San Antonio Burn Injury Lawyer

Committed to Helping Burn Victims Recover Fair Compensation Under Texas Law

San Antonio is a beautiful and historic city to live, work, and play. Whether you’re visiting our fair city or hale from the area, there’s always something new and exciting to see and appreciate in San Antonio. If someone else’s negligence has left you with a serious burn injury, it’s a different story, but you don’t have to face this extreme challenge on your own. An experienced burn injury attorney will help you navigate the path toward healing and just compensation.

Your Burn Injury

Burn injuries are exceedingly painful and often lead to dangerous complications that can be long-lasting. Further, being injured in a fire is an extremely traumatizing event that can lead to overarching emotional and psychological consequences. Additionally, burn injuries on or near the face can be not only disfiguring, but emotionally devastating.

If someone else’s negligence has caused you to suffer a serious burn injury, you need experienced legal counsel. Burn injuries often require extended medical treatment, including skin grafts, and can exact extreme consequences. Although no amount of money can ever return you to your pre-accident self, recovering fair compensation for your injury and medical bills can help you better navigate the journey toward recovery. The dedicated legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas in San Antonio understands that you’re going through an extremely difficult experience. Our committed burn injury attorneys have the skill, determination, and compassion to aggressively advocate for the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing.

There are three types of burns:

Burn injuries can range from quite mild to deadly, but it’s important to note that even a relatively mild burn is likely to be extremely painful. If you’ve suffered a burn injury, you need immediate medical attention. Early treatment will provide you with the best possibility of healing as swiftly and as healthily as possible. The healing process related to burn injuries is often lengthy, and the severity of your burn will dictate the level of damage you’ll endure:

First-Degree Burn

A first-degree burn damages the outer layer of your skin, also known as the dermis. You will likely experience pain – along with swelling and reddened skin. While first-degree burns are the mildest burn injuries and don’t typically cause permanent damage, they are often extremely painful injuries – especially if the burn covers a large area of your body.

Second-Degree Burn

A second-degree burn damages both your skin’s outer layer and its inner layer, also known as the epidermis. A second-degree burn typically will leave your skin very reddened – with both swelling and blisters. The pain from a second-degree burn can be extreme.

Third-Degree Burn

A third-degree burn is the most serious of all, and these burns damage your dermis, epidermis, and the tissue that underlies your skin. These burns can also damage your muscles, nerves, and bones. These injuries are closely associated with immense pain that many sufferers consider unmanageable. Third-degree burns require considerable ongoing medical treatment.

Traffic Accidents Often Beget Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are common to car accidents. Traffic accidents are frightening enough, but when there’s fire involved, it takes things to the next level. With the impact of a car accident, one or both of the involved vehicles' fuel tanks can gush or leak gasoline that explodes or catches fire when it comes into contact with a hot surface, such as a car engine. When a car accident erupts into flames, it can trap the occupants of the vehicles involved and burn them as they attempt to escape. All told, it’s difficult to overstate exactly how horrific such a car accident can be.

Your Treatment

If you’ve been injured by fire, you need emergency transportation from the scene of the accident and emergency medical care. If the burns you suffered are only first-degree burns and if they don’t cover a large area, you can help yourself by holding your burned flesh under cool but not cold running water for about 10 to 15 minutes to cool the heated area and to help alleviate the associated pain. A topical antibiotic cream can also be useful. If your burn is more serious or if anything is sticking to or lodged in your burn, you should obtain immediate medical attention. Never attempt to dislodge foreign matter from a burn site because doing so can cause further complications; you need professional medical assistance. In addition, because burn injuries are slow to heal, complications like infections are common and can become extremely dangerous. Make sure you receive continuing medical treatment for any serious burn injury.

Emotional Aftermath

Because accidents involving fire are so terrifying and traumatic, it’s important to address the psychological and emotional aftermath as well. Many burn victims suffer from serious PTSD-like symptoms that are not only debilitating but also psychologically painful. Because burn injuries are so singularly painful, many victims have a very difficult time moving forward. Major depression and heightened anxiety are frequent side effects. It’s especially common to find getting back behind the wheel of a car very difficult. Accidents that cause burn injuries are difficult to move past, and the seriousness of the emotional aftermath of such accidents should never be discounted.

San Antonio Burn Injury FAQ

A person could suffer burns from high temperatures, the sun, chemicals, and radiation. Common reasons for burns include steam, hot liquids, flammable liquids, fires, and gases. Burn severity comes in three degrees, and can cause swelling, scarring, blistering, and even death. The severity of the burn tells you how many layers of skin are affected by the burn. The severity of the burn, along with the size of the burn, also determines the type of care you require for proper treatment.

