Sustained a Burn Injury? A Weitz & Luxenberg Burn Lawyer Can Provide Legal Counsel
If you have sustained a painful burn injury from an accident or while working, a Weitz and Luxenberg burn lawyer can provide legal counsel. Please fill out the form on this page for a free consultation, and one of our attorneys will contact you to discuss the specifics of your case.
Elliot was a chef at a five star restaurant, who was always careful when handling hot surfaces and plates. One day, after preparing a pot of beef stew, he slipped on a wet spot on the floor, knocked the pot off the stove and fell onto the floor. The boiling concoction seeped through Elliot’s pants, and he sustained serious burns that required weeks of medical treatment in a hospital. Not only did Elliot have to contend with the physical pain of such serious burns, but he was unable to finance his bills due to lost wages. Elliot was furious at his employer and his fellow workers, who neglected to warn him about the spilled water.
Does Elliot’s situation sound familiar? Has your burn injury caused you undue pain, suffering and loss of wages? Weitz and Luxenberg can help.
The Severity of a Burn
Burn severity is classified as following:
First Degree Burns: First degree burns are the least severe. A common example of a first degree burn is a sunburn, in which the “surface of the skin is red and damaged, but still intact.” Thus, the skin is still able to carry out its expected functions, (protecting the body from infection and controlling temperature).
Second Degree Burns: In second degree burns, “damage has extended through the epidermis (upper skin layer) into the dermis (second skin layer).” When the epidermis is damaged, “it begins to separate from the dermis and fluid builds beneath it, causing blisters.” With time, “the blisters will spread into one another, and the raw underlying dermis will be exposed.” (About.com) Someone who suffers from a second degree burn loses sensation in the affected area.
Third Degree Burns: Third degree burns consist of a destroyed epidermis and dermis. Due to compromised nerve sensation, the victim may not be able to feel anything in the affected area. This kind of burn requires immediate medical attention, as well as antibiotics, pain medication and IV fluids. Scarring usually results once a third degree burn has healed.
Fourth Degree Burns: Fourth degree burns are especially dangerous because not only are the epidermis and dermis destroyed, but underlying muscle, tendons, ligaments and even bones sustain damages.
Fifth/ Sixth Degree Burns: The likelihood of surviving burns this severe is slim, especially if the entire body is affected. However, if a person sustains fifth or sixth degree burns on one of their limbs, the affected arm or leg would have been amputated.
How is a burn treated?
Burn treatment “depends on the severity of the burn, the type of burn and the amount of body tissue involved.” (JAMA)
Fluid Replacement: Fluid replacement is paramount, especially with more serious burns. When a person is burned, “their capillaries begin to leak, and instead of sticking together to keep blood inside of the vessel, the endothelial cells separate and become porous. Huge amounts of fluid pour out into the tissue.” (Utah University Burn Center)
The age and overall health of the victim dictates how much fluid is necessary. For example, if the victim is “a healthy 20 year old, with a 15% burn, they can probably resuscitate themselves with oral fluids.” (Utah University Burn Center) However, a medical professional should monitor them to ensure that they drink enough water without regurgitating it. Medical professionals “measure the adequacy of fluid resuscitation by urine volume.” (Utah University Burn Center)
Surgical Debridement: This procedure involves “the removal of unhealthy tissues from a wound” (NYU Lagone Medical Center) to help facilitate the healing process. As with all medical procedures, there is a risk for complications, such as “pain, bleeding, infection, delayed healing, and the accidental removal of healthy tissue” (NYU Langone Medical Center) during surgery.
Intensive Care: A burn in the first degree (sunburn) does not necessitate medical intervention. A sunburn, for example, can be treated with cool water compresses, emollient creams and natural remedies such as aloe vera. Those with more serious burns (especially if they cover much of the body), require hospitalization in a burn treatment center.
Skin Grafting: Skin grafting involves “the removal and transplantation of healthy skin from one area of the body to another area.” The location of the burn dictates where the skin graft is performed, but “the source sites most commonly used for skin grafts are the inner thigh, buttocks, below the collar bone, in front of and behind the ear, and the upper arm.” (NY Langone Medical Center)
In some cases, there may not be a sufficient amount of healthy skin, requiring the need of skin from an outside source. One of the major risks associated with skin grafting, is an attack on the graft by the burn victim’s immune system, which is why grating is only temporary.
Three common skin grafting options are:
Allograft: A medical professional takes skin from another human source, such a cadaver. The dead person has to be recently deceased.
Xenograft: When a medical professional takes skin from an animal source, such as a pig.
Synthetic tissue: A medical professional might decide to cover a burn wound with synthetic skin.
Weitz and Luxenberg Can Help Burn Victims
If you are seeking legal guidance following a burn injury that you developed due to no fault of your own, a Weitz and Luxenberg attorney can assist you. Please complete the form on this page for a free legal review. Remember, there is no cost to you, unless our firm secures a favorable verdict or settlement.
Utah University Burn Center: http://uuhsc.utah.edu/burncenter/emergencycare/treatment.html
National Institute of Health: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/burns.html
The Journal of the American Medical Association: http://jama.amassn.org/content/302/16/1828.full.pdf
NYU Langone Medical Center: http://www.med.nyu/edu/content?ChhunkIID=14803
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