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Los Angeles Burn Injury Attorney

An Overview of Burn Injury, Types of Burn Injuries & Statistics

Burn Injury Overview
Burn injuries are among the most physically painful and psychologically damaging types of injuries that an individual can suffer, leaving scars that are both physical and emotional. Burn injuries frequently result in severe scarring and nerve damage that limit the skin's ability to perspire and react to stimuli. Burn injuries are highly visible and extremely disfiguring, and frequently cause the victim to feel socially ostracized.

Types of Burn Injuries

The skin has three layers: the epidermis, or outer layer, the dermis, or middle layer and the hypo dermis or subcutaneous layer. Burn injuries are generally categorized by degrees that relate to how deeply the burn injury penetrates the three layers of skin.

First Degree Burns: First degree burns are minor burns that affect only the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. Though painful, first degree burns often result in no more than discomfort and redness for short period of time, as long as no infection occurs. First degree burns are usually caused by sunburn or happen when skin comes into brief contact with moist or dry heat, chemicals, or friction.

Second Degree Burns: Second degree burns affect the epidermis and the dermis, the first and second layers of skin, and are more serious than first degree burns. Pain, redness, swelling and blisters will all be present in a second degree burn, resulting in possible mild scarring. Second degree burns larger than 3 inches require professional medical attention.

Third Degree Burns: Third degree burns penetrate all three layers of skin and can be identified by areas of dry and white skin and charring. Third degree burns cause significant scarring and may potentially be fatal and may also be accompanied by other secondary injuries like smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning. Third degree burns may require skin grafting and may cause nerve damage.

Fourth, Firth and Six Degree Burns: Fourth fifth and sixth degree burns refer to burn injuries that penetrate three layers of the skin, the muscle and the bone. Frequently fatal due to their damage to major arteries and veins, those who survive these types of severe burns may require amputation, extensive skin grafting and may suffer from disfiguring scars.

How Burn Injuries Occur

Almost half of fire-related injuries take place in buildings without smoke alarms. But fire is perhaps surprisingly not the only cause of a burn injury. Burns can occur from contact with scalding hot or boiling water, with certain types of chemicals, or with hot objects like water heaters or motorcycle exhaust pipes, radiators and from friction.

The most common source of burns are fires and the most common locations for burn injuries from fires are on job sites, in automobile accidents or in residential fires. Electrical burns, thermal burns and chemical burns are secondary sources of burn injuries; electrical burns are usually the result of job-related activities, while thermal burns, which are caused by contact with hot liquid, steam or other substances with a temperature above 115°, occur most often in the home.

Burn Injury Statistics

  • 85% of burn-related deaths in the United States occur in residential fires.
  • More than 20,000 people In the United States annually suffer burn injuries severe enough to necessitate hospitalization.
  • African Americans and Native Americans make up 27% of the 1.25 million burn injuries and fire deaths.
  • Poor Americans, rural Americans and Americans living in substandard housing are the next likely to die as result of burn injuries.
  • Men are twice as likely as women to suffer from burn injuries.
  • Children and the elderly account for 20% to 40% of all burn and fire injuries and deaths in the United

States and are at the highest risk of injury and death from fires and burns than any other demographic of the population.


Burn Injury & Accident Articles