Is A Burn A Catastrophic Injury?

Practically everyone has experienced a burn—whether spilling hot water, accidentally touching a candle, or even getting a carpet burn. Because of the perception that burns happen too often to be considered very serious, sometimes people minimize the pain of their burns or do not seek proper medical attention.

Many burns can be considered catastrophic injuries depending on their impact and are usually classified into three degrees. A catastrophic injury is when a person suffers a permanent or long-lasting injury that severely damages their body. Catastrophic injuries are extreme and significantly impact the injured person’s life.

Signs of a Catastrophic Burn Injury

Sometimes, catastrophic burns do not appear to be serious. They may not be visibly infected or that painful. Despite that, it is highly recommended to visit the emergency room or a medical professional as soon as possible after experiencing a significant burn. Burns can result in scarring, disfigurement, illness, and infections. Many catastrophic burns kill the underlying nerves, so it can be common for them not to hurt. However, the more time that passes between the time of the burn and medical treatment, the more likely the burn is to get infected.

Several specific signs indicate that a burn is catastrophic. For example, patients with serious burns can feel like their bodies are overheating or extremely cold. That is because the same blood flow is no longer going to the site of the catastrophic burn. Another sign is scarring, which indicates that the skin is permanently damaged. Two more indicators of a catastrophic burn injury are extreme pain and contractures—when muscles, tendons, joints, or other tissues tighten or shorten, resulting in a deformity. All of these signs can lead to emotional and mental trauma as those who suffer from serious burn injuries can suffer from emotional wounds as well.

Moving Forward After Suffering Severe Burn Damage

Care costs for burns can be expensive. Burns also have a socioeconomic impact as they can affect a person’s:

  • Wages
  • In-home care
  • Family’s overall resources
  • Long-term occupational therapy

When an injured person files a lawsuit, they create a path forward toward potential compensation for their losses. Compensation can be economic or non-economic.

Economic damages are specific. They can be documented or calculated through receipts or bills. Some examples are lost wages, lowered earning capacity, medical care, and more. Non-economic damages are subjective and tend not to be tangibly measurable. They compensate for abstract losses like mental or emotional trauma, PTSD, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you have suffered a trauma, remember you have options to seek remedies for your injuries.