American Bar Association
American Association for Justice
The Florida Bar 1950
Florida Justice Association

Burn Injuries

Serious Burns: Compensation for Damages

Severe burns are some of the most difficult to resolve medically. Not only is the actual injury extremely painful, the treatments to try to resolve the damage to the skin and muscle can take place over years, to try to get some improvement in the appearance of the damaged skin. The emotional and physical scarring is often extensive, and usually will last a lifetime. Burn injuries can take place through a violent car accident, truck accident, through toxic exposure, electrical accidents, explosions and other incidents. If you or your loved one has been seriously burned, we urge you to contact our Miami personal injury attorney from Klemick and Gampel, P.A. as early as possible after the injury. We take quick action to preserve any evidence that could support our injury claim against the negligent party or parties.

Burn Injury Degrees

There are four types of burn injuries: first, second, third and fourth degree burns. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), first degree burns are mild and only damage the outer layer of the victim’s skin. Second degree burns affect the first layer of skin and the layer underneath. Depending on the size and location of the injury, first and second degree burns can be treated at home may not require medical attention. Third and fourth degree burns are extremely serious and may result in severe scarring or death.

First degree burns can be identified by reddish coloring of the victim’s skin. By definition, first degree burns do not blister. First degree burns only affect the epidermis of the victim’s skin – the outermost layer of skin. Although not life threatening, first degree burns may be painful and require some first aid. Additionally, the victim’s skin may swell. First degree burns are considered minor burns unless a large portion of the individual’s body has been affected.

To treat a minor burn, cool it down by holding it under cool water for ten minutes. The water should not be cold. This will reduce swelling and conduct heat away from the injury. Never put ice on a burn injury. After the burn is cool, cover it with a bandage or piece of gauze. Avoid using fluffy bandages or cotton – they will stick to the injury, causing the victim a great deal of pain. If the injury is painful, the victim may take an over the counter pain reliever like aspirin or Motrin.

Second degree burns can be treated like first degree burns unless a large portion of the injury victim’s body has been affected by the injury. After a second degree burn, the victim’s skin may develop blisters and turn red. Second degree burns are identifiable by splotchy coloring, swelling and severe pain. Because second degree burns do not involve nerve damage but are more severe than first degree burns, they can be extremely painful.

If portions of the victim’s joints, buttocks, groin area, feet or face have been affected by the burn, they may need medical attention. However, if only a small portion of the body has been burned, the injury can be treated as a minor burn and will probably heal by itself. Second degree burns may leave scars or changes to the pigment of the victim’s skin. If the burn is infected, seek medical attention immediately. Infected burns are identifiable by swelling, oozing, fever and increased pain.

Third and fourth degree burns damage all layers of the victim’s skin and may damage muscles, tendons and bones as well. This type of injury can result in infection, shock and death. Third and fourth degree burns require immediate medical attention and first aid. Third degree burns are identifiable by charred, black and white patches of skin. When dealing with a major burn injury, avoid removing the victim’s burnt clothing. Clothing may become stuck and cause further damage to the wound.

Additionally, avoid placing severe burns in water. Putting a burn in cold water can easily result in shock, hypothermia and low blood pressure. After evaluating the extent of the injury, cover the affected area with a moist cloth, sterile bandage or clean piece of fabric. Avoid using fluffy bandages. If possible, elevate the injury above the victim’s heart. Third and fourth degree burns often result in shock and are very susceptible to infection. Always check for sings of circulation and breathing. If there are no signs of breathing or circulation, CPR may be necessary.

Protecting the Rights of You and Your Family

The degree and location of the burns will affect the claim. Facial burns will have long term consequences beyond the physical; the individual can have a heavy emotional toll if their face, neck or other visible areas are significantly burned and scarred. The treatments, including skin grafts, are often done over many years by specialists in reconstructive surgery. The degree of pain and suffering experienced by a burn injury victim is almost unimaginable; we know how difficult and devastating the situation is for the injured person and their families. We are compassionate, professional and committed to our clients, and take legal action with the goal of recovering the maximum possible compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. If you or your loved one has been the victim of a negligent act and have suffered serious burns, we believe that you need the highest level of legal representation you can get.

The outcome of your case may potentially pay for your treatments, both now and in the future. You want to have access to top reconstructive plastic surgeons, and any new treatments that could be successful. Your ability to work and make a living is usually seriously compromised, and this also must be addressed in your claim. The pain and suffering involved in burn injury cases is extreme, and will be measured in financial terms. Our legal team is committed to pursuing the maximum possible in compensation, and as trial lawyers, we can move forward to resolving the matter in court should the insurance company fail to make an offer that is fair. We can let the jury decide if they are not willing to offer adequate compensation for such a serious injury claim. Contact a Miami burn injury lawyer from our firm for information about filing a claim in after a serious burn resulted from a negligent or reckless act.

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