According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.1 million people receive burns that require medical attention each year. Of these, around 50,000 victims will be hospitalized, and 4,500 people will die. If you have suffered a burn in an accident, you might be entitled to compensation. An experienced burn accident attorney can help you determine next steps.Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can happen almost anywhere. At Slappey and Sadd, we have seen people injured by:
- Workplace accidents, such as electrocution or exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Automobile accidents, where the fuel tank ruptures or where motorists are injured from battery acid or antifreeze.
- Defective products that catch fire, such as clothing, bedding, or electronics.
There are several types of burn injuries classified by the cause of the burn, such as:
- Thermal burns: Heat, flames, or hot objects that burn the skin. For example, touching a hot grill or having clothes catch on fire can cause thermal burns.
- Scald burns: A hot liquid burns the skin. Often, hot water or cooking oil is the cause. Spilled hot coffee can also cause scald burns.
- Electrical burns: An electrical current can burn the skin and also cause considerable internal damage, such as heart attacks, broken bones, and neurological injuries. Electrocution burns are usually worse than they visually appear.
- Chemical burns: Chemicals that can burn the skin are usually found in an industrial setting but might also be present in common items like household cleaners.
Regardless of how you were burned, try to document the surrounding circumstances. For example, if you were burned by hot coffee, note the time when you purchased the coffee. Of course, you should always focus on obtaining immediate medical treatment for your burns so that you can minimize the damage.Severity of Burn Injuries
The severity of your burn will impact what treatment you need and what complications you might deal with. According to doctors, burns are classified based on how deeply their damage penetrates:
- A first-degree burn only damages the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. You can feel redness and pain from the burn. The skin might also swell.
- A second-degree burn damages both layers of skin, the dermis and epidermis. Second-degree burns can blister.
- A third-degree burn damages tissue underneath the skin, including nerves, fat, muscles, and tendons. A third-degree burn can cause devastating damage to a limb, even leading to amputation.
Your treatment will depend on the severity of the burn, as well as how much of your body was burned. For example, a small burn no more than two inches in diameter can usually be treated at home, provided it is only a first- or second-degree burn. You should apply a cold washcloth until the pain subsides. Avoid popping any blisters but do cover the burn with a sterile bandage. Also, you might be able to take over-the-counter medication to manage your pain.
First-degree burns should heal within a matter of days, and second-degree burns should heal within a couple of weeks. If they do not, then check with your doctor. Also look for signs of infection, such as puss, discolored skin, or increasing pain. To treat an infection, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics.
If you suffered a third-degree burn, or if your burns cover a large portion of your body, you should go immediately to the doctor. The doctor can assess the burn and determine proper treatment. For example, you might need skin grafts or amputation of an affected limb.Emotional Repercussions for Burn Victims
Burns scar more than bodily tissue. Burns can also cause severe emotional distress, which can be very difficult for victims to recover from. After a burn, victims report feeling:
Burn victims might also struggle to get to sleep, which can compound many other problems, such as depression and feelings of isolation. Indeed, emotional distress can also make other physical problems worse, delaying the ability of a victim to recover.
Burn victims often struggle to process how their lives will change because of the burn. They might worry about physical limitations and whether they will be able to maintain intimate relationships. Loss of independence is another large concern for burn victims. If a loved one has suffered devastating burn injuries, you should prepare for these fears and remind your loved one that you are there to support them.
To treat emotional distress, many patients benefit from support groups and psychotherapy. Patients might also need medication to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. Regardless of the precise treatment sought, burn victims often benefit from trying to improve their physical health as much as possible, by getting adequate sleep and eating a balanced diet.
Even with the world’s best treatment, the emotional trauma of a bad burn can linger for years. Some burn victims will feel permanently changed by the injury.What an Atlanta Burn Injury Lawyer can do for You
After a traumatic burn, victims and their families are usually not in the frame of mind to navigate Georgia's complicated insurance and legal systems. The claims process is time-consuming and complex, and it is always advisable to discuss your options with an experienced Atlanta burn injury lawyer.
If you have a valid legal case, then your lawyer will need to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party or their insurer. You might also need to file a lawsuit in court to protect your rights. At Slappey & Sadd, our lawyers have extensive experience fighting for compensation on behalf of our clients. While you focus on recovery, we will focus on making the person responsible for your burn injuries pay compensation.Talk to a Skilled Burn Accident Lawyer in Georgia Today
Unfortunately, you have only a limited amount of time to bring a lawsuit for compensation. Georgia's statute of limitation requires that accident victims bring a lawsuit within two years of the injury. If you wait too long, there could be a motion to dismiss your case. If you have been injured in an accident and received a serious burn, please contact an Atlanta burn injury lawyer at Slappey & Sadd as soon as possible to discuss your options. You can reach us online or by calling 404-255-6677.