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What Are the Types and Degrees of Burn Injuries?

Burn injuries are among the most painful and debilitating injuries one can experience. In personal injury cases, understanding the types and degrees of burn injuries is vital for assessing the severity of the injury, determining liability, and seeking appropriate compensation.

Types of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can be classified into several types based on the cause of the burn:

Thermal Burns: Caused by contact with hot surfaces, open flames, hot liquids, or steam. These are the most common burns and often occur in household, workplace, and car accidents.

Chemical Burns: Result from contact with hazardous chemicals or substances. These burns can occur in industrial settings, in labs, or through exposure to household chemicals.

Woman with burn injury

Electrical Burns: Caused by electrical currents passing through the body. Electrical burns can be deceiving, as they often have internal damage that may not be visible externally.

Radiation Burns: Result from overexposure to radiation, such as radiation therapy in medical treatments or industrial accidents.

Friction Burns: These occur when the skin rubs against a hard surface and is typically associated with motorcycle accidents or falls.

Degrees of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are further categorized into degrees to describe their severity and depth.

First-Degree Burns (Superficial)

  • Superficial burns affect only the top layer of the skin.
  • Symptoms include redness, pain, and mild swelling.
  • Healing typically occurs within a few days, and scarring is minimal.

Second-Degree Burns (Partial-Thickness)

  • Second-degree burns affect both the epidermis and the layer beneath it.
  • Symptoms include blistering, severe pain, and potential scarring.
  • Healing may take several weeks, and the risk of infection is higher.

Third-degree burns (Full-Thickness)

  • These burns extend through the entire thickness of the skin, damaging underlying tissues.
  • Symptoms include charred or white skin, numbness due to nerve damage, and a high risk of infection.
  • Third-degree burns require extensive medical treatment, often including surgery and skin grafts.

Fourth-Degree Burns (Deep Tissue)

  • These are the most severe burns, affecting deeper tissues, including muscle, bone, and tendons.
  • These burns are life-threatening and often result in permanent disability.
  • Treatment involves intensive medical care, surgeries, and long-term rehabilitation.

What Types of Accidents Can Cause Burn Injuries?

Various accidents can cause burn injuries. Among the most common are:

Electrical Accidents

Electrical burns can result from exposed wires, malfunctioning electrical devices, or electrical fires. Negligent property owners and electrical contractors can be held responsible for electrical accidents.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents can lead to fires, often caused by a collision rupturing the fuel tank. Negligent driving or improper vehicle maintenance can be factors contributing to these accidents.

Chemical Accidents

Exposure to hazardous chemicals due to inadequate safety precautions in industrial settings can cause chemical burns. Employers and chemical companies may be liable for insufficient safety measures.

Scalding Accidents

Negligence in places like nursing homes, daycares, or restaurants can result in scalding accidents due to hot water or liquids. Failure to regulate water temperatures or supervise children can lead to injuries.

Worksite Accidents

Welding accidents, boiler explosions, or chemical spills at worksites can result in thermal and chemical burns. Employers are typically liable for ensuring worksite safety.

Construction Accidents

Inadequate safety measures at construction sites and the negligence of general contractors or subcontractors can lead to chemical, electrical, or thermal burns for construction workers.

Apartment Fires

Landlords and property management companies can be held accountable for burn injuries if a lack of fire prevention measures, faulty wiring, or inadequate smoke detectors contributes to apartment fires.


Explosions in industrial or commercial settings and construction sites due to gas, chemical, or equipment failures can lead to catastrophic burns. Negligence in maintenance and safety protocols is often a contributing factor.

Restaurant Accidents

Accidents in restaurants and commercial kitchens, such as cooking oil fires or hot oil spills, can cause burns. Negligence in kitchen safety practices may lead to these incidents.

Types of Damages in Burn Injury Cases

Here are the types of damages our burn injury lawyers at Caputo and Van Der Walde – Injury & Accident Attorneys may pursue on your behalf:

Current and Future Medical Costs 

Our personal injury attorneys can seek compensation for present and future medical expenses related to your burn injury. This includes surgeries, grafting procedures, plastic surgeries, wound care, hospital stays, doctor visits, medication, and therapy.

Current and Future Income Loss 

If your burn injury has resulted in temporary or permanent disability, our attorneys can pursue damages for current and future income loss. This includes lost wages, benefits, and potential future earnings.

Pain and Suffering 

Burn injuries are often excruciatingly painful and may lead to long-term physical suffering. We can seek compensation for the pain you have endured and will continue to experience in the foreseeable future due to your burn injuries.

Scarring and Disfigurement 

Severe burns often result in visible scarring and disfigurement, which can have a significant emotional and psychological impact. Our law firm will pursue damages to compensate for the physical changes and their effect on your self-esteem, self-image, and overall well-being.

Emotional Distress 

The emotional distress caused by a burn injury can be overwhelming. Our attorneys can pursue damages for the psychological trauma, anxiety, depression, and emotional suffering that you have experienced or will experience in the future.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

Some burn injury survivors may develop PTSD following the traumatic incident that caused their injury or the ongoing psychological impact of the injury itself.

Get Our Experienced Burn Injury Lawyers in Northern California on Your Side

At Caputo and Van Der Walde – Injury & Accident Attorneys, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial impact that burn injuries can have on your life. Our personal injury lawyers have decades of experience helping burn injury survivors obtain the compensation they deserve. Our dedicated team will work relentlessly to build a strong case and hold the negligent parties accountable for maximum damages. Call us at 886-545-2793 or fill out this online contact form to book your free consultation.