When emergency responders and medical professionals treat a
burn injury victim, they will categorize the burn injury by one degree or another. Most often,
you will hear second-degree or third-degree burns, as these are the degrees
that require medical attention the most often. But what does this degree
system actually mean? Understanding the differences yourself could help
you bolster your chances of success if you ever need to file a lawsuit
after suffering a burn injury due to someone else’s negligence.
The Six Degrees of Burn Injuries
Although you rarely hear of them all, there are actually six degrees of
burn injuries, starting with:
First: A first degree burn will range from mild to nearly-nonexistent. Skin around
the burn will redden, gain increased sensitivity to heat, sunlight, and
hot water, and may peel slightly. Beyond cool water, ice, and aloe applied
to the wound, no medical attention is necessary and it will heal readily,
assuming there is no infection.
Second: A second degree burn can cause agonizing pain, depending on where it occurs.
Skin will whiten, dry up, and crack if moved too much. The wound should
be bandaged up after receiving medical treatment to avoid exposure to
sunlight, heat, and anything else that may worsen it. People who suffer
second degree burns should seek medical attention as soon as possible
to prevent permanent damage from occurring, especially if the burn affects
a joint, limb, or a broad area of the body. While second degree burns
often do not require skin grafting, they can still be excruciatingly painful
due to damaged nerve endings.
Third: A third degree burn causes excruciating pain and deep tissue damage, often
destroying muscles, nerves, and tendons. Skin affected by a third degree
burn may blacken and will blister extensively. Immediately medical attention
is required as third degree burns are often categorized by affecting 50%
or more of the body. Skin grafts may be necessary to treat the injury,
as well as surgery. In rare cases, amputation could be necessary to prevent
spread of infection or necrosis caused by the burn injury.
Fourth: A fourth degree burn is extremely dangerous and life-threatening, even
if it only affects a small area of the body. The burn will be so intense
that it destroys all flesh and bone in the area, possibly causing widespread
harm to internal organs. Amputation is often required. If emergency medical
attention is not immediately applied, the burn victim may not survive.
Fifth and sixth: There is little mention of fifth and sixth degree burns due to the fact
that burn injuries of this severity are not considered survivable. Extensive
areas of the body are completely destroyed by burns, likely caused by
prolonged direct exposure to open flames.
Building Your Claim & Seeking Compensation
When you file a
personal injury claim after suffering a burn injury, the liable party will likely challenge
how much compensation you are seeking. In order to back up the amount
you need, understanding the severity of burn injury degrees can help.
It is also wise to strengthen your case with the help of a professional
Birmingham burn injury lawyer from Glenda Cochran Associates Attorneys
at Law. With more than 25 years of legal experience under our belts, we
can provide you with the comprehensive and compassionate support you need
Call 888.906.3955 to schedule a free case evaluation
and ask about our contingency fees!