Burn Injuries and Scarring Due To Accidents
Few catastrophic injuries cause more physical, emotional and financial damage than serious burns and scars. With serious burns and scars, the pain can be excruciating, the disfigurement life-altering and the medical expenses stratospheric.
If you’ve suffered serious burns and/or scars in a Sacramento accident, or a California Wildfire, you may be just coming to terms with the difficult road that lies ahead. If your accident was caused by someone’s negligence, seeking justice may be the last thing on your mind. Nevertheless, the law is on your side, and the person/entity that caused the accident is legally required to fully compensate you for your injuries – to make you whole again. The Sacramento personal injury attorneys and burn injury lawyers at Demas Law Group, P.C., can help you achieve that goal.
The Serious Effects of Burns and Scars
It is difficult to overstate the seriousness of accidents that cause major burning and/or scarring. Burn injuries are the second-leading cause of accidental fatalities in the United States, after motor vehicle collisions. More than 2 million people suffer burn injuries every year; 650,000 of those injuries require medical treatment. Some 75,000 people are hospitalized and approximately 20,000 of those victims have burns that cover more than 25 percent of their bodies.
We tend to forget that the skin is both the largest and one of the most important organs of the body. The skin protects our internal organs from injury, regulates our internal body temperature and contains thousands of nerve endings that provide us with the sense of touch. When a large area of the skin is burned and/or scarred, these and other vital functions can break down, sometimes irrevocably. Burns heal more slowly than other injuries, and often the pain doesn’t go away after the healing process has been completed. Numerous medical procedures, such as painful skin grafts, may be required. The scars that remain serve as a constant, lifelong reminder that you are no longer the person you were before your accident.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
There are a wide number of different types of accidents that can cause serious burns and scars. Flaming motor vehicle collisions are one of the most common culprits. Scalding injuries are the leading cause of accidental death for children in the home. Defective products, such as flammable clothing, can lead to burns that cover a large portion of the body. Industrial accidents involving caustic chemicals can cause frightening damage.
What Else Causes Scarring?
Most major burns cause significant scarring, but scarring can also result from accidents that don’t involve burns. For example, motor vehicle collisions that don’t result in fire can still cause major scarring. A pit bull attack can leave the victim disfigured for life. An accidental fall on improperly maintained property or on a construction site can lead to horrific scarring. Serious “road rash” from a bicycle accident may require skin grafts. Like burns, scarring that covers a large area of the skin can disrupt vital bodily functions.
Contact Our Sacramento Burn Injuries Lawyers Today!
Medical treatment for major burns and scarring is complex and expensive. If someone caused your accident, don’t try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. Chances are you will not be fully compensated for your medical expenses, not to mention your pain and suffering. That’s why it’s important to contact one of the experienced Sacramento injury lawyers at Demas Law Group, P.C., as soon as possible after your accident.
This literature may be considered attorney advertising or an offer of professional services, according to rule 1-400 Rules of Professional Conduct by the State Bar of California. The information does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your potential legal matter.
Below are some steps we recommend you take following your accident:
- Get immediate medical treatment
- Take photographs and or video of the accident scene, property damage, and the injuries sustained
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses to the accident
- Report accident to your insurance company
- Do not give any recorded statements to or sign any papers from the insurance company. This includes email!
- Monitor/document your injuries: take photographs of your burns and scars every couple of weeks, and keep notes on how you are feeling.
- Contact one of our lawyers skilled in burn cases for a free initial consultation.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of first degree, second degree and third degree burns. There is also a fourth degree, the most serious of all burn injuries and often fatal. The level of severity is ranked from least to worst:
- First degree burn: This occurs when only the upper level of skin, the epidermis, is damaged. Sunburn is a common example, and these types of injuries generally heal quite quickly with no scarring.
- Second degree burn: These burns destroy the epidermis and go deeper into the second layer of skin, the dermis. They often result in scarring and/or changes in skin tone. Serious cases may require skin grafts.
- Third degree burn: In this case, the burn destroys the epidermis and the dermis as well as tissue underneath the two layers of skin, including the nerve endings. Again, the skin tone may vary widely on and around the area of the injury, and significant scarring may result. These burns almost always require skin grafts and can even be fatal.
- Fourth degree burn: These burns go all the way down to the bone. They are often fatal, and if not, the burned limbs must be amputated.
Injuries causing severe burns can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone. Some of the most common causes of burn injuries are:
- Scalding: These occur when hot liquid, usually water, comes in contact with the skin. Even bath water can be hot enough to scald, and scalding is the leading cause of fatalities for children in the home.
- Contact burns: If you’ve ever touched a red-hot electric stove burner, you know what a contact burn is. The longer the contact, the more severe the burn.
- Electrical burns: When the skin is exposed to electric current, it burns. The severity of the burn depends on the length of contact and the strength of the electrical circuit.
- Ultraviolet burns: Sunburns are caused by ultraviolet rays. Tanning beds use ultraviolet rays and when improperly maintained, they can cause serious second degree burns.
- Chemical burns: Caustic chemicals are everywhere, from cleaning solutions in the home to powerful solvents in the workplace. They are very dangerous because the burn often continues until the chemical is neutralized.
- Inhalation burns: When caustic chemicals become airborne, they can be breathed into the lungs, causing serious and lifelong damage.
Scars are permanent–they don’t go away. The most common scarring injuries are caused by burns and their medical treatment, lacerations such as jagged wounds and cuts caused by broken glass, and facial injuries that can be permanently disfiguring. The different types of scars are:
- Keloid scar: These develop when thick scar tissue spreads beyond the original wound. They start out red or pink and are raised and bumpy, but eventually turn to a tan color.
- Hypertrophic scar: These are similar to keloid scars, but they don’t expand beyond the area of the wound.
- Contractures: These scars are often the result of skin grafts. When scarred skin is repaired, the graft may not be as elastic as the original skin, limiting mobility.
Where can I obtain more information about filing a Sacramento personal injury claim and what my case may be worth?
Given the complexity of such cases, we urge you to contact one of our personal injury experts for additional information and advice. You may also find answers to the questions below by visiting our General FAQs page:
- How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a burn and or scar injury?
- The insurance company is offering a settlement. Do I still need an attorney?
- What can I get compensated for after a burning and/or scarring accident?
- What is the value of my personal injury case?
Remember, there is never a charge for a consultation, and all of our cases are taken on contingency, which means if we don’t win, you don’t pay.
- Extensive review of Long-Term Treatment and Care Issues for Burn Survivors and links to other resources: www.burn-recovery.org
- Wikipedia lists most of the burn treatment centers in the United States, including 15 facilities in California. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_burn_centers_in_the_United_States