A burn will fall into 1 of 3 categories:
1st degree burn
This is a mild burn and doesn’t require medical treatment. You might feel discomfort and see reddening of the skin’s outer layer, but you can likely use an over-the-counter topical burn remedy to soothe the pain. A 1st degree burn will heal on its own after a few days.
2nd degree burn
A 2nd degree burn includes red skin, blistering, and pain. It might appear glossy or involve leaking of fluid and skin loss. This type of burn should be treated by a doctor or urgent care medical professional.
3rd degree burn
This is the most severe category of burn injury because it penetrates the skin and destroys tissue. The skin will become dry and leathery, or could appear white, brown, or black. If someone suffers a 3rd degree burn, they should seek emergency medical attention.
There are several ways to suffer a burn injury. The most common include:
- Scalding, when hot liquid comes into contact with skin.
- Electrical burns, where electrical voltage on the surface of the skin can also cause internal damage.
- Inhalation burns from inhaling smoke, steam, or toxic fumes.
- Chemical burns from a strong acid or base in contact with skin.
- Gas explosions caused by a gas leak that catches fire.
- Thermal burns, which include exposure to fire (like a car accident, building fire, or flammable liquid exposure).
- Radiation burns, such as from X-rays, radiation from medical treatment, or tanning beds.
A burn injury could be more or less severe depending on which part of the body is affected, the source of the burn, and even the age of the person. Children and elderly people don’t heal as well as other people. A burn on the face might cause breathing or vision problems, where the same level of burn on the arm or leg, for example, might not have complications. People with respiratory illnesses, heart conditions, kidney disease, and diabetes might be more affected by a burn than people without those conditions.
Common causes of severe burn injuries
No matter how careful you are, a burn injury can happen when you least expect it. Some of the most common causes of severe burn injuries include:
- Truck or car accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Defective products
- Electrical accidents
- Scalding water or pipes
- Fires in public places (like restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, etc.)
- Apartment building fires
- Burn injuries at work
Any injury, including a burn, that happens in your workplace or when you’re doing your job is eligible for a workers’ compensation claim.
The workers’ compensation system is available in every state to compensate an injured employee for medical expenses and lost wages during recovery.
The benefit to workers’ compensation insurance is that it covers an employee regardless of whether anyone (including the employee) was at fault. The main questions in a workers’ compensation claim are whether the accident happened in the workplace or while the employee was performing work-related tasks.
If you can prove that it was a work-related accident, and if your medical records indicate that there were costs associated with your treatment, then you’re likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation covers:
- Medical treatment
- Income replacement (past and future)
- Retraining costs if you can no longer work on the job you had before the injury
- Partial compensation for permanent injuries
- Benefits to the family of a worker who dies from a work-related accident or illness (death benefits)