The personal injury attorneys at AFSL explain the difference between first, second, and third degree burns.

There was a memorable burn case in the 1990’s that made headlines after a woman sued McDonald’s due to burns caused by spilling a cup of hot coffee on herself.  The woman won the case after sustaining deep tissue burns and scaring.

However, people would be wise not to take that case as an invitation to spill coffee on themselves. Burn cases are difficult for a variety of reasons, but not as difficult as the physical recovery from a substantial burn.

Burn injuries are a type of personal injury. Like other types of personal injuries, burns may only make for an effective claim if they are the result of another person’s negligence. The severity of burns can be hard to classify.  And from a legal perspective, this can complicate the personal injury case.

Burns are medically classified as first, second, or third degree.  It is usually only third and deep second degree burns that require hospitalization.  Here is a simple and non-comprehensive explanation of personal injuries that result from burns.

First Degree Burns: First degree burns are the least serious.  Most first degree burns go away on their own within a week. This is because they only effect the outer layer of skin.  The treatment for first degree burns doesn’t usually involve hospitalization, unless it is in a sensitive area such as the face or groin. A damp, cool cloth over the affected area typically helps prevent further injury.

Second Degree Burns: Second degree burns penetrate past the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin, and typically heal after a month.  Depending on the depth of the burn, the effects can range from red discoloration, blotchy skin, and blisters; to swelling, intense pain, and hypertrophic scarring.  Second degree burns may or may not require hospitalization.

Third Degree Burns: These burns are so severe that they often do not cause pain, because the nerves and pain receptors have been completely damaged. All three layers of the skin are damaged in third degree burns. Treatment requires hospitalization and often skin grafts.

Through his work with burn victims, Keith Franz has developed relationships with some of this country’s leading medical authorities on burn injuries. Keith’s hands-on approach allows him to provide an exemplary level of service to victims in need of a forceful yet sensitive advocate.

For more information about burn related injuries, please contact Keith Franz at AFSL.