Burn injuries can be among the most painful and long-lasting injuries a person can suffer. Burns can cause a great deal of pain, leave disfiguring scars, and cause health issues that require months of rehabilitative care.
A serious burn injury may limit your ability to work and deprive you of enjoyment of activities that used to give you pleasure.
If you’ve suffered a burn injury in San Antonio due to someone else’s carelessness, the San Antonio burn injury attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., are ready to help.
We’ve helped our clients recover millions in compensation to pay for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses they’ve suffered.
No matter how difficult or complex your burn injury case may seem, we’re here to help you evaluate your options and seek the money you need to recover from a burn injury. For a free initial consultation, call our San Antonio office or fill out the form on our contact page.
What Are Burn Injuries?
Burn injuries occur when your body is exposed to extreme heat in some way. Burns may occur from contact with hot surfaces or scalding liquids. They also may be caused by heat from a fire or exposure to electricity.
Depending on how the injury occurred, burn injuries may damage only the outermost layers of skin or may extend to deeper tissues. In especially severe instances, the damage may involve underlying muscle or bone tissue.
Causes of Burn Injuries
There are many different ways in which a burn injury can occur.
Some of the more common causes of burn injuries include:
- Cooking fires
- House fires
- Electrical shocks
- Exposure to scalding liquids
- Workplace accidents and explosions
- Exposure to caustic chemicals
- Radiation exposure
- Motor vehicle accidents
Classification of Burn Injuries According to their Different Levels
There are four different categories of burn injuries, increasing in severity from first-degree burns to fourth-degree burns. In brief, the categories are:
- First-degree burns –First-degree burns are limited to the outermost layers of the skin. Common signs of a first-degree burn include swelling or inflammation of the skin, the skin turning red, and dry skin peeling. Sunburn is typically a first-degree burn.
- Second-degree burns – Second-degree burns reach deeper layers of skin. As a result, blisters often occur, and the skin is noticeably sore and red. If the blisters from a second-degree burn burst, they can give the skin a wet look. Because second-degree burns extend deeper than first-degree burns, there is a greater risk of infection.
- Third-degree burns – Third-degree burns affect all the layers of your skin and the burned tissue often turns brown or black. In some cases, third-degree burns cause excruciating pain, but in others, the damage is so severe that the nerve endings are destroyed. The burn victim may not feel any pain because of the nerve damage. A third-degree burn may cause the skin to char, turn a waxy color, or look like rough leather.
- Fourth-degree burns – In fourth-degree burns, the skin has a charred appearance and the damage extends to underlying muscle and bone tissue. The bone may be exposed. A fourth-degree burn may require amputation of a limb and extensive treatment in a specialized burn treatment center.
Treatment for Burn Injuries
If you’ve suffered a burn injury, even one that seems relatively minor, you should see a doctor as soon as you can. Though small burns may not seem that dangerous, they do pose a risk of infection.
It’s better to play it safe and see a medical professional. Here are a few treatment options for different kinds of burn injuries:
- First-degree burns – Small first-degree burns can generally be treated at home. Run cold water over the affected area, but do not use ice, as that may aggravate the burn injury. Apply an antibiotic cream to minimize the chance of infection and monitor the injury for any complications. If you’ve suffered a burn to a sensitive area, such as the hands, feet, face, or groin, see a doctor.
- Second-degree burns – While some second-degree burns can be treated at home, it is best to have a doctor evaluate the injury and prescribe treatment. More severe burns may require more robust medical treatments. Remove any clothing, jewelry, or anything else that might cover the burn. Make sure to avoid bursting any blisters if at all possible. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics and bandage the burn to minimize the chance of an infection.
- Third-degree burns – A third-degree burn is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. The dead tissues will need to be removed from the burn area, and intravenous (IV) fluids may be needed to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics will likely be necessary to prevent the burned area from becoming infected. The area will likely need to be carefully covered with bandages to allow the wound to heal while minimizing the chance of infection. Skin grafts may be necessary to repair the damage, and other cosmetic surgery may be needed.
- Fourth-degree burns – Fourth-degree burns also require immediate medical attention. The damage from these burns can be so severe that victims may die from the burn injury. A burn patients who survives fourth-degree burns will likely need an extended hospital stay, multiple surgeries, skin grafts, and other procedures.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Receive from a Burn Injury Claim?
If you can show that your burn injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may file a claim for compensation against that person or entity that caused your injury.
For instance, if someone accidentally caused a fire and you sustained burns, you may file a personal injury claim against them for the injuries you suffered.
As part of a burn injury claim, you could seek compensation for:
- Your medical bills, including surgery and rehabilitation
- Your lost wages
- Your diminished capacity to work and earn a living
- Your physical pain and suffering
- Your psychological injuries (anxiety, depression, PTSD)
In special situations, you may be eligible to seek punitive damages, depending on how your injuries occurred. Punitive damages are handed down by the courts as a punishment to deter others from engaging in particularly reckless or outrageous conduct that causes injury to others.
A knowledgeable San Antonio burn injury lawyer at Herrman & Herrman can tell you more about whether your case may qualify for punitive damages.
Settlements for Burn Injury Lawsuits
The settlement amounts for burn injuries can vary widely, depending on how bad your injuries are, how the injury occurred, and other factors including the insurance policies available to provide compensation. The greater the injuries you’ve suffered and the greater the financial injury you’ve incurred, the higher your potential settlement amount could be.
One other factor that plays a role in burn injury settlements is the issue of fault. Texas uses a modified comparative negligence standard for personal injury cases, including burn injuries. This means that you can recover compensation for your injuries even if you were partially to blame.
However, if you are found to be partially responsible for your injuries, your compensation will be reduced accordingly. For example, if you are found to be 10 percent responsible for your burn injuries, any award that you received would be reduced by 10 percent.
Hospitals in San Antonio, TX
Serious burn injuries require specialized care from qualified healthcare professionals. According to U.S. News & World Report, the top three hospitals in the San Antonio region are:
- Methodist Hospital – San Antonio – 7700 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229. (210) 575-4000
- Baptist Medical Center – 111 Dallas St., San Antonio, TX 78205. (210) 297-7000
- Pediatric Trauma and Burn Center, University Hospital – San Antonio – 4502 Medical Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229. (210) 358-4000
Contact a San Antonio Burn Injury Lawyer Today
A severe burn can be a life-altering, debilitating injury. To make sure you get the compensation you deserve so you can rebuild your life, get help from an experienced San Antonio burn injury lawyer.