Most of us have experienced a burn at some point, whether by accidentally touching a hot stovetop or staying out in the sun too long without sunscreen. While these burns can be painful and take time to heal, they pale in comparison to third-degree burns.
Third-degree burns occur when the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and the dermis (the underlying layer of skin) are completely destroyed, making it impossible for your skin to heal naturally. Individuals who suffer third-degree burns often require extensive medical treatment and may face lifelong effects, such as disfigurement.
At Colombo Law, we work with burn injury victims who have been injured due to the negligence of another. Here we explore the causes, symptoms, treatment, and outlook of third-degree burns, as well as your legal options after this serious injury.
If you have suffered a third-degree burn and believe you may have grounds for a lawsuit for your injury, we encourage you to contact an experienced burn injury lawyer at Colombo Law as soon as possible. Your initial consultation is free.
Causes of Third-Degree Burns
Serious burns can happen for a variety of reasons. Broadly speaking, the most common cause of burns is contact with a flame, followed by scalding and contact with a heat source. Less common types of burn injuries include electrical burns and chemical burns.
Unfortunately, burns can sometimes happen as a result of vehicle accidents. For example, in the case of car accidents, a leaky or defective fuel tank can cause a vehicle to ignite after an accident, leading to a serious burn injury. Burns can also happen in truck accidents when a semi-truck is carrying a flammable gas or liquid that erupts in the crash.
Burns may be caused by defective products that are either designed or manufactured poorly. Consumers may suffer injury when the product malfunctions or as a result of a fire started by the product defect.
People in certain occupations also face a high risk of burn injuries. Natural gas workers, for example, are likely to suffer burns in the course of their job.
Regardless of how a burn injury occurs, burn victims need to be able to recognize the seriousness of the injury. Third-degree burns require prompt and specialized medical treatment.
Symptoms of a Third-Degree Burn
To understand how to identify a third-degree burn, let’s first look at the symptoms for first- and second-degree burns:
- First-degree burns: First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin. Typically, symptoms are redness and pain, such as a moderate sunburn.
- Second-degree burns: With second-degree burns, the first and second layers of skin (the epidermis and dermis, respectively) are affected. This can result in redness, a splotchy or white appearance, blisters, and intense pain.
Surprisingly, third-degree burns are often the least painful type of burn because they can affect the nerves below the skin. Hence, while you will likely feel pain around the burn site, the absence of pain at the burn is one of the primary indicators of a third-degree burn.
In terms of appearance, these burns can look white and leathery, but they can also be black, brown, or gray with a waxy appearance (depending on the type of burn). They will not appear wet, nor will there be blisters as with second-degree burns.
Treatment for Third-Degree Burns
Since third-degree burns are not able to heal on their own, treatment is much more complicated compared to first- and second-degree burns. Skin grafts are often used to help repair the affected area.
Due to the depth of third-degree burns, there is also a greater danger of infection, including sepsis – which can be fatal. Dehydration is another significant risk with third-degree burns. For these reasons, antibiotics and fluids are essential for effective treatment of a third-degree burn.
If the burn causes disfigurement, you may also need reconstructive surgery. This will depend on the location, severity, and size of the burn.
Third-Degree Burn Prognosis
The prognosis for burn injuries varies a great deal and depends on the location and extent of the injury. If the burn covers a significant percentage of the body, the recovery time will likely be extensive and ongoing rehabilitation will probably be required.
Unfortunately, there is also the psychological component to consider. Some third-degree burn victims struggle to live life as they once did, whether because they are physically unable or because a burn has significantly altered their appearance.
Contact a Burn Injury Lawyer Today
The effects of a third-degree burn can be extremely difficult to overcome. Burn victims whose injury is caused by the negligence of another party may be entitled to compensation for losses such as medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Investigating who is at fault, building a case, and pursuing compensation is not an easy process. Colombo Law has been serving the victims of serious and catastrophic injuries for more than 20 years.
Our lawyers and staff will do all of the heavy lifting needed to build your case, such as collecting evidence, calculating damages, interviewing witnesses, filing paperwork, negotiating with insurance companies, and – if necessary – arguing your case in your court. We have achieved significant recoveries on behalf of burn victims, and we will put our experience and results to work for you.
Please call Colombo Law at (614) 362-7000 today for a free case review. Our burn injury lawyers serve clients in Columbus and throughout Ohio.