Third-degree burns damage all layers of skin down to the nerve endings, causing severe pain and often resulting in permanent damage to victims.

Pursuing damages through an injury lawsuit can help you get the financial stability you need to move on with your life while you recover from your injuries. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident that caused 3rd degree burns, contact our law firm for a complimentary consultation to learn your next steps to getting compensation.

Common Causes of Third-Degree Burn Injuries

While most people associate burns with kitchen mishaps, these are usually minor burns. Third-degree burns rarely result from cooking accidents. However, they can result from a variety of accidents in both the home and workplace.

Defective products

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, burns from defective products are a leading injury in the United States. In 2021, an estimated 193,450 emergency room visits were caused by consumer product-related burns. These injuries can result from several factors, including dangerously designed, defectively manufactured, or improperly installed or repaired consumer products and appliances. Burns can also result when consumer goods do not include instructions detailing the correct usage or potential risks to the user.

Landlord negligence

Every year, tenants in residential and commercial buildings are injured in fires caused by landlord negligence. For example, many landlords fail to install smoke detectors or ensure they are working correctly. Tenants may not receive proper instructions on using fire extinguishers or escaping safely in the event of a fire. Faulty electrical wiring in the building and defective appliances supplied by the landlord can also lead to fires.

Work-related thermal and electrical burns

Burns are common in industries where workers are handling hot or dangerous materials, such as the construction, manufacturing, electric power, and mining industries. These can occur when workers are:

  • Welding
  • Soldering
  • Brazing
  • Drilling
  • Blasting
  • And more

Hazardous materials in the workplace

Fire and heat are not the only cause of third-degree burns. Exposure to corrosive or caustic chemicals—such as paint thinner, solvents, lye, or gasoline—can also result in serious chemical burns that may cause lifelong injuries and scarring.

Employers must provide their workers with the appropriate protective gear and ensure they receive adequate training to handle hazardous materials. They should also have an evacuation plan in place for potential fires.

Employers should regularly inspect work areas for potential hazards and take steps to mitigate any risks.

Car fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 212,500 vehicles caught fire in 2018, causing 1,500 injuries and 560 deaths. When a car gets impacted in an accident, the fuel tank can rupture, igniting a fire.

Damage to the battery and electrical wiring increases the risk of fire.

Burn injuries from car fires can be severe, as the fuel and materials used in the car’s construction can act as an accelerant, increasing the flame’s heat. A vehicle fire can generate heat up to 1,650°F, which can cause extensive damage to the skin and internal organs. Accident victims may be trapped in their vehicles, unable to escape in time to avoid serious burns.

Types of Burn Treatments

Treatment options for burn victims include cool water therapy, sterile dressings, and surgery. These treatments aim to prevent infection, promote healing, and minimize scarring. Physical therapy is also often needed to restore movement to the affected area.

Treatment for First, Second, and Third Degree Burns

The type of treatment that is best for a particular burn depends on:

  • Severity of the burn
  • Size of the wound
  • Location of the burn

Cool water therapy

Cool water therapy is the most common first aid treatment for burns and involves running cool water over the burn for up to twenty minutes within three hours of the injury occurring. This helps to soothe the pain and reduce swelling. It’s important to remember that first aid is not final aid, and additional treatment is required for severe burns.

Sterile dressings

Sterile dressings using nanocrystalline silver, silica, or hydrogel are used to cover the wound and protect it from infection.

Surgery For Severe Burns

Surgery is sometimes necessary for severe burns. It usually involves debridement, in which dead tissue is cut away, and skin grafts, in which skin is removed from one part of the body and transplanted to the burned site.

How Long Do Burns Take To Heal?

Because third-degree burns penetrate all layers of the skin, the damage they cause can be extensive, and recovery is typically a long and challenging process. Healing can take weeks or even months, and patients often require multiple surgeries.

Compensation for Burn Victims

The compensation you receive depends on the severity of your injuries, the medical expenses you have incurred, and the circumstances leading up to the injury. You may be entitled to more compensation if you sustained permanent scarring and disfigurement. The amount of damages you can recover depends on:

  • Scar visibility: Visible scars usually qualify victims for more compensation than those out of view.
  • Victim’s age: The younger the victim, the higher the case value. This stems from the fact that the victim will have to live more of their life with disfigurement.
  • Gender: Burn victims generally can receive greater compensation for their scarring if they are female. Female burn victims are more likely to suffer body image issues and have a tougher time coping with burns than do male burn victims.
  • Victim’s marital status: Single burn victims tend to receive higher compensation than those who are married, since disfigurement can impact the burn victim’s ability to find a romantic partner.
  • Permanent vs. reparable scar: Permanent burn scars usually qualify victims for more compensation due to the pronounced impact on their lives.

Seek an Injury Lawyer If You Suffered 3rd Degree Burns

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what type of compensation you may be eligible for and assist you in pursuing your claim. Don’t pay out-of-pocket for your burn injuries. Instead, trust your 3rd degree burn claim to knowledgeable attorneys with a proven track record.

Contact an Indianapolis burn injury lawyer from Wagner Reese today to discuss your case and find out how much it may be worth.

Originally published July 18, 2022.