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Types of Burn Injury

By Michael Verna on January 04, 2017

An illustration of a third degree burn injuryBurn injuries can be debilitating, requiring a long and painful recovery or resulting in death. Although most people think of burn injuries as being caused by heat or flame, burns can be caused by many other sources, such as chemicals and liquids, resulting in different types of burn injuries. When a burn injury is caused by someone else's negligence or misconduct, a burn injury attorney can help the victim seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and other damages.

Victims of all types of burn injury are encouraged to learn more about their legal rights. Serving San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, and Oakland, CA, the burn injury attorneys of Bowles & Verna LLP may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries. Contact our offices to learn more about your legal options.

Types of Burns

Burns are evaluated by a number of criteria, including patient age, location, size of burn, and degree of burn. The degree of burn refers to the depth and severity of a burn.

  • First-degree burn: First-degree burns are superficial, affecting only the top layer of skin. First-degree burns are commonly characterized by swelling, peeling, or skin redness and generally heal on their own without scarring. A bad sunburn is one type of first-degree burn.
  • Second-degree burn: Second-degree burns damage the deeper layers of the skin, making them more severe than first-degree burns. Also called partial thickness burns, second-degree burns are recognized by blistering and swelling and often leave a scar.
  • Third-degree burn: Third-degree burns are the most severe type of burn injury. Third-degree burns, also called full thickness burns, damage every layer of the skin, often reaching the muscles and tendons. In most cases, third-degree burns require surgery, such as skin grafting, a long hospitalization, and a painful recovery.

Causes of Burns

Experts may also categorize a burn injury by the source, or cause, of the burn, such as: 

  • Thermal burn: Thermal burns are caused when the skin comes into contact with sources of heat, such as flames, hot water, or steam. Thermal burns are most commonly caused by fires, automobile accidents, and kitchen accidents.
  • Flame burn: Flame burns are caused by prolonged exposure to intense heat, commonly a result of a structure fire, car accident, or flammable liquids.
  • Flash burn: Flash burns occur as a result of an explosion caused by gas or flammable liquid. Some gases that can cause a flash burn include gasoline, propane, and natural gas.
  • Scald burn: Scald burns are caused by hot liquids, such as water, grease, oil, and tar, and can result in a serious, deep burn in seconds.
  • Contact burn: Contact burns are caused by contact with hot items, including glass, coals, metals, or plastics. Contact burns may range from mild to severe.
  • Chemical burn: Chemical burns can occur when the skin is exposed to strong acids or alkali substances. Some chemicals that can cause burn injuries include bleach, swimming pool cleaners, drainage cleaners, and ammonia.
  • Electrical burn: Electrical burns are caused by exposure to an electrical current and can also damage the internal organs. Electrical burns can occur on construction sites, restaurants, or any place where electricity is present.
  • Radiological burn: Radiological burns are caused by exposure to radiation. Sunburns are the most common source of radiological burns, but they may also happen as a result of medical negligence when taking x-rays or performing radiation therapy.

Contact the Burn Injury Attorneys of Bowles & Verna, LLP

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a severe burn injury due to another person's irresponsibility or negligence, a personal injury attorney can help seek compensation for pain and suffering and other damages. To learn more about your legal rights, contact our attorneys today to schedule your personal consultation.

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Walnut Creek Office

2121 N California Blvd
Ste 875
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Open Today 8:30am - 6:00pm

More Info Directions (925) 935-3300