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What To Do If You've Suffered A Burn

A burn injury can be minor – such as when you accidentally touch your curling iron – or much more serious. Beyond your personal well-being, the potential property damage related to burns can be catastrophic; electrical fires have been known to burn down houses. If the burn was caused by someone else’s negligence, you need a competent burn injury attorney by your side who will fight on your behalf for fair compensation.

Common Causes of Burn Injuries

Nearly 75 percent of all burn injuries happen inside the home; boiling water, the inside of an oven or the top of a stove make people susceptible to burn injuries of varying severity. There are three types of of burn injuries:

  • Thermal – This includes scalds, flash burns, contact with hot materials, and direct flames. Inhalation burns are another type of thermal burns.
  • Electrical – Usually caused by AC or DC current and can create a serious internal burn injury. Also includes chemical burns, caused by acids or alkali substances.
  • Radiological – These are caused by any type of radiation, such as a sunburn or an X-ray.

Usually, a sunburn or contact with a hot material is brief and, while it hurts, will not leave a lasting scar and heal on its own within a few weeks at most. However, some can be much more traumatic. These are the four classifications of burn severity:

  • First degree burns – Typically result in redness but do not blister the skin. Second degree burns cause skin to blister and thicken some.
  • Second degree burns – These are the most painful, as any more serious burns kill nerves that dull the pain.
  • Third degree burns – Often result in widespread thickening of skin and destroys all layers of the skin. These burns can appear black or white and will be leathery in texture.
  • Fourth degree burns – These are usually fatal. They extend through the skin and into muscle and bone.

The amount of the body which ends up burnt also dictates severity and how doctors will go about treatment. A minor burn means that less than 10 percent of the body is burned in an adult, and less than five percent in young or elderly. A major burn is more than 20 percent in an adult, and 10-20 percent in the young or elderly.

Treatment of Burn Injuries

Immediate attention should be paid to all burn injuries to avoid permanent damage such as scarring. Treatment depends on how bad the burn is.

  • For minor burns, soothe the pain by holding it under cool, not cold, running water for 10 minutes. A damp towel would work as well. If it’s your finger or hand that’s been burned, remove jewelry as soon as possible in case the area starts to swell. Aloe vera or moisturizer will help to heal the area, particularly if it’s a sunburn.
  • For major burns – second degree and worse – you’ll need to be very careful about how you treat it. Professional medical attention will usually need to be sought here. In the immediate aftermath of the burn, do not break any blisters and do not use ice or cold water. This can increase the damage. If the burn is very bad, elevate the area above heart level and cover the burn with a moist bandage or cloth until you can get to a doctor.

Burn Injury Lawsuit

If your burn injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to file a claim for compensation. The employer has a duty to ensure their employee’s safety. If you work in construction or a related field, and you suffer burns from prolonged exposure to heat or the equipment, this could be grounds for filing a claim against your employer. The same could be said if you are a chef and you slip while carrying a pot of boiling water, or if you are in a car accident and your vehicle catches fire as a result of the collision.

The air in Kansas City, particularly in the winter, can be very dry, which increases the risk of a fire. If you sustain a burn injury from a fire, explosion or even a chemical spill, Cullan & Cullan, LLC can assess what you should be owed for personal injury and property damage that a fire or spill may have caused. Call us today for your free consultation.


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Based on the latest government precautions, our team has moved to working remotely. If you need to get in touch, we’re still here to answer your questions via phone and email.

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