Children suffering serious burns usually require immediate emergency treatment to minimize the potential of lifelong wounds. Each year in the U.S., nearly 200,000 children three years and younger are scalded from spilt food and beverages or through direct contact with hot water or heated objects including heaters, stoves and irons. Every year, more than a quarter of 1 million American children 16 years and younger suffer burn injuries that require immediate medical attention. Sadly, more than 1000 children die from burn injuries and fires in the United States each year.
Young children are burned by various components including exposure to fire, chemicals, electricity, scalding water due to inadequate supervision in a foster home, day care center or school. In addition, a young child can suffer life-threatening burns in a vehicle accident, or from a defective product or property management negligence.
Negligence or Defective Product
Unfortunately, many burns in children occur from some type of negligence where an adult charged with providing a duty of care of creating a safe environment for the child breached their responsibility. Other times, the burned child is the victim of a defective product that caused them harm by burning their skin or lungs. The physical and emotional harm to the child can last a lifetime and often require years of rehabilitation and surgeries to restore their physical injuries.
Dealing with burns in children is often complex. A burn will psychologically, emotionally and physically impact the life of the young individual and the immediate family. The serious burn wound will usually require the expertise of medical professionals specializing in multiple disciplines. Some of these include:
- General surgery
- Critical care
- Child life development
- Infectious disease
- Pain management
- Injury prevention
- Reconstruction and plastic surgery
- Physical therapy
- Pediatric surgery
- Social work
- Psychiatric/psychology treatments
Burn Injury Classifications
Medical doctors treating children suffering burns often classified their condition in five specific categories that include:
- First Degree Burn – Any minor burn, like sunburn, that affects the epidermis (outer layer of the skin is categorized as a first-degree burn.
- Second Degree Burn – Scalding or other type of burn that damages both the outer layer of skin and the underlying skin (dermis level) is considered a second-degree burn.
- Third Degree Burn – A type of severe burn that completely destroys the skin along with underlying tissue is usually produced through direct contact with heated objects or exposed flame and requires skin grafting to close the wound.
- Fourth Degree Burn – The most severe type of burn (fourth degree) involves the complete destruction of both layers of the dermis and epidermis skin levels along with underlying bone, tendons, muscle and fat tissue. These types of burns usually occur in a high-voltage electrical accident.
- Inhalation Injury – Not every type of burn injury occurs to the skin and underlying tissue. Approximately three out of every four burn victims who die from it inhalation injury are exposed to toxic gases and/or intense smoke. Only one out of four burn victims die from actual flames in a fire related death. Survivors of an inhalation burn injury were usually involved in an accident or in incident caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, smoke inhalation or heat inhalation.
Filing a Claim for Compensation
Children that suffer serious burns often require specialized treatment from facilities that are equipped to provide ample care. Pediatric burn treatments are expensive and typically last a lifetime. Families often have to file a claim against responsible parties in an effort to seek compensation to cover medical bills and other financial expenses of dealing with a child suffering from a serious burn.
Burn injury cases are complex. Obtaining compensation usually requires a skilled attorney with a comprehensive understanding of burn injury symptoms, prognosis and treatments. These types of cases are very time sensitive and require the victim to receive proper diagnosis and effective treatments. A successful claim will usually require the law firm to preserve evidence concerning the incident. To obtain recompense, the attorney must establish a link between the cause of damages and the extent and nature of the burn.