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The Lasting Damage of a Severe Burn Injury

By Butler Prather LLP on June 29, 2022

Individuals who sustain burn injuries often have long-lasting effects. This is particularly true for more severe burn injuries (third- and fourth-degree levels burns). In many cases, burn injury victims have lasting effects that can lead to significant pain and suffering as well as tremendous expenses. Here, we want to discuss the lasting damage that can be caused by a severe burn injury.

Burn Injuries Can Lead to Long Recovery Times

Most people understand that burn injuries can result in significant immediate pain and suffering as well as longer recovery times. Depending on the severity of the burn, individuals not only have to worry about the immediate damage to the skin and underlying tissue but also the onset of infection until the skin is completely healed over. This can take months.

The recovery process for a burn injury can be grueling. In some cases, this means individuals have to undergo extensive reconstructive surgeries, including skin grafts. For those who have sustained third- and fourth-degree burns, they may have to remain in the hospital or a burn center for weeks or months at a time.

The Lasting Effects of Burn Injuries

Some of the physical and visible effects of a burn injury pin last long past the initial treatment and recovery phase. These long-term effects can include:

  • An increased risk of infection
  • Visible scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of thermoregulation (inability to regulate body heat)
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Contractures (tightening or hardening of the skin, tendons, and muscles that inhibit movement)
  • Significant pain around the burn site
  • Continuous itching
  • Muscle damage causing weakness
  • Nerve damage

In addition to these long-lasting physical features of burn injuries, victims often suffer from lasting psychological effects. Yes, burns can lead to profound physical changes on the body, and this can lead to significant emotional and psychological trauma. Some of the main psychological effects of burn injuries include:

  • Social isolation
  • Negative body image
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Securing Compensation for the Lasting Effects of Burn Injuries

Any person who sustains a burn injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual or entity should be able to recover various types of compensation for their losses. This certainly includes the complete coverage of all medical expenses related to the burn injury and the recovery process (emergency rooms, follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy and rehabilitation, surgical procedures, and more). Traditionally, individuals should be able to recover compensation for any lost wages they endure as a result of the recovery process.

However, recovering compensation for the lasting emotional and psychological effects of the burn injury may be more challenging, but they are certainly important. Non-economic losses should be a major part of a burn injury settlement, and an attorney will work with trusted financial and economic experts to adequately calculate these types of losses.

In many cases, non-economic burn injury compensation is calculated using a multiplier method. For example, let us suppose a person sustains $100,000 worth of medical bills as a result of their burn injury. An attorney may use a multiplier of “three” to calculate a non-economic damage total of $300,000. Overall, the attorney would ask for $400,000 on behalf of their client.

Posted in: Burn Injury

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