According to the American Burn Association, approximately 486,000 people require medical treatment each year after sustaining a burn injury. These injuries can have far-reaching repercussions, regardless of their severity; however, it's essential to understand the two classifications of catastrophic burn injuries — partial-thickness and full-thickness.
Knowing the difference between these two classifications can be extremely helpful in understanding the extent of your injuries and any legal implications they may have. Let's take a look at what each type of burn injury means, as well as how they can be caused by negligence or misconduct.
What are Partial-Thickness Burns?
Partial-thickness burns are also referred to as second-degree burns. They involve damage to the skin's epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (inner layer). These burns often result in swelling, redness, blisters and pain.
Full-thickness burns are also known as third-degree burns. They involve damage to all layers of the skin, including fat tissue beneath the surface and possibly even muscle or bone beneath that. Full-thickness burns may appear charred black or white and dry with no sensation due to nerve damage from the heat source. Common causes for full-thickness burns include:
- Electrical burns caused by faulty equipment or exposed wires
- Burns caused by chemicals or other hazardous materials
- Flames and fires resulting from explosions, welding accidents, defective tools, etc.
The effects of second and third-degree burns often extend far beyond the initial damage caused by an incident. Those who experience the severe pain of these burns, along with extensive medical costs, must also endure long-term physical, psychological and financial consequences. Potential issues include permanent scarring or disfigurement, increased sensitivity to temperature changes and sun exposure, a heightened risk for skin cancer, depression and the inability to work.
High-Risk Industries for Burn Injuries
Working in many high-risk industries exposes individuals to the risk of burn injuries due to hazardous materials and dangerous settings. Practices and safety standards must be implemented to avoid such incidents, but negligence and disregard for safety still occurs. Inadequate safety training and the decision not to implement safety procedures means workers face a greater likelihood of burn threats. Injuries that must put a premium on safety in order to protect workers include:
- Metal Fabrication
When catastrophic burn injuries result from extreme gross and willful workplace negligence, you may be entitled to compensation beyond workers' compensation. In addition to inadequate safety training and policies, faulty machinery can also contribute to these injuries, and the manufacturer or distributor of the product may also share responsibility.
Holding corporations and product manufacturers accountable for the catastrophic burn injuries that result from their negligence is essential in ensuring that fair and just compensation is achieved, and that changes are made so other workers are not injured in the future. Examining the specifics of such cases requires complete and thorough investigation, as there are often several contributing factors involved, sometimes with more than one liable entity.
Championing Safer Workplace Policies
Many workplaces have failed to prioritize the safety of their employees, and these decisions result in the continuance of catastrophic injuries. It is essential to have strategies that create a safe working environment to reduce the risk of suffering and injury and provide support if one were to occur. These policies should include adequate training, protective equipment, procedures for hazardous tasks, medical care allowances, and more. Creating safer policies and following best practices will ultimately lead to a healthier workplace and protect individuals from any potential harm associated with burns.
New Mexico Burn Injury Attorneys Who Are Here For You
At McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, P.A., our burn injury attorneys understand that catastrophic burn injuries can be life-changing, and we're here to fight for justice on your behalf. We are experienced in taking on large corporations and product manufacturers responsible for such incidents and will work diligently to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available. Our attorneys are passionate about fighting for your rights and will work hard to advocate on your behalf.
If you've experienced a burn injury due to negligence, contact us today at (505) 405-4441.