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Premier Legal Representation for Burn Injury Accidents in Florida

Burn injuries can cause permanent disfigurement and disability. In extreme cases, burns can result in death. If your or your loved one's burn injury was caused by somebody else's negligence, you may have a case for compensation to cover not just your medical bills, but lost income, disability, and emotional damage.

What is a Burn Injury?

A burn injury is damage to tissue caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, or radiation.  Damage is typically done to the skin and tissue immediately below it, but can also include damage to the eyes.

Degrees of Burn Injury

Burn injuries are classified as first, second, or third degree depending on how much of the skin is damaged. Specifically:

  • First degree burns turn the top layer of skin red and create pain and possibly some peeling. Most sunburns fall into this category.
  • Second degree burns go through into the dermis (lower layers). Symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, and blistering.
  • Third degree burns affect the entire skin and the fat underneath, destroying hair follicles and sweat glands. The burn itself tends not to be painful due to damaged nerve endings, but the area around it may be painful. The skin will appear black, white, or red, and leathery.

Burns are considered moderate if more than 10% of the body is affected. A severe burn is a third degree burn covering more than 1% of the body. Burns to the hands, feet, face, or genitals are often more severe. First and second degree burns can often be treated at home, but third degree burns or burns over a lot of the body require hospitalization. Chemical and electrical burns also typically require specialized treatment.

What Causes Burns and Who Is At Risk?

The majority of burns are accidental. Burns fall into four groups - thermal, radiation, chemical, and electrical. Note that a sunburn is actually a radiation burn. Sunburn may be the most common form of burns. Also, burn like injuries can be caused by friction. Road rash is a form of friction burn. Other than these, the most common ways people get burned are:

  • Contact with an open flame such as a campfire or candle.
  • Cooking accidents involving open flame, hot oil, or contact with a heating surface. 59% of house fires are caused by cooking.
  • House fires.
  • Road traffic accidents in which a vehicle catches fire

The populations most at risk for burns are young children (who tend to investigate hot objects) and elderly people who are struggling to cook. Alcohol consumption and fatigue are also both factors. Avoid "playing with fire" while you are intoxicated.

How Are Burns Treated?

First degree burns and small second degree burns can be treated at home. For a first degree burn run cool water over the burn. If it's a sunburn, use aloe vera. If it's a thermal (fire) burn, apply antibiotic cream and cover with gauze.

For second degree burns, it's a good idea to contact your healthcare provider, who can prescribe you a stronger cream if needed. Keep the burned area elevated and monitor for signs of infection such as fever or a yellow or green discharge.

First and second degree burns generally heal within two or three weeks, but second degree burns can leave permanent scars.

Third degree burns require specialist treatment that can be expensive. Many burns require skin grafts. Typically healthy skin is taken from another part of your body and used to cover the burn. The area the graft is taken from heals on its own. Temporary skin grafts from a donor or artificial source are used for severe burn victims who may not have enough healthy skin to graft. Because of the risk of shock and dehydration, burn victims are normally given IV fluids.

People with third degree burns may be disfigured, severaly scarred, or have issues with joint mobility and function that require physical therapy. Burns can also cause severe mental health outcomes such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, so victims are generally referred to a therapist for monitoring and treatment.

Long-Term Consequences of Burns

Severe burns can have long-term consequences that include PTSD, depression, physical disability and cosmetic disfigurement. Burns to the genitals can affect sexual function. Cosmetic reconstruction can be expensive, but is vital to restore both appearance and mental health. Other long term complications include:

  • Anxiety, especially social anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Phobias of the situation that led up to the burn. For example, somebody burned in a car accident may develop a phobia of traveling in a car
  • Suicidal impulses, especially if pain or disability is significant
  • Contracture of muscles or tendons, resulting in reduced mobility
  • Muscle wasting
  • Hypothermia
  • Chronic pain

How to Prevent Burns

The majority of burn injuries are simple accidents and many take place in the home. You can reduce the risk of burns by:

  • Being very careful when smoking. Don't smoke in bed. Dispose of the ends of cigarettes or joints appropriately.
  • Fit and regularly check a smoke alarm in your home.
  • Keep a kitchen-rated fire extinguisher in your kitchen
  • Never leave a fryer or wok containing hot oil unattended and be very careful
  • Never leave lit candles unattended
  • Keep matches, lighters, and candles away from children
  • Don't cook with an open flame, build a fire, etc, if you are fatigued or have been drinking or using cannabis.
  • Don't go into a fire to retrieve anything.

How to Get the Compensation You Deserve

If you or your loved one's burn injury was caused by somebody else's negligence, then you need competent legal representation. The Law Office of Michael C. George, P.A. has expertise, compassion, and proven results. We offer a free, no-obligaction case review and comprehensive support. We can get you compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of income, disability, and loss of consortium.

Call us now at (561) 659-6599 or fill out our contact form immediately after the injury to get started and get the aggressive representation you need. Michael C. George, Esq. has a track record of securing significant settlements for Florida burn injury victims, while understanding the physical and emotional pain you are going through.