What Are the Most Common Causes of Burn Injuries?

Madeleine Jones
September 21, 2019

Burn injuries can come in many different degrees of severity, and not all burn injuries are the same. Depending on the type of burn injury you have, you could recover through home remedies or need serious reconstructive surgeries. In fact, these injuries can occur as a result of numerous causes – and the type of burn injury you suffer from can have an impact on your treatment and recovery time.

#1: Thermal Burns

A thermal burn is one of the most common types of burn injury. This type of burn occurs when you come into contact with hot steam, hot liquids, fire, and other sources of very high heat. Within the thermal burn category, there are several sub-types of this injury.

  • Contact burns occur when you touch a hot object, such as a hot pan or stove, burning coals, or plastics and glass. Although the name may imply a surface-level burn, this variety can be quite deep and cause a large amount of damage.
  • Flame burns occur when you come into contact with intense heat over a longer period of time. These burns are most common during house fires and other instances where you touch an open flame, such as car fires, flammable liquids, and when your clothing catches on fire.
  • Scald burns are another common type of thermal burn. These occur when you come into contact with hot liquid or steam, such as oil, grease, water, and tar. Many types of hot liquid can cause a scald burn, and often lead to deep injuries.
  • Flash burns over a brief period of time but can lead to severe damage as a result of intense heat. These burns occur when you come into contact with explosions involving natural gas, gasoline, propane, and other highly flammable liquids. Your clothing may catch on fire during these burns.

#2: Chemical Burns

Not all burns occur as a result of an open flame or a hot object or liquid. In fact, you can suffer burns from abrasive chemicals, such as strong acids or alkalis. This type of burn, known as a chemical burn, occurs when you come into contact with harsh chemicals on your bare skin. Common causes of chemical burns include bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, drain cleaner, and ammonia.

To prevent chemical burns, it is important to take extra precautions when handling abrasive chemicals. Wear protective gloves and eyewear, and use these chemicals in a well-ventilated, secure area. Chemical burns can lead to severe damage and may require intensive treatment.

#3: Electrical Burns

You can also receive a burn from an electric shock. These burns are known as electrical burns and can occur when you come into contact with a high-voltage object emitting high heat. You are more likely to sustain an electrical burn in a commercial building, such as a restaurant, construction site (while using power tools), and office.

#4: Radiation Burns

Another common source of burn injury is the radiation burn. These burns occur when you come into contact with some form of alpha, gamma, or beta radiation. Radiation burns can come in many varieties, from a common sunburn to a serious injury from radiation therapy or an x-ray machine. If you suffered a radiation burn from a source other than the sun, it is important to visit a medical center as soon as possible to undergo decontamination.

The Burn Injury Degree System

In addition to classifying the cause of your burn injury, your medical team will also provide a diagnosis as to the burn’s severity. You can suffer from a first, second, or third-degree burn.

  • First-degree burns are the most common and only affect the top layer of the skin. You can usually treat these burns at home.
  • Second-degree burns penetrate the second layer of skin and may lead to scarring. You will require medical attention for these burns.
  • Third-degree burns are the most severe and can reach the fat under the skin. You may need reconstructive surgery for these burns.

Burn injuries can be very severe and life-threatening, leading to significant medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In these situations, you may be eligible to collect compensation for your damages if someone else caused your burn injury. Contact a Las Vegas personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and determine if you can pursue damages through a lawsuit or insurance claim.