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The Causes and Effects of Burn Injuries

The Causes and Effects of Burn InjuriesSome of the most painful injuries a person can suffer are burn injuries. Unfortunately, burns are also difficult to treat, with serious burns leading to a long, tough road to recovery. In 2016, the most current data available, nearly half a million people sought medical attention for burns.

Burn injuries can range from minor, like first degree, to severe, like third degree. Fourth-degree burns often prove fatal. People suffer burns for all sorts of reasons. Some are simply tragic accidents, but some are caused by negligent behavior. And when someone’s negligent behavior leads to your burn injury, the responsible party should be held accountable.

Common causes of burn injuries

The American Burn Association reports that exposure to fire accounts for 43% of burn injuries, and scald injuries from hot water or steam account for 34%. Burns from chemical exposure or electrocution are less common (3% and 4%), but can be particularly severe. Nearly 75% of burn injuries happen at home, and can be caused by faulty wiring or defective products like heaters or other appliances.

Outside the home, burn injuries also happen on the job—hazards like live electricity or improperly secured chemicals can expose workers to potential injury. Here in Georgia, employees receive protections under the law in the form of workers’ compensation, but in the case of severe burn injuries, it may not be enough to cover your medical care and wage loss.

In some cases, however, individuals who suffer injuries like chemical burns or electrical burns on the job may be able to sue a third party—other than their employer—for negligence. In these types of situations, it may be that an equipment manufacturer, a subcontractor, or a property owner was responsible for your injury. If this happened to you, you may be able to bring a personal injury case against the third party. You can speak to an attorney about your options.

The physical impact of burn injuries

Even minor to moderate burns can leave a patient with painful blistering and long-term to permanent scarring. A patient is also vulnerable to infection during the healing process. Severe burns can lead to permanent nerve damage, loss of sensation and dexterity, extensive skin grafts, and—in extreme cases—amputation of the limb. Severe burns to the extremities can cause permanent disability. Burn patients may also need physical therapy and other assistance.

Burns on the face, neck, arms, or legs may also cause scarring and disfigurement. One of the most serious effects of a burn injury is contracture: the tightening of the skin around the area of the burn. If not treated quickly, a person can lose mobility in that area as a result of the scarring. If the burn injury is located around the neck or chest, this can restrict breathing, too.

If you have suffered a severe burn injury in Georgia, the attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP work to help you recover the compensation you need for medical treatment, lost wages, and quality of life. Call us today at 404-961-7650 at our Atlanta office, or in Savannah at 912-651-9967, or fill out our contact form.

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