A burn injury describes damage to the skin – and sometimes the deeper tissues and muscles – from contact with a dangerous item. Identifying your type of burn injury, as well as the severity of the burn, can help you know what to do after you get injured, such as whether you need to go to the hospital. Use this guide for basic information about burn injury types and severities.
Five Types of Burn Injuries
First, there are different types of burns according to the source or cause of the injury. Although burns from sources of fire or heat are the most common, the skin and surrounding tissues can get damaged from contact with other substances or energy sources, as well. The five types of burn injuries are:
- Thermal: A thermal burn happens from contact with a source of heat, such as flames, scalding liquids or steam.
- Electrical: Electrical burns come from exposure to electricity, such as a live wire or lightning bolt. Electrical burns can pass through the body, not just affect the surface of the skin.
- Chemical: Acidic or base chemicals can be harsh enough to burn the skin or underlying tissues.
- Radiation: Sources of radiation, such as x-rays and the sun, can cause radiation burns from overexposure.
- Cold burns: Temperatures that are too cold can also cause burns, known as frostbite. Direct contact with something very cold for a long time can cause frostbite.
It is important to recognize the source of your burn injury, as different types of burns require different treatment methods. Tell your doctor exactly what happened and what caused your burn. Once the type of burn injury is identified, your doctor will classify your burn based on severity for a treatment plan.
Burn Injury Severity
Categorizing a burn injury based on severity is just as critical as recognizing the cause of the burn. Burn injuries require different medical care based on how deeply they affect the skin and underlying tissues. The levels of burn injury severity are called degrees. Most scales use three burn injury degrees, with first-degree the least serious and third-degree the most serious:
- First-degree. A first-degree burn affects the uppermost layer of skin, known as the epidermis. It can cause pain, redness and swelling.
- Second-degree. A second-degree burn reaches the second layer of skin – the dermis. If you have blistering, you have a second-degree burn. The skin can also appear bright red, swollen or wet.
- Third-degree burn. A third-degree burn reaches the deeper tissues, including muscle and bone in the most severe cases. It may appear white, yellow or brown, and may not be painful if the nerve endings are destroyed.
Some physicians use four degrees and classify a third-degree burn as one that destroys two full layers of skin and a fourth-degree burn as the definition listed for third-degree above. Either way, if you believe you have a burn injury that is more serious than a first-degree burn – or a first-degree burn that is larger than four inches or in a vulnerable place on your body – go to a hospital for immediate medical care.
How to Recover Financial Compensation After a Burn Injury
If you or a loved one suffered a burn injury in Arizona under preventable circumstances, such as a car accident, workplace accident, structural fire or because of a defective product, contact a Glendale burn injury lawyer to discuss your ability to file a claim and recover financial compensation (damages). You may be eligible for a monetary recovery.
If another person or party should have prevented your burn injury, they may be responsible for paying for your medical bills and other expenses. The value of your claim is something that you can discuss with an attorney. Be sure to contact a lawyer before accepting an insurance settlement, as an insurance company might not treat you fairly until you have legal representation. Call (623) 847-7117 today for a free consultation.