Burn injuries are fairly common in America. The American Burn Injury Association estimates that more than 400,000 people suffered burns serious enough to require medical treatment in 2013. Unfortunately for the victims, the process of recovering compensation often needs to start before the victims have had time to fully recover their health.
Having the aid of an experienced burn injury attorney early in that process can help speed the process up, maximize the chances of recovering compensation, and relieve the victims and their families of one source of stress during an incredibly stressful time.
Nature of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries damage or destroy human tissue. The deeper the burn goes into the skin, the more serious the injury. Burns are typically classified as:
- First degree – superficial reddening of the skin without blistering; affects only the outer layer of skin
- Second degree – more serious damage, with blistering and structural skin damage; affects several layers of skin
- Third degree – the most severe damage; all layers of skin are destroyed and the injury extends to the underlying tissue
Where Burn Injuries Happen
Burns may occur at any place and any time. They often happen during motor vehicle accidents. A ten year analysis of burn injuries serious enough for the victim to be admitted to a burn center found that the burns occurred while the victim was:
- In the victim’s own home (a full 72 percent of all victims)
- At work (9 percent of victims)
- On a highway or street (5 percent of victims)
- At a sporting or recreational event (5 percent of victims)
Consequences of Burn Injuries
As a general statement, serious burn injuries can cause:
- Severe long term physical injuries
- Intense pain
- Significant and very long lasting psychological and emotional trauma; some stemming from the memory of the burn event, some stemming from the scarring and/or deformity that results
Other Health Problems Associated with Burns
The most common secondary problems associated with serious burns are smoke inhalation that damages the respiratory system and a tendency to infections because the damaged skin no longer performs its protective function.
Depending on what materials are present in the material that burns in a fire, the victim may also suffer from inhaling toxic chemicals.
Scarring Has a Major Impact
Scars from a serious burn injury may severely impact every area of victims’ lives, including employment, recreation, and social interactions. The extent of the impact is usually not known until some time after the injury, and varies considerably from one victim to another. One of a burn injury attorney’s most important jobs is to understand how scarring is likely to affect the victim and to make sure that this is clearly demonstrated to lawyers for the defendants as well as to judges and juries.
The effect that scarring has on a specific victim varies depending on, among other things, the victim’s:
- Personality and character before the injury (confidence, adaptability, etc.)
- Available social supports, like family and friends; their reaction to the victim and the strength of the underlying relationship can play a major role
- Occupation; work that involves a lot of public contact is most likely to be affected
- Gender; in our society, appearance is still stressed more strongly for females than males. Also, scarring around the abdominal area will not stretch as well as normal skin, which could complicate any future pregnancy
- Stage of growth; scarring during a child’s growth period also causes problems because scar tissue doesn’t grow at quickly as the healthy tissue.
The Legal Help You Need in Maine
It takes a lot of money to pay for the consequences of a serious burn injury. For example, most victims of severe burns remain in specialized burn units for a considerable time. Costs just for that stay can reach more than $1,000,000. At Maine’s Jabar Injury Law, our experienced attorneys understand what burn injuries mean to the people—the victims and their families—who have to live through the consequences. We have a 30-plus year track record of success in obtaining compensation for seriously injured victims, recovering tens of millions of dollars.
Call today for a free consultation with an experienced burn injury attorney. We’ll take care of the investigating and the negotiating while you take care of the injury. There’s no fee unless you recover.