While most first degree burns will heal without leaving scars behind, second degree burns can learn permanent disfiguring scars. When an individual sustains second degree burns due to the negligent actions of another party, the burn victim can sue the responsible party that can be held liable under law for the victim’s:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of life quality
How much compensation a second degree burn victim can obtain is dependent upon the severity of his or her injuries and on any complications that arise from the burns.
What is a Second Degree Burn?
Generally, burns are graded by degree: first, second and third. The degree a burn is graded at will determine what type of medical treatment is necessary.
A first degree burn is the least serious burn injury. When someone has a first degree burn, only the outer layer of the skin is injured. This type of burn will appear red in color and cause some minor pain and swelling. First degree burns can easily be treated at home and tend to heal rapidly and without problems.
A second degree burn is an injury that penetrates below the top layer of the skin into the second layer which is called the dermis. This type of burn will appear a deep red color and will blister. Pain is common in a second degree burn as is swelling. Medical experts agree that if a second degree burn is smaller than three inches around, it can be treated at home but if it is larger, it’s advisable to seek professional medical treatment immediately.
A third degree burn is the most serious type that involves all the layers of the skin as well as underlying tissue. This type of burn typically makes the skin appear charred or black. Third degree burns require immediate medical attention.
Causes of Second Degree Burns
Second degree burns can be caused by:
- A body part coming into contact with flames
- A body part coming into contact with hot liquids or steam
- A body part coming into contact with chemicals
- Severe sunburn
- A body part exposed to intense heat wherein a thermal burn is sustained
Second Degree Burn Complications
Deep second degree burns can cause scar tissue to form. This scar tissue shrinks or contracts as it heals. If the scarring occurs on a limb or digit, the resulting contracture can restrict movement of nearby joints. Scarring contractures resulting from second degree burns may require excision and skin grafting.
In many second degree burn cases, bacterial infections lead to these burns becoming third degree burns. Infection of the wound area can lead to sepsis and septic shock. A patient with septic shock experiences a rapid drop of blood pressure, putting their life in extreme danger. Patients suffering from septic shock are usually admitted to intensive care units so that the body’s functions and organs can be supported while the infection is being treated.
A condition called Compartment Syndrome can develop in circumferential second degree burns. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment. It can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with blood flow. This condition requires immediate surgery wherein long cuts are made through the muscle tissue to relieve the pressure. The burn wounds can be left open following the first surgery and then closed with a second surgery that usually is done two to three days later. Skin grafting may be necessary to properly close the wound.
If you or someone you love has sustained a second degree burn in an accident that was caused by someone else, contact a San Francisco second degree burn lawyer right away. The California personal injury attorneys at Hogan Injury help burn victims receive the compensation they are legally entitled to under law. We can be reached 24/7 either via our website or by calling 866-205-4971.