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Overview of the four degrees of burn injuries


Of all the potential injuries that a California resident could suffer as the result of an accident, burn injuries can be some of the most severely life-altering. A person who suffers a burn injury can face weeks of hospitalization in a burn trauma center receiving medical treatment and, if a burn is bad enough, that treatment could involve skin grafts, surgery or even amputation. However, not all burn injuries are the same. Many medical experts would point out to our readers that there are four degrees of burns.

First-degree burns are actually quite common. In fact, many California residents have probably suffered from a first-degree burn before – it is the equivalent of a bad sunburn. When a person suffers a first-degree burn the affected skin will usually appear to be dry and red, and it will usually be very painful. However, over the course of about a week the effects of the burn will usually subside.

A second-degree burn is more of a concern. While prolonged hospitalization usually is not required to treat a second-degree burn, the affected skin nonetheless will not look too good. The skin will usually feel very painful, it will be pink or red and the skin will actually look somewhat wet in appearance. A longer period of time, somewhere up to three weeks or so, will usually see the skin heal, with minimal scarring, if it is only a partial thickness second-degree burn. A full thickness burn, however, requires much more treatment.

Third-degree burns and fourth-degree burns can be truly life-threatening. These burns leave skin destroyed, and a fourth-degree burn actually goes into a person’s muscle and bone. These types of burns will definitely leave scars – that is assuming that the person survives to receive treatment. And, as our readers can probably expect, the potential treatment involved can be extremely expensive. That is why it can be a good idea to evaluate whether a personal injury lawsuit is prudent if the burn injuries occurred as the result of another party’s negligence. The compensation that could be recovered would be applied toward medical expenses, among other financial needs.

Source: University of New Mexico, “Burn Classification,” Accessed Nov. 7, 2015