Common Types of Burn Injuries and Their Causes


Accidents result in many forms of injury, from scrapes and bumps to sprained joints and broken bones. Burns can be particularly painful, and they can frequently accompany other types of injury. In this post, we’ll discuss five types of burn injuries as well as their most common causes in personal injury cases.

1. Thermal Burns

When people think of serious burns, the type that most often comes to mind is referred to as a thermal burn. Thermal burns result from excessive heat, such as contact with a hot surface or open flame. Injuries resulting from scalding hot liquids and steam also apply, often causing blisters in the process.

Vehicle accidents, arson, product failures, and even being served overheated coffee can all lead to thermal burns warranting personal injury damages.

2. Friction Burns

Friction burns are a little different from thermal burns in that the source of heat comes from friction between your skin and another surface. These may be mild rug burns to serious road burns from motorcycle or bicycle accidents. Along with the heat, the opposing surface also tears at the skin, leaving an abrasion.

Friction burns are most common in accidents involving a motorcycle or bicycle. The cyclist may slide on the pavement at high speeds, resulting in serious injury.

3. Electrical Burns

When someone comes into contact with electricity, it can result in extensive damage, particularly to the lower layers of the skin (as opposed to thermal burns which usually affect the top layers). As such, they may not be immediately visible. In some cases, an electrical current may even cause severe organ damage.

Electrical burns may result from contact with a live wire, appliance, or piece of machinery. Occasionally, they may result in a product liability case due to defective design or manufacturing flaws.

4. Chemical Burns

Chemical burns involve strong acids, detergents, or solvents that come into contact with the skin. Certain cleaning products may cause chemical burns, as well as some beauty products. Industrial chemicals are another common source of these types of injuries.

A product liability claim may be in order if there is insufficient warning on the label of a potentially dangerous product. Workers injured from the use of hazardous chemicals on the job may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer.

5. Radiation Burns

Finally, radiation burns are the result of high levels of radiation exposure. The most common example is a sunburn, but radiation burns may result from X-rays, CT scans, PET scans, and radiation therapy.

While they’re not particularly likely, they can become severe—even life-threatening—if the levels of radiation become excessive for any reason. It takes days or even weeks for a radiation burn to