What are the three degrees of burns?

Burns are classified by first-, second-, and third-degree burns. A first-degree burn affects the outer layer of the skin—the epidermis. A second-degree burn affects the outer layer and the next layer—the dermis. A third-degree burn affects all layers and, often, the tissue under the skin.

Can burns kill people?

Yes, in addition to the above-mentioned side effects of burns, they may also cause you to go into shock or die. Loss of bodily fluids contributes to shock.

How do I determine how much of my body suffered burns?

Doctors use two methods to determine how much of your body has burn damage. The first method is the Rule of Nines. For adults, the arms and head make up 9 percent. The abdomen and anterior chest make up 18 percent. The back and posterior chest make up another 18 percent, the perineum is 1 percent, and the legs are 18 percent each. Under this method, a child’s legs are 13.5 percent for each leg, and the head is 18 percent.

The second method is the Lund and Browder Chart, which gives 10 percent to each arm, 13 percent to the anterior or posterior trunk, and 13 percent for the head or each leg. If a doctor has to measure smaller burns, he or she uses the patient’s palm, which is approximately 0.5 percent of the body’s surface area, to determine the size of the burn. If the doctor measures the size of the burn based on the whole hand, each hand print-size of the burn is about 1 percent of the body.

When should a doctor refer me to a burn center?

Technically, it is up to the doctor to determine when he or she should refer you to the burn center. However, the American Burn Association does have recommendations that doctors should follow, including determining how extensive the burns are and the thickness of the burns.

Can I treat minor burns myself?

It would be better to seek medical care for any type of burn. However, if medical attention is not immediately available, cool the burned area with tap water, then clean it with mild soap and water. If you have an antibacterial wash, you could also use that to clean the burn. The National Institute of Health recommends using a topical antibiotic ointment or cream and dressing to cover the burn. However, you should be sure that you are not sensitive to or allergic to the cream you use.

Why do I have to drink more fluids after a burn?

If the burn is severe, it can cause additional problems with your body, including dehydration. The body reacts to a burn with a massive inflammatory response to destroy the cause of the problem. However, with extensive burns, this response often overreacts, which can then cause damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and other organs.

If the body loses enough fluids, it can result in a drop in blood pressure to the point that it induces shock. You could also suffer from edema, a condition where the fluid becomes trapped in the body and causes swelling. Both situations could cause a lack of oxygen to the burned tissue and organs.

Can burns become infected?

Yes. The skin protects your body, and this barrier becomes damaged when it gets burned. Bacteria and other poisons can get into your body through a burn. While the immune system is busy trying to heal the burn, it is weakened, and the body will not fight off the impending threat of infection. Burn infections could spread to your organs, including your lungs (where it causes pneumonia) and to your blood (where it causes sepsis).

How do doctors treat severe burns?

Treatment depends on the doctor, the severity of the burn, and the size of the burn. Treatments may include:

  • Topical antibiotics;
  • Silver-containing dressings;
  • Extra fluids by IV;
  • Repairing the burned area with a skin graft, which might use natural, laboratory-grown, or artificial sources; and
  • Debriding.

Are severe burns that cover a large area always fatal?

Not long ago, if you had severe burns over more than half of your body, you had a good chance of dying from your wounds. Over the past 20 to 30 years and after many hours of research, doctors have increased the odds of surviving. This is true even when burns cover 90 percent of the body. However, after suffering this extent of damage, you would most likely have permanent scarring or permanent disabilities, depending on the location of the burn.

Can I recover damages after a burn?

Whether you can recover damages depends on the circumstances of your case. If you suffered burns because of another person’s negligence, you may recover economic and non-economic damages. If the court finds that the defendant was grossly negligent, you might recover punitive damages.

Economic damages may include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, physical, cognitive, and psychological therapy expenses, medical aid expenses (including wheelchairs and walkers), replacement of destroyed personal property and real property, and funeral and burial expenses. Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, inconvenience, and loss of use of a body part or bodily function. You may also receive non-economic damages for excessive scarring and disfigurement.

If someone else’s negligence has left you with a serious burn injury, contact a San Antonio burn injury lawyer for a free consultation.

Contact an Experienced San Antonio Burn Injury Attorney Today

If someone else’s negligence leaves you with a burn injury, you need immediate medical attention and experienced legal counsel. The dedicated legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas in San Antonio understands how harrowing burn injuries are, and we’re committed to helping you move forward on the path to recovery. Our experienced burn injury lawyers have the skill, commitment, and compassion to aggressively advocate for your rights to recover just compensation for your injuries. We’re here to help protect your legal rights, while you focus on healing. Please contact or call us at 210-225-0909 to schedule an appointment at our San Antonio office today.