Burns are some of the most painful injuries – and they’re unfortunately not uncommon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 489,000 people across the country went to hospital emergency departments for burn injuries in a single recent year, accounting for nearly 2 percent of all ER visits.
Burn injuries can take a long time to heal, and they often leave devastating scars behind that might even require corrective surgery.
If you live in or near Greeneville, TN, and have recently suffered a severe burn injury through no fault of your own, your next call should be to The Terry Law Firm. Our experienced burn injury lawyers can help hold those responsible accountable for the losses you’ve endured.
Our firm has more than 70 years of combined legal experience. We’ve used our collective knowledge to help Tennessee residents recover millions of dollars in compensation. We are ready to aggressively pursue the compensation you need to cover the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Call our Greeneville office today or visit our contact page to get your free initial consultation.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries in Greeneville
Burn injuries can occur when you’re at work, when you’re at home, when you’re on the road, and in many other circumstances. Some of the most common causes of burn injuries include:
- House fires and arson – A house fire, whether it’s set deliberately or not, can cause burns if you are unable to exit the premises in a safe and timely manner. To avoid these kinds of injuries, exit your home as soon as possible if you detect a fire and call 911 immediately.
- Cooking fires – Cooking fires often cause burns to the hands and arms. In extreme cases, they can lead to burn injuries on other parts of the body. Cooking fires can happen due to direct exposure to a hot flame or if certain substances ignite, such as cooking oil. You can also be burned while cooking if you come into contact with hot grease or cooking oil, scalding water, and hot plates.
- Wildfires – Wildfires can strike unexpectedly if you’re camping in remote areas, so be sure to have an evacuation plan. Those who are caught in wildfires may suffer extensive burns all over their bodies.
- Electrical shocks – Loose wires or mishandling electrical components can lead to a severe shock that can cause a burn injury. This is especially common among those who work with or near electrical wires and equipment, such as utility workers.
- Workplace explosions – Malfunctioning equipment in the workplace can lead to an explosion that leaves workers badly burned. If the explosion itself doesn’t injure a worker, they may also be struck by flaming debris.
- Exposure to caustic chemicals – Another type of burn injury that often occurs in the workplace is a burn that results from exposure to noxious chemicals. If employers don’t have proper safeguards in place, workers can suffer burns from something as simple as inhaling fumes from certain chemicals. In cases where workers come into direct contact with these chemicals, serious injuries often result.
- Radiation exposure – Radiation exposure burns can happen to people who work in certain fields, such as those involved with handling nuclear materials. Sunburns are also a type of radiation burn, as too much exposure to ultraviolet rays results in damage to the skin.
- Contact with hot liquids – Hot water, cooking oil, and other scalding liquids can easily cause burns if these liquids come into contact with the body. These burn injuries can happen both at home and in the workplace.
- Car accidents – Car crashes can cause burns when accident victims come into contact with hot metal or automotive chemicals, or if the car ignites after the crash.
Types and Degrees of Burns
There are many different kinds of burns, along with several different categories of severity. When it comes to different types of burns, some of them include:
Thermal contact burns – These are what you might call a “typical” burn injury. Thermal contact burns are the result of your skin coming into contact with something that’s hot enough to burn you, such as a hot plate or surface.
- Chemical burns – Chemical burns occur when your skin comes into contact with a strong acid or base, causing blisters and other symptoms.
- Electrical burns – Electrical burns happen when you’re exposed to a strong electrical current without wearing proper protective equipment.
- Flash/arc burns – Flash burns, also called arc burns, happen when your skin is charred by the intense heat from a nearby fire or explosion.
- Scald burns – Scald burns occur when some sort of hot liquid comes into contact with exposed skin. A classic example of this is when you spill hot coffee on yourself by accident.
In addition to the different kinds of burns, burn injuries are also rated by how severe they are and the extent of the damage they cause to your skin and other tissues. From least severe to most severe, the four categories of burn injuries are:
- First-degree burns – Though first-degree burns are the least painful kinds of burn injuries, they can still hurt quite a bit. First-degree burns involve relatively minimal damage to the outermost layers of your skin. Common symptoms include inflammation or swelling of the skin, skin turning red, and dry skin peeling. In many cases, first-degree burns can be treated with home remedies, such as putting the affected area under cold water or using an antibiotic ointment. If you’ve suffered a burn to a sensitive area, such as the face or groin, you should see a doctor.
- Second-degree burns – Second-degree burns go deeper than first-degree burns and reach the inner layers of skin, often causing blisters and making the skin noticeably sore and red. The blisters caused by second-degree burns can burst and make the skin look wet as a result. Second-degree burns are much more painful than first-degree burns, and there’s a greater risk of infection because of the increased damage to deeper skin layers. You should consider seeing a doctor for a second-degree burn injury, though some can be treated at home.
- Third-degree burns – A third-degree burn is one that goes through all the layers of your skin, doing serious damage along the way. These burns are often agonizingly painful, though sometimes there’s so much damage to the victim’s nerves that they feel no pain. Third-degree burns often cause the skin to turn brown or black. They may also cause the skin to turn a waxy color, to char, or take on a leathery appearance. If you believe you’ve suffered a third-degree burn injury, seek immediate medical attention.
- Fourth-degree burns – A fourth-degree burn is essentially a third-degree burn that continues past the skin to damage the victim’s muscles, tendons, and bones. Like third-degree burns, fourth-degree burns require immediate medical attention.
Medical Costs for Greeneville Burn Victims
Because burn injuries can do extensive damage to multiple areas of the body, they can be some of the most expensive injuries that you can suffer. If you’ve suffered a burn injury, some of the medical complications you could face include:
- Severe blisters
- Scarring of the burn area
- Permanent skin damage
- Nerve damage
- Damage to the lungs from smoke or chemical inhalation
Any of these complications may require surgery or other expensive treatments to correct. In some cases, you may need treatment for a long time after the initial injury, perhaps even the rest of your life. Even with good health insurance, the cost of treating a burn injury can put a significant strain on your finances.
Can I Get Compensation for My Burn Injury?
Tennessee law allows burn injury victims to claim compensation for their injuries through several different means. If your injury happened at work, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of your injury. The more common way to pursue compensation for burn injuries is to file an injury claim or personal injury lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for what happened.
Tennessee law gives you one year from the date of your injuries to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. If you file an insurance claim or personal injury suit, here are a few of the things you can claim compensation for:
- The cost of any past or future medical care related to your injuries
- The value of any missed wages while you were recovering from your injuries
- Your reduced ability to earn a living because of your injuries
- The physical pain and suffering resulting from your injuries
- Any mental or emotional pain stemming from your injuries
Landlords may also be liable for fires in their apartment building or rental property especially if they fail to have proper safety equipment like smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
Contact a Burn Injury Lawyer in Greeneville for Help
Our office is standing by to give you a free initial consultation. If we take your case, you won’t owe us any fees unless we help you collect compensation for your injuries. Learn more by calling our Greeneville office or visiting our contact page.