February 16, 2024

Types And Classifications Of Burns


Burn injuries can have long-lasting and traumatic effects for victims and their families. The skilled burn injury attorneys at Cueria Law Firm can help you fight for the compensation you deserve if you have suffered a burn injury as a result of the negligence of another person or entity.

If you have been involved in a burn injury accident, contact our attorneys today. You may be able to file a lawsuit and get the money you deserve. There are many causes of burns that can result in severe, permanent injury

Some of the most common burn injuries are caused by: 

  • Electrical shock
  • Chemical spills and exposure
  • Scalding liquids or chemicals
  • Fire

Other common causes of burn injuries are the result of accidents such as: 

Types of Burns 

Thermal Burns

There is a possibility of suffering thermal burn if in a car accident and you are thrown up against something hot or something catches on fire. This type of burn injury can also result from steam. Treatment of a thermal burn begins at the scene of the accident. A comprehensive approach is required to prevent the burn from worsening. A burn center may be required for more serious burns. If a burn center is located within 30 minutes of the car accident scene, the victim may be transported directly by an ambulance. If not, it may be necessary to receive treatment at a level one trauma center.

Victims who have burns easily visible or have extensive burns may have lifelong impacts. Many victims of these types of cases seek compensation from the individual responsible for the accident that resulted in the burns. With compensation, necessary costs for burn injury treatment and lifelong impacts may be covered.

Electrical Burns

There are six main types of electrical burns. A victim of an electrical burn may have more than one type present. All injuries should be managed and treated according to the kind of burn.

  • Arc Burn Type: An arc burn does not require direct contact with an electrical source. Electrical energy moving from a location of high resistance to an area of low resistance causes this type of burn. When air particles become ionized, the circuit is complete.
  • Low Voltage Burn Type: Contact with an electrical source with less than 500 volts causes low voltage burns. Typically, a low voltage burn is mild, injuring only the skin. Harm to organs or tissues does not occur due to the low voltage.
  • High Voltage Burn Type: Direct contact with a high voltage electrical source occurs with high voltage burns. Damage to tissues and organs can arise from current running through the patient’s body. In a high voltage burn, the amount of skin damage may be deceptive.
  • Flash Burn Type: Electrical arcs on the skin are the cause of flash burns. These types of wounds do not penetrate tissue, with most harming the skin. Large areas of skin can receive extensive damage from arc burns.
  • Flame Burn Type: Other types of electrical burns, such as flash burns or arc burns, are the cause of flame burns. The source of the burn ignites, creating a flame. Often, people with flame burns have injuries from other burn types.
  • Oral Burn Type: Children are often the victim of oral burns, with biting into an electrical cord is the most common cause. Extensive damage to the mouth occurs as current passes in the mouth from one side to the other. In some cases, faulty dental equipment causes oral burns.
  • Electrical Burn Treatment: Electrical burns may be complicated to treat. The source of the victim’s trauma may cause injury to an individual if they come in contact with the victim while the victim still has contact with the electrical source. If possible, the electrical source should be turned off or removed by using an object made of rubber, plastic, or wood, as these materials do not conduct electricity. The burn victim should be laid down to prevent injury from seizures or shock.

Chemical Burns

Areas of denatured proteins result from any burn, no matter the cause. When this occurs, proteins change shape and start to break apart. Parts of the cell membrane becomes damaged, leaking fluid out of the cell resulting in the cell’s death. A chemical reaction, rather than heat, is what causes denatured proteins from chemicals.

Painful chemical reactions can occur with the following substances:

  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Lye
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Silver Nitrate
  • Lime
  • Hydrofluoric Acid
  • Vesicants
  • Sulfur Mustard
  • Urticants

A chemical burn severity is determined by the following:

  • Concentration
  • Amount of Burning Agent
  • Skin Contact Duration
  • Penetration
  • Mechanism of Action 

Symptoms of Chemical Burn Injury:

  • Vomiting and Nausea
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Convulsions or Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Weakness

Chemical Burn Treatment

To treat a chemical burn, as much of the chemical must be removed first, if at all possible. Before flushing with water, be sure to brush off all visible chemicals. All contaminated clothing should be removed, and the wound area flooded with an abundance of room temperature water. Do not treat a chemical burn by soaking in a tub or with chemicals. A burn spreads to other areas of the body when tub soaking. The wound may need to be flooded anywhere from thirty minutes up to two hours.

The victims should seek medical attention immediately if the chemical were inhaled or somehow internal. Also, seek medical attention if the burn is extensive or when a heat source is hard to remove. Do not use ointments or salve in chemical burns for a home remedy.

Common Household Burns

Burn injuries are traumatic and can cause a great deal of pain and turmoil, not only for the burn victims but their families as well. Even in the safety of your own home or the home of a trusted family member or friend, there are many potential burn dangers, of which you should be aware. If you have children, it is even more important to be mindful of possible causes of severe burns to protect them and their delicate skin. 

The most common burn injuries in the home occur in the kitchen or bathroom, but there are other locations where burns commonly occur. 

Burns in the Kitchen

  • Scalding caused by hot cooking liquid or steam
  • Touching hot surfaces on the oven or stovetop
  • Grease fires 
  • Aerosols near an open flame when cleaning
  • Microwave fires 

Burns in the Bathroom

  • Scalding from hot bathwater
  • Using electrical appliances such as hair dryers or curling irons near the bathtub or sink
  • Unattended candles
  • Aerosols near open flames  

 Other Household Burns 

  • Using outdoor barbeque grills 
  • Keeping flammable liquids near open flames
  • Smoking in bed
  • Unattended space heaters 

Degrees of Burns

Burns are painful injuries, but some are more severe than others. There are four primary degrees of burns that are based on the severity of the damage to the skin. First-degree burns are often mild and can be treated at home. Fourth-degree burns share the same characteristics of a third-degree burn; however, they result in damage to the tendons and bones. Second- and third-degree burns include some of the more common burn injuries in Louisiana. In any case, it is crucial to administer treatment to the burn immediately to ensure that it heals quickly and with minimal long-term damage.

