firefighter extinguishing car fire

What are the Different Degrees of Burn Injuries?

A burn injury can have a significant impact on a victim's life. Depending on the severity of the burn, it can lead to long-term physical and psychological injuries. There are six different degrees of burns, and each one requires different levels of treatment. First-degree burns are the least severe, while sixth-degree burns are the most severe.

Common Burn Injury Causes

Approximately 486,000 burn injuries result in medical treatment every year. While around 97 percent of burn victims survive their injuries, they are often left with permanent and life-altering disabilities. The most common causes of burn injuries include:

  • Fire
  • Hot Liquids
  • Hot Metals
  • Chemicals or Strong Acids

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns only affect the outer layer of skin, known as the epidermis. They usually result in the skin becoming red and dry with no blisters. These types of burns are usually caused by brief exposure to a flame or friction burn (i.e. seat belt burn or road rash). First-degree burns are typically not severe and can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and home remedies.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns affect both the epidermis and part of the next layer of skin below it, called the dermis. Similar to first-degree burns, the skin may be red; however, wet blisters are present. These types of burns are usually caused by longer exposure to a hot object, such as a hot piece of metal or even a deployed airbag. They can also be caused by scalding liquids or chemicals. Second-degree burns are more serious than first-degree burns and require immediate medical attention.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burn damage extends all the way through both layers of skin and sometimes into the tissue below. Third degree burns are also called full thickness burns. They may cause permanent damage to nerves and muscles and require skin grafts to heal properly. Skin grafts involve taking healthy skin from another area of your body and attaching it to the burned area.

These types of burns can be caused by electrical shocks (commonly in construction-related accidents), severe scalding liquids, or prolonged exposure to flames. Third-degree burns are very serious and can lead to permanent disfigurement, numbness, and muscle loss. Victims will need to be hospitalized and may require surgery.

Fourth, Fifth and Sixth-Degree Burns

Burns more serious than those of the third-degree go beyond just damaging your skin. They also damage your muscle tissue, tendons, blood vessels, nerves or even bone underneath your skin. These types of burns require immediate medical attention and are life-threatening (non-survivable more often than not) due to shock or infection setting in quickly after sustaining these injuries.

Aftermath of Burn Injuries

The aftermath of a burn injury can be extremely painful and debilitating. Burn injuries often result in permanent scarring, leading to physical and emotional difficulties. Victims may require multiple surgeries to correct the damage, and the scars may never fully heal. The physical and emotional toll of a burn injury can be devastating, particularly if the victim was disfigured. Financially speaking, burn injury victims may experience severe losses due to excessive medical bills and lost wages.

Looking for a Burn Injury Attorney in San Francisco, CA?

If you have sustained a burn injury due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn will investigate your case and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.

Contact Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn today at (415) 940-7176 to schedule a free consultation.