A burn injury can be caused by anything that generates enough heat to damage the structural integrity of human tissue. Open flames obviously cause many burns, but so do hot surfaces like stoves, hot liquids like coffee, and various chemicals, radiation sources and electric currents. And a very large number of Americans—almost half a million—needed medical treatment for their burn injuries in 2013.
Burns are Unique Injuries
Burns are unique in several ways:
- The damage they cause
- The complications that follow that damage over the years
- The care that is required to treat and rehabilitate victims
The medical community recognizes that the treatment and rehabilitation of burn victims takes specialized experience. Seriously burned patients are taken out of the mainstream medical facilities like hospitals and placed in “burn centers” or “burn units” where the entire staff is specially trained in caring for these injuries. It also takes an attorney with special experience in burn injury cases to ensure that victims of these horrific injuries receive the compensation they deserve. At Drake Law, we understand the difficult personal journey that burn victims will travel, as well as the legal points that will need to be investigated and proved before they can get the funds needed to make that journey successfully.
The Damage Caused
In addition to severe pain and functional impairment, victims of a burn injury of any severity often experience:
- Vivid and recurring memories of the incident
- Disfigurement that is often extreme and may well be very visible
The combination of these may produce emotional and psychological trauma severe enough to meet the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and cause victims to experience substantial changes in personality and emotional make-up. Many victims soon come to view their lives as divided into segments “before the burn” and “after the burn.”
Even worse, the psychological consequences often spiral down: post-injury insecurity diminishes the victim’s confidence, the diminished confidence leads to awkwardness and avoidance, which increases the victim’s isolation, which causes anger and more insecurity.
Unfortunately, the real damage from scarring goes well beyond the victims’ skin. Being stared at and whispered about erodes the self-image, confidence, security, even the victim’s basic perception of other people; it’s hard to think positively about strangers who make you afraid to go outside. And it’s much worse for female victims and child victims.
Given the premium that our society places on female physical appearance, even minor scarring can have a major impact on female burn victims. They may find that their employment prospects have dwindled, either because they’ve suffered a loss of confidence that makes it harder to navigate job interviews, or because employers are reluctant to hire them for positions that deal frequently with the public.
Children, especially those who are burned before they have developed their personalities and social skills, are also likely to be more deeply affected by scars. Insecurity over their appearance and what others think of them can last a lifetime.
Quality of Life
The physical, emotional and psychological consequences can drastically affect every meaningful area that makes up a person’s life:
- Marriage and parenthood
- Friendships and involvement in social/recreational activities
Help for Your Burn Injury
Financial compensation will never make up for a serious burn injury, but it’s absolutely necessary to pay for the victim’s current and future care, and it is the only way the law has to offset the many personal and social losses the injury has caused. It’s also the only way to see that the people responsible for the injury are held accountable.
At the Drake Law Firm in Birmingham, we handle only personal injury cases, and we handle them properly. We have 25 years experience in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, with a success rate approaching 99 percent and more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts recovered for our clients. If you or someone you know has suffered a burn injury, give us a call today. The consultation is free, and you never pay us at all unless we win money for you.