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns are superficial burns that only affect the outermost layer of the skin. These types of burns typically heal within 7-10 days and leave minimal or no scarring. Treatment of first-degree burns can include soaking in cool water, taking ibuprofen, applying aloe vera, or using a topical antibiotic treatment explicitly meant for burns.

First-Degree Burn Treatment

Generally, individuals can treat a first-degree burn at home. Cold compresses and ointment can help relieve pain and cool the skin, promoting healing. Never use butter and oils should in the treatment of a burn, which can prevent healing of the area. The wound must be kept free of debris and clean to prevent infection. Bandages may be helpful depending on the location of the burn. Anywhere from three to twenty days may be needed for a first-degree burn to heal, depending on the type and size of the wound and the methods for treatment used.

In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary for first-degree burns. Medical attention may be required if a burn covers a large area of the patient’s body to avoid complications. The body’s most reliable defense against bacteria and viruses is skin, leaving a patient vulnerable to infection when a burn covers a large portion of the skin.

Late Healing

Individuals may require medical attention for a first-degree burn that is not healing correctly. If a burn is not showing indications of healing, and it has been longer than twenty days, immune system complications may be preventing the healing process. Seek medical attention for treatment with a burn showing signs of infection or worsening rather than healing.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns are also known as partial thickness burns. They penetrate the dermis of the skin and are caused by extended exposure to the source of the burn. Second-degree burns are very often the result of chemical or electrical burns. These burns cause blisters and red, sore skin.

Generally, second-degree burns take several weeks to heal, but this depends upon the severity of the burn. Many mild burns of this degree can be treated much like first-degree burns. However, the worst second-degree burns may require skin grafting. Skin grafting removes healthy skin from one area of the body and replaces it on the burned area of the body. 

There are two primary types of second-degree burns. These include:

  • Superficial Second-Degree Burns: These types of second-degree burns penetrate through the upper layer of the dermis, where the dermis and the epidermis connect. Superficial second-degree burns can be very serious and may require medical attention.
  • Deep Second-Degree Burns: Deep second-degree burns penetrate into the lower layers of the dermis. Since many sense receptors reside here, these types of second-degree burns can be some of the most painful burns a human can experience. Because they affect deeper layers of the skin, they can cause long-term damage to the hair follicles, sweat glands, and blood vessels. Deep second-degree burns can also cause severe scarring and take a long time to heal.

Second-Degree Burn Treatment

Second-degree burns should be cooled immediately. Typically, cool water is the best way to accomplish this. It is recommended to run water on a burn, however, if this is problematic, compresses may be used to cool a burn or the burn area may be submerged in water. Avoid very cold water, ice, or compresses, as these tend to cool the skin too quickly and may cause hypothermia or other complications. The following are necessary steps following a second-degree burn injury:

  • Pain Relief: Second degree burns cause much pain. Swelling can be reduced and pain relief may be had with some over-the-counter pain relievers. Prior to administering over-the-counter medications to a child who has been burned, thoroughly read warning labels. Seek advice from a medical professional if there are any concerns.
  • Preventing Infection: A burn should be kept clean as well as free from contamination. To help keep debris or other contaminants from entering the burn, cover it with gauze or a bandage. Coverings must also be free of lint. To allow airflow and avoid tearing or damaging the skin, covering should be loosely wrapped.
  • Medical Treatment by A Professional: While the majority of second-degree burns heal without seeking treatment, a medical professional might be able to prescribe pain medication and sterilize the burn properly. Medical professionals may prescribe antibiotics when there is a risk of infection. A professional medical assessment can identify the burn’s severity and determine if further treatment is necessary.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns are the most severe because they penetrate every level of the skin. Although these kinds of burns can cause very serious and permanent damage, they may not be as painful as deep second-degree burns. This is because a third-degree burn will penetrate deep into the layers of the skin, causing damage to the underlying nerves. Due to the severity of these burns, it is recommended that victims of a third-degree burn injury in Louisiana seek treatment at a certified burn injury center in the state.

Louisiana has multiple burn units that are specially equipped to handle the most serious burn injuries. If you have suffered a severe burn injury, you may consider going to one of the facilities below for the most appropriate treatment.

Fourth-Degree Burns

Burns of this degree are often the result of house fires or high-voltage electric shock. Fourth-degree burns are characterized by damage that has penetrated the bone and the need for amputation of the injured limbs.

As with most burn injuries, they are often classified by both the degree and severity. The amount of body affected by the burn classifies the severity. By properly identifying the TBSA or total body surface area of the burn, specific burn treatment can be provided by medical professionals. Medical professionals use the Rule of Nines to calculate the percentage of burns in adults. Parts of the victim’s body correspond to about 9 percent of the total body, with few exceptions, such as the face, groin, etc. With 1 percent being the least percentage affected and total body burns as 100 percent.

Burn injuries are a common injury in Louisiana. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a burn injury in the state of Louisiana due to the negligence of another party, contact Cueria Law Firm today. Our experienced attorneys have helped countless burn injury victims get the compensation they deserve after a horrendous burn injury.

Contact Us Today

The Cueria Law Firm is standing by to help you with your case. Fill out the form below to get a free case evaluation or call our office today to speak with our experienced team of Louisiana legal professionals. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can begin to work on getting you the compensation that you deserve. 

Request a Free Case Review

Related Articles