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Have You Suffered a Burn Injury In or Around Spokane, Washington?

Extreme physical, emotional, and financial challenges can accompany burn injuries. Severe burns can often affect how one is perceived, potentially adding layers of struggle to other effects of the accident related to physical pain, the limiting of one’s capabilities, and expensive medical treatments. At Albrecht Law PLLC, we understand the devastating impact a burn injury can have on individuals and their families, and we help our clients seek justice and fair compensation. The experienced burn injury attorneys at our Washington state personal injury law firm provide compassionate support and legal advocacy for individuals in Spokane and throughout Washington who have suffered from burn injuries due to negligence or misconduct.

According to the American Burn Association, one person per ten-thousand in the United States will require in-person hospitalization at a burn center each year — and in 2022, there were 30,135 burn cases or 152,312 over five years, with scalds representing 58% of pediatric cases and 40% of all incidents being caused by flame or flash.

Furthermore, as of October, 2023, the World Health Organization  estimates that 11 million burn injuries of all types occur annually worldwide — 180,000 of which are fatal.

At Albrecht Law PLLC, we draw upon a profound understanding of personal injury law and a track record of representing burn victims with loyal, personalized service and cutting-edge technology. Our team is here to guide you through the legal process while prioritizing your well-being and recovery. If you or a loved one have sustained a burn injury, let Albrecht Law PLLC apply our deep knowledge and experience to your burn injury case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

5 Distinct Types of Burn Injuries

There are five distinct types of burn injuries:

  1. Thermal Burns — These common types of burns occur from contact with hot objects, steam or flames. For children, scalds have the highest prevalence, and for adults, fire tends to be the biggest culprit.
  2. Electrical Burns — Electrical burns occur due to contact with electricity; for example, a live power line or lightning. Electric currents can cause internal damage as they surge through the body, in addition to external burns, which range from mild to severe.
  3. Chemical Burns — When the skin makes contact with an acidic or base chemical, it can damage or destroy the tissues. Chemical burns cause significant pain and make human tissue itch, flake, burn, or slough off, potentially causing permanent scarring and disability. For example, chemical and electrical burns to the eyes can permanently ruin eyesight. Ingesting a harmful chemical can create serious internal damage.
  4. Radiation Burns — Radiation sources like the sun or an X-ray machine can create radiation burns that itch, flake, peel, blister, and turn red.
  5. Friction Burns — When the skin is dragged repeatedly over an uneven surface, as in the case of road rash, it may lead to friction burns.

Common Causes of Injuries Involving Burns

Did you know that half of all burn injuries can be prevented? Protect your loved ones, including children who are especially at risk, from burns caused by various factors like heat, chemicals, and accidents. Often preventable incidents at home or work cause burns, whether due to human error or product defects.

Common causes of a burn injury include:

  • Car, Truck or Motorcycle Accidents
  • Hazardous or Poorly Maintained Property
  • Defective Products or Home Appliances (water heaters, stoves)
  • Hot Liquids, Scalding Water or Pipes
  • Landlord Disregarding Fire-Safety Rules
  • Restaurant, Business or Hotel in Violation of Code
  • A Chemical Burn
  • Faulty Electrical Cord Wiring
  • Flammable Clothing and Home Furnishings
  • Defective Vehicles or Vehicle Parts, Leading to Fire
  • Faulty Safety Systems (smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire extinguisher)
  • Improper Labeling of Hot Items
  • House or Apartment Building Fire
  • Road Rash or Friction Burn
  • Playground Equipment

According to the American Burn Association, 61 percent of burn incidents took place at a private residence, and 6,844 burns with concomitant trauma were treated at burn centers. These incidents had an average stay of 9.8 days or longer — and triple the mortality rate of burns without concomitant trauma.

Understanding Burn Degrees

Understanding the different degrees of burns is essential in assessing their severity and determining the appropriate medical and legal responses. Here’s an overview of the four primary burn degrees:

  1. Superficial Burns (First-Degree Burns): These burns affect only the epidermis — the outermost layer of the skin — causing redness, minor swelling, and pain. They typically heal within a few days without scarring.
  2. Partial Thickness Burns (Second-Degree Burns): These burns extend beyond the outer layer of the skin, causing blistering, severe pain, and potential scarring. They may require medical attention and can take several weeks to heal.
  3. Full Thickness Burns (Third-Degree Burns): These burns damage all layers of the skin, causing a white or charred appearance. Nerve damage may lead to decreased sensation in the affected area, and skin grafts are often necessary for healing.
  4. Fourth-Degree Burns: The type of highest severity, these burns extend beyond the skin to affect muscles, tendons, and bones. Burn treatment requires immediate medical attention, with fourth-degree burns often leading to long-term complications, which may include permanent disfigurement and disability. Victims of fourth-degree burns should seek emergency medical care as soon as possible following an incident.

