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Dealing With the Aftereffects of a Burn Injury

Burn InjuryAccording to the American Burn Association, nearly 500,000 people are treated each year for a burn injury. Some need only minor intervention and are treated at a clinic, community health center, or doctor’s office. Others need extensive care and may spend weeks or months healing. For a small percentage, the effects are lifelong and can greatly diminish the quality of life. Learn more about the aftereffects of a burn injury, and what recourse you may have if your injury was due to someone else’s negligent actions or behavior.

Burn Classification - First, Second, and Third Degree

To treat a burn effectively, health care professionals must first determine its classification. This essentially refers to the depth of the burn. If only the outer layer (epidermis) of skin is burned, the victim has suffered a first degree burn. Healing typically happens with little to no intervention within three to five days of injury. However, the burn victim may need pain management and fluids if they have been burned over a large area of the body.

Second degree burns are either partial thickness (involves the entire first layer of skin and upper layers of the dermis) or full thickness (involves the entire dermis and epidermis). Partial thickness burns are typically rather painful and they generally take two to five weeks to heal. In contrast, full thickness burns may result in a diminished sense of pain due to possible nerve damage. Skin grafting and excision may be needed to fully heal the burn.

In a third degree burn, all layers of the skin have been destroyed. Damage also extends into the subcutaneous tissue. The victim may feel little to no pain, and their skin may appear charred or white. Smaller areas will generally take months to heal and large areas usually need grafting. Yet, even with grafting, there may be severe scarring and permanent damage to the nerves. There is also a fourth degree level of burn that extends into muscle and bone, but survival is rare with such injuries.

What to Expect While Healing

Nearly any burn victim can experience a great deal of pain during the healing phase. They may have trouble sleeping and they can be irritable or depressed. Some may be limited in their ability to work, while others may be completely unable to work or enjoy the things they love. All victims who suffer from severe pain should talk to their doctors. If it is preventing sleep disturbances, eating difficulties, or severe mood issues, medication may be prescribed to help manage the pain. Your doctor may also recommend relaxation techniques, or they may encourage you to carefully pace your activities throughout the day so that you do not overexert yourself. Other professionals, such as psychologists and/or physical therapists, may also be brought in to help you deal with the emotional aspect of a burn injury.

When Negligence is a Factor

If your burn injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be owed compensation for your losses, medical bills, pain and suffering, and/or permanent scarring or disfigurement. Dedicated to helping you receive a full and fair settlement, Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. can protect your rights in pursuit of justice. Schedule a personalized consultation with our San Jose personal injury lawyers today to learn more. Call (408) 289-1417.

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