Burn injuries can represent chronic pain, loss of function and physical impairment. Unfortunately, some burn injuries are catastrophic enough to warrant amputation. Many individuals do not realize there are numerous types of inciting events and levels of severity to burn injuries.
People can suffer burns in many ways from a seemingly innocuous sunburn, which is a form of radiation burn, to fire damage resulting from a severe motor vehicle collision. Depending on several factors, the burn can fall into four degrees of severity:
- First-degree burns generally only represent skin damage. While painful, the burn commonly only affects the outer layer of skin. Redness and pain to the touch typify this level of burn damage.
- Second-degree burns damage the outer layer of skin as well as the layer underneath. Like a first-degree burn, the damage will hurt to the touch and appear red. An individual will also likely see swelling and blisters form around the damaged area. Depending on how deep the damage is, the injury could potentially leave a scar or cause a permanent reddening of the affected skin.
- Third-degree burns destroy two full layers of skin. While other burns turn red, a third-degree burn will likely appear black, brown, white or yellow. Even though the damage is visibly apparent, an individual will not often feel any associated pain as the burn damage is deep enough to impact nerve endings.
- Fourth-degree burns are potentially life-threatening. This is the most severe level of burn damage, destroying all layers of skin and impacting the muscles, tendons and bones in the damaged area.
No matter the source of the injury, it is wise to seek immediate medical guidance. A severe burn can lead to lasting damage and might cause an infection which can impact other body parts and internal organs. Do not hesitate to take steps to protect yourself and learn more about your options for monetary compensation from the parties liable for your injuries.