There are several types of burn injuries. Previously, burns were categorized by degree, ranging in severity from first to third. Current medical terminology refers to the depth of the burn:
- Superficial (first-degree) burns: The mildest form of burn, this type produces redness of the skin and pain, but no blistering. It is considered a minor burn and may usually be treated at home.
- Partial thickness (second-degree) burns: This type of burn is more severe than a superficial burn. It affects both the outer skin layer (the epidermis) and the underlying layer (dermis), causing blisters, swelling, redness and pain. If left untreated, these burns may progress into more serious full-thickness burns.
- Full thickness (third-degree) burns: These burns involve destruction of the skin and underlying tissues. They are termed “full-thickness” because all levels of the skin are damaged. These burns are extremely serious; they typically require prolonged hospitalization and skin grafting surgeries. They often result in extensive scarring.
Several factors are used to determine the severity of a burn injury, including the patient’s age, size and depth of burn, and the location of the burn. For adults, a “Rule of Nines” chart is used to determine the total body surface area (TBSA) that has been burned. The chart divides the body into sections that each represent nine percent of the body surface area. In determining the TBSA of children and infants, a different reference, the Lund-Browder chart, is used.
Burn injuries are obvious. But another type of fire-related injury may not produce immediately visible symptoms. Inhalation injuries can cause extensive damage to the lungs and airways.
There are three types of inhalation injuries: damage from heat inhalation, damage from systemic toxins and damage from smoke inhalation. Outward symptoms of these injuries – such as fainting, shortness of breath, headache, coughing and hoarseness – often do not appear until 24 to 36 hours after exposure.
Inhalation injuries can be just as severe – if not more so – than burns. According to recent literature, the leading cause of death in structural fires is not thermal injury, but smoke inhalation. Burn victims frequently suffer both types of injury.
Rely On Our Proven Experience As Advocates For Burn Injury Victims
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, a leading personal injury law firm in San Francisco, we have obtained multimillion-dollar recoveries for burn injury victims and their families. Our legacy of excellence extends back more than five decades.
The legal team at Walkup includes talented attorneys who consistently rank among the top California lawyers. One of our attorneys is also a physician with two decades of experience in the medical field. This combination of medical and legal knowledge gives us a thorough understanding of all types of burn and inhalation injuries.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
Burn injuries take an extreme financial toll. Explore your options for financial recovery with the help of our seasoned legal team. For a free initial consultation, please contact us online today or by calling (415) 981-7210.