals with strong acids or bases. The problem with chemical burns is that the acids will continue burning the tissues until the chemicals are completely removed from the body. The eyes are particularly sensitive to chemicals, and if they’re not completely and immediately flushed from the eyes, a victim could lose their vision.
- Electrical burns. Electrical burns happen from contact with an electrical current. The severity of the burn depends on the strength of the current and how long the person is exposed to the current. At high levels, a person can suffer permanent organ damage.
Risk factors for burn injuries
Everyone is susceptible to burn injuries. However, there are certain groups of people who are at an increased risk. For example, the elderly tend to suffer burns more than others because they have slower reaction times that don’t allow them to avoid potential dangers fast enough. Additionally, children are often burned around the house because they are curious and don’t have experience with hot or burning objects.
There are also common household items that can cause burns through no fault of your own:
- Defective or faulty electrical wiring
- Malfunctioning appliances like stoves and space heaters
- Faulty water heaters
- Improperly labeled cleaning or industrial supplies (bleach, oven cleaners, etc.)
Recovering from a burn injury
Treatment for a burn injury is painful and can last a long time. Patients may have to deal with scarring disfigurement. Depending on the severity of the burn, patients may undergo skin grafts or surgeries, which are costly and take time from which to recover. Burn victims may also need counseling and physical therapy in order to acclimate to life post-injury.
If your burn injury was the result of somebody else’s carelessness or negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. This could include compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost wages. The North Dakota burn injury lawyers at Larson Law Firm, P.C. can tell you more. To schedule your free initial consultation with an attorney, call our Minot office at 701-484-4878, or fill out our contact form.
Mark Larson is a Certified Civil Trial Specialist and Certified Civil Pre-Trial Specialist focusing on personal injury, motor vehicle, wrongful death, and oil field claims. Since 1979, Larson Law Firm has served the injured throughout North Dakota. Read more about Mark V. Larson