DC Severe Burns Lawyer

For the purposes of this page, we will not deal with first degree burns as they are minor and rarely require medical intervention. If you have questions that are covered in the content of this FAQ page, you should speak with a DC burn injury attorney. Information on burn injuries is below.

Treatment For Second-degree Burns

These are serious when the damage extends beyond the top layer of skin (epidermis).

Because burn wounds are so delicate, frequent changing of bandages is essential in order to prevent infection. Keeping the wound clean also aids in the healing process. Normal healing time for a second degree burn is estimated at about two to three weeks, though it can take longer in certain circumstances. Generally, the worse the blisters are, the longer the burn will take to heal. Some second degree burns might require skin graft. Skin-grafting borrows healthy skin from another area of the patient’s body and replaces it at the site of the wound.

If the burn covers a wider area (more than a few square inches) more complicated treatment regimens may be required. Some areas of the body that suffer second degree burns could likely need more extensive treatment such as:

  • Face
  • Hands
  • Buttocks
  • Groin
  • Feet

The reason these areas often require more aggressive treatment is that they are more likely to become infected than burns on other areas of the body. With all burns, the greatest threat to the patient’s health is the danger of infection.

Treatment for Third-degree Burns

These are among the worst types of burns and can endanger long term health as well as a patient’s life if not properly treated. They cause the most damage and present the greatest challenges because several layers of the body’s skin is affected and damage can occur to underlying muscles and nerves.

Though they may not initially be very painful – due largely to damage to nerves in the affected area – the danger to the patient’s life is quite serious. The larger the area of the body that is burned the greater the potential danger. Depending on the cause, third-degree burns cause the skin to look like:

  • It is waxy and “chalky” white
  • Charred
  • Dark brown or black in extreme cases
  • Swollen and leathery

There is no universal healing timeline for third-degree burns; other than the fact that they require months – if not years – of specialized medical treatment that involves excision of the dead tissue, healing (and scarring) and likely multiple skin grafts. During this protracted healing period, many victims also find the need for psychological treatment as issues of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) are common.

Third Degree Burn Complications

The risks of complications are numerous and include blood loss and shock during the initial recovery stage when infection is also a real danger. All burns carry the risk of infections because bacteria can enter broken skin. Sepsis – infection in the blood stream – and even toxic shock can occur in acute burn cases, especially if a victim has suffered third degree burns to over a third of his or her body.

Tetanus is another possible complication with serious burns. It affects the nervous system, eventually leading to problems with muscle contractions. There is also a risk of hypothermia and hypovolemia. The former is dangerously low body temperatures due to excessive loss of body heat from damaged or ravaged dermal layers. Hypovolemia – low blood volume – occurs when the victim loses too much blood immediately after suffering a burn and the heart and other vital organs are unable to operate.


Scars are a complication of all burns. Severe burns may cause keloids (small line scars) and contractual scars, the latter of which are associated with deep third degree burns where muscles and nerves maybe involved. Some treatments in early stages of scarring can include steroids, silicone sheets, and in some cases, new laser techniques.  But the primary way in which scarring is treated is with several rounds of skin-grafting surgeries which may be preceded by reconstructive muscle surgeries.

Since many severely burned victims will require several rounds of skin graft procedures, healing must take place before another round is performed. Psychological and psychiatric treatment is not uncommon in order to help patients cope with both the injuries and the long-term treatments that are associated with severe burn recovery.

Skin Grafts

The beginning of the skin “reconstruction process” depends on the stability of the patient and how much stress the patient’s body can handle as well as other variables. However, the earlier such procedures can begin the better the outcome may be for the patient. If possible, early surgical removal or excision and replacement of damaged or infected tissue to improve healing can help stabilize the burned area for subsequent cosmetic grafts. This is especially advantageous when the face, hands, or feet are the areas needing treatment.