Depending on their severity, burn injuries can have serious consequences. Burns can lead to high medical bills, pain, and even disfigurement. Sometimes, a burn injury is caused by another’s negligence or wrongdoing. Perhaps an electrician installed faulty wiring, a car malfunctioned and caught fire, or someone dropped a lit cigarette or match into a trashcan. If you have suffered harm from a burn, call a burn injury attorney who will focus on getting compensation for your injuries, while you take time to recover.
Types of Burns
There are several different levels of severity of burns. A first degree burn affects only the outer layer of skin and generally heals on its own, within about a week.
A superficial second degree burn affects the dermis, which is a deeper layer of skin. These types of burns also generally heal on their own, within two weeks. Deep second degree burns go deeper in the skin, and take three to four weeks to heal. Deep second degree burns can leave scars.
Third degree burns are the most serious classification. In a third degree burn, the epidermis and dermis have been destroyed, and the burn affects the subcutaneous tissue. Often, third degree burns require skin grafts and reconstructive surgery in order to heal properly.
Causes of Burns
Burn injuries can be caused by many different situations. These include:
- Electrical burns, when a victim is exposed to a high voltage of electricity;
- Thermal burns, caused by exposure to hot things such as steam, flames, hot liquids, or hot surfaces;
- Chemical burns, when the skin comes into contact with acids or strong bases, such as from powerful chemicals in labs or worksites;
- Car fires, which may be caused by explosions;
- Office building or house fires, often caused by heating or electrical system malfunctions or gas explosions; and
- Inhalation injuries from inhaling smoke or chemicals.
Many burn injuries are caused because of someone’s negligence or wrongdoing. If this is the case, the victim may recover money damages from the wrongdoer to compensate him or her for the resultant injuries.
Burn injuries can cause serious harm, or even death, to victims. This may include severe pain and high medical expenses, especially if the injuries require a hospital stay. Burns can cause scarring, which is sometimes so bad as to require reconstructive surgery. For the victims of serious burns, their injuries may result in deformation, as some burns can cause the loss of tissue or even of body parts. Burn victims may also suffer psychological and stress-related problems. The trauma of a burn injury and of the resultant pain and scarring can cause stress and emotional pain, which can have a long-lasting effect on a victim’s life.
In Michigan, burn victims may be able to recover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and funeral expenses. They may also be compensated for pain and suffering, disfigurement, permanent damage to organs, and emotional trauma. If the at-fault party acted recklessly, the victim may be able to recover punitive damages, which are intended to punish and to serve as a deterrent for others.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit or deadline for filing a legal claim. In Michigan, burn victims suing for personal injury have three years from the time of the injury to file suit, or their claims are barred. For a wrongful death claim, the family of the victim likewise has three years from the date of death.
If you or a loved one has suffered a burn-related injury, please contact Michigan personal injury attorney John Little today for an initial consultation.