Understanding the degree of burn from your injury will help you pursue the appropriate legal recourse and compensation for its physical, emotional, and financial toll. If you or a loved one have suffered from any degree of burn injury—whether first-degree burns, second-degree burns, third-degree burns or fourth degree burns—our legal team at Albrecht Law PLLC, will support and guide you through the legal process of seeking justice and compensation.

The Impact of a Burn Injury on Your Quality of Life

Burn injuries are complex and go beyond the surface of the skin, affecting blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and bone. Severe burns not only damage physical appearance but also impact mobility, temperature regulation, and overall health. Victims face challenges such as permanent nerve damage, restricted movement, infections, and emotional distress. Recovery involves extensive medical treatment and can lead to financial strain due to medical bills and lost wages. If a burn injury was caused by another’s negligence, the road to healing becomes even more difficult.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

Physical and occupational therapy play crucial roles in the rehabilitation of individuals who have suffered from various types of burns, particularly those classified as second-degree (partial-thickness burns) and third-degree (full-thickness burns).

For second-degree burns, which extend beyond the outer layer of the skin and may cause blistering, physical and occupational therapy become essential components of the recovery process. These burns often require specialized interventions to address pain management, wound care, and scar management. Additionally, occupational therapists can help patients regain fine motor skills and dexterity that may have been affected by injuries to the hands or other areas.

In the case of third-degree burns, which damage all layers of the skin and often necessitate skin grafts for healing, physical and occupational therapy are vital for maximizing functional recovery. These burns can lead to significant impairment of movement, sensation, and function, requiring intensive rehabilitation to restore range of motion, strength, and independence in daily activities.

The goal of physical and occupational therapy in both cases is to facilitate optimal healing, minimize the risk of complications such as contractures, and support the individual in regaining as much functionality and independence as possible following a burn injury.

How to Prevent Infection in Burn Victims

Preventing infection is a critical aspect of burn care. Several measures can fight infection and promote optimal healing in the burned area:

  • Wound Management: Proper wound care and dressing changes in the burned area are imperative to prevent infection or fight infection in burn victims. Regular cleaning and dressing of the wounds helps to create an environment that discourages the growth of harmful bacteria and minimizes the risk of infection.
  • Infection Control Practices: Stringent infection control practices, including hand washing with mild soap and environmental control measures, are crucial in healthcare settings where burn patients undergo treatment. These practices help minimize the risk of introducing harmful pathogens to burn wounds.
  • Topical Antimicrobial Treatment: The use of antimicrobial ointments, such as silver sulfadiazine, mafenide, silver nitrate, and povidone-iodine, can reduce the risk of infection in burn wounds. Additionally, in the case of localized MRSA burn wound infection, your medical team may utilize topical treatments like fusidic acid and gentamicin sulfate.
  • Systemic Antimicrobial Treatment: For traumatic injuries, your medical team might consider systemic antimicrobial treatment at the burn site to prevent the emergence of resistant organisms and mitigate the risk of systemic infection.
  • Preventing Thromboembolism: Physiotherapy and early ambulation play a role in both preventing thromboembolism and helping burn patients maintain lean body mass, ultimately contributing to their overall recovery.

By implementing these preventive measures, healthcare providers can effectively mitigate the risk of infection in burn victims, promoting better healing outcomes and reducing the potential for complications.

Contact Albrecht Law PLLC, for a Free Consultation and Loyal, Personalized Service

Whether you have suffered a first degree burn, second degree burn, or especially severe deep burns, trust the personal injury attorneys at Albrecht Law PLLC to help. During your free consultation, we will review the details of the burn incident and devise a strategy for seeking compensation based on the relevant factors. We combine cutting-edge technology with loyal, personalized, and courteous attention. At Albrecht Law, you are known.

Contact us at (509) 495-1246(509) 495-1246 or complete our online form today to schedule your free consultation. We are here to serve you.

