Burn injuries in the United States happen all too frequently. The American Burn Association estimates that 500,000 people seek emergency room visits or other medical treatments for burn injuries each year. Of those who survive burn injuries, 10% require hospitalization, with many spending time in burn rehabilitation centers. For the most severe burn cases, recovery is long and uncertain. You’re not alone. Burns that results from recklessness or negligence may allow you to seek compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Here’s a primer on burn injuries.
What Is a Burn Injury?
Burns cause damage to your skin and other internal tissues that can range from mild to very serious and very painful. This can also lead to complications such as infections that may require urgent and ongoing care. There are six common sources of burn injuries:
- Fires or open flames.
- Hot liquids that cause scalding injuries
- Electricity, such as touching an open circuit or stepping in water that’s been electrified.
- Chemicals, such as contact with corrosive liquids.
- Accidents, such as from touching a hot iron.
- Sunshine, in excessive amounts, can lead to serious sunburns that require medical care.
The severity of burns will vary depending on the source, circumstance, and extent of your exposure to the heat. The longer you are in contact with an open flame, for instance, the deeper and more severe the burn becomes.
How Are Burns Evaluated?
Medical professionals use a standard scale to characterize the level or degree of seriousness of burns. Burns are broken into degrees ranging from first to third.
First-degree burns are the least serious and generally only cause damage to the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. Many first-degree burns can be treated at home, but they will likely result in some level of discomfort depending on where on your body you have been burned. Second-degree burns go to the second layer of skin, known as the dermis. Signs of a second-degree burn include blisters, swelling, and red, white, or splotchy skin and will require medical treatment. Third-degree burns are the most serious because they reach the level of skin known as subcutaneous tissue. Signs of third-degree burns include skin that turns leathery and waxy and takes on a tan or white color. Third-degree burns can also damage or destroy muscles, tendons, or other parts of the body.
No matter the degree, if you have been burned in a situation involving someone’s reckless or negligent behavior, it’s wise to seek a medical evaluation. Documenting your injuries can help position you for success if you decide to file a personal injury claim or personal injury lawsuit.
How Are Burn Injuries Treated?
Third-degree burns require the most extensive types of treatment, and will likely require hospitalization and additional time afterward in burn centers for treatment and rehabilitation. It’s a painful and expensive road to recovery, which is why it’s important to keep all options open in terms of obtaining proper compensation. Almost all third-degree burn cases require skin grafts to replace the damaged skin.
The most serious burn cases require a team approach. According to Stanford Health Care, someone with third-degree burns may require assistance with:
- Complex wound care.
- Pain management.
- Physical therapy.
- Occupational therapy.
- Cosmetic surgery.
- Mental health counseling for the individual and the family.
- Nutritional counseling.
First and sometimes second-degree burns can be treated carefully with basic first-aid techniques. Run the affected area under cool water, keep it clean, apply first-aid ointment or skin location and apply clean bandages. You may need over-the-counter pain relievers to ease your discomfort.
When Should You Hire an Attorney?
If you feel your injuries resulted from recklessness or negligence, it makes sense to hire an attorney as soon as you feel well enough after your injuries. The circumstances that led to the burns may involve complex legal and factual issues.
An attorney can help investigate what happened and instruct you on the types of documentation you need to collect and present to support your claim. Your attorney can also free you from engaging with insurance companies. If you start with an insurance claim against the opposing party, the insurance company will likely try to settle as quickly as possible for the least amount possible. Early in the case, you will be focusing on your recovery and are quite vulnerable.
Under Nevada law, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim or lawsuit. While that sounds like a long time, much work goes into properly filing a case. Let the personal injury attorneys at De Castroverde Law shoulder that burden. Our experienced team can work directly with the insurance company to negotiate a proper settlement. If all else fails, then our teams will guide you on the steps needed to file a personal injury lawsuit.
What Compensation Can You Recover?
Burn injuries fall under Nevada’s personal injury statutes, which also cover incidents such as car accidents and slip-and-fall accidents. Under Nevada law, that means that, if you can prove negligence or recklessness, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical costs, both for your care up to the filing of the incident and amounts that might be required for future care, such as ongoing physical therapy.
- Lost wages, as compensation for the time you’ve missed from work because of your injuries or the need to seek treatment.
- Pain and suffering, for the emotional damages caused by burn injuries.
If someone in your family passed away following a burn injury, the attorneys at De Castroverde Law can also help by filing a wrongful death case. Survivors can obtain compensation for health care and funeral expenses, loss of earning capacity, and loss of companionship.
The attorneys at De Castroverde Law have extensive experience in all types of personal injury cases, including burn injury cases. We will work with you to understand the circumstances that led to the burns and make a recommendation for the best way to proceed to obtain the compensation you deserve. Our team can help guide you on the proper documentation you need to collect and manage any pressing deadlines. Don’t wait another minute to get going on your claim. Contact us online for a free initial consultation.