Burn Injuries and Their Causes

A defective consumer product may cause burn injuries to you or a family member. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as catching on fire or releasing strong chemicals.

Whatever the cause, burn injuries can be severe, putting you or an injured loved one at risk for infection and other complications. Johns Hopkins Medicine explains how severe burn injuries can be and what the possible causes are.

What makes a burn injury severe?

Your skin consists of three layers. The subcutis is the deepest layer, the epidermis is the superficial layer exposed to the air and the dermis lies between them. The more layers affected by a burn, the more severe the injury is. A full-thickness burn is the most severe because it extends down through the three layers of skin and can affect the tissues underneath, including muscles and bones. Another name for a full-thickness burn is a third-degree burn.

A partial-thickness burn, also called a second-degree burn, does not extend as far as a full-thickness burn. However, it does involve both the dermis and the epidermis. Even partial-thickness burns can be severe if they cover more than 10% of the total surface area of your body.

What causes burn injuries?

There are several circumstances whereby exposure to high temperatures can cause a burn. This can occur when a component of an appliance or electronic device is faulty and catches fire. A defective product that shoots out hot liquid or steam can also cause thermal burns of this nature.

Exposure to an electrical current can also cause burns. This may occur due to improper wiring of a product or device. Both direct current and alternating current can cause burn injuries. These often occur at the points where the current enters and leaves your body.

Strong chemicals, such as solvents, detergents, acids, or alkalis, are another possible cause of burn injuries. A consumer product that contains such chemicals may leak and cause exposure.

If you have been seriously burned, recovery can be long and painful and require extensive medical treatments. Talk to an experienced attorney about your options for pursuing compensation.


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