Albrecht Law PLLC — Our Clients Are More Than Just Cases

Frequently-Asked Questions Regarding Burn Injury Cases in Washington

Does burned skin completely heal?

The healing process can be complex, and may vary depending on the burn’s severity. Mild burns or scalds that only affect the uppermost layer of skin (superficial epidermal burns) usually heal in a week without any scarring. Full-thickness burns, however, may heal only at the edges by scarring without a skin graft — a thin layer of skin often necessary for more severe burns. Third-degree burns don’t heal on their own, necessitating skin grafting. Third-degree burns can take a couple of years to heal completely.

How can burns cause low blood volume?

Burns can lead to low blood volume through several mechanisms, including significant fluid loss through the burned area, which can lead to a decrease in the overall blood volume and lead to hypovolemic shock if not addressed promptly. Damaged blood vessels around the burn site may become more permeable, allowing plasma to leak out into the surrounding tissues, further contributing to a reduction in blood volume and potentially leading to hypovolemia.

Burns trigger an inflammatory response in the body, causing the release of inflammatory mediators, increased capillary permeability, and fluid shift from the bloodstream into the interstitial spaces. This process can significantly reduce the circulating blood volume.

Severe burns elevate the metabolic rate, increasing oxygen and nutrient demands. This heightened metabolic demand coupled with decreased blood volume can lead to tissue damage via impaired tissue perfusion and oxygen delivery.

Do burned areas affect healthy skin?

Burned areas of skin can affect healthy skin, depending on the severity and extent of the burn. Burned skin triggers an inflammatory response that can extend to the surrounding, healthy skin, potentially leading to increased permeability of blood vessels and fluid accumulation. Severe burns often lead to scar formation that can extend beyond the immediate burn site and affect the appearance and function of healthy skin. Changes in skin pigmentation due to a burn can create a noticeable contrast with the unburned skin. Healthy skin near the burned area may exhibit heightened sensitivity and pain due to inflammation and nerve damage caused by the burn. Nearby healthy skin may undergo compensatory changes to accommodate for the loss of function or protection.

Do I need to go to a burn center after a burn injury?

Generally, you can treat minor burns at home with first-aid and expect healing within a couple of weeks. Consider seeking treatment at a burn center for burns that involve sensitive areas such as the face, hands, feet, genitalia, or major joints. It is important to seek treatment for third-degree burns because they are severe and affect deeper layers of the skin, as well as for burns requiring urgent medical attention — especially if the individual is hemodynamically unstable.

Are burn scars permanent?

Burn scars are generally considered permanent. While they may fade and improve over time, they do not undergo complete spontaneous healing and fade away. For the majority of severe scar situations, the scar will remain permanently visible.

What is hypertrophic scarring?

This scarring is a type of abnormal response to wound healing that causes the formation of thick, raised scars — characterized by excessive deposition of collagen and extracellular matrix, leading to a raised, reddish appearance. Unlike keloids, which extend beyond the boundaries of the original wound, hypertrophic scars remain within the confines of the initial injury.

The occurrence of hypertrophic scars is often associated with taut skin areas and can lead to various types of injuries, such as burns, surgical incisions, or traumatic wounds. These scars may cause discomfort, itching, or restricted mobility, particularly if they form over joints.

Treatment for hypertrophic scars may include options such as silicone gel sheets, corticosteroid injections, laser therapy, or surgical intervention, depending on the severity and individual characteristics of the scars.

As a burn heals, how does physical therapy help?

Physical therapy addresses the physical impairments and functional limitations in burn patients, including range of motion retention, pain relief, and quality of life improvement. It can include positioning and limb elevation, pressure sore prevention, respiratory therapy, and other treatments.

How do I know if my burns constitute a valid personal injury case?

Following a burn injury of any degree, whether a full thickness burn (third degree), a deep partial thickness burn (deep second degree burns) or any burn depth in the aftermath of an accident, consult an experienced personal injury attorney. They can assess the degree of negligence that led to the injury, the severity of the burn, the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the impact of the injury on your physical, emotional, and financial well-being.

Your Spokane personal injury attorney can explain whether or not you have a valid claim for damages, based on the nature of the incident, the extent of the injury, and the potential liability of the responsible party. Regardless of the degree of burn, if someone else’s negligence caused it, your attorney can guide you through the process of pursuing fair and appropriate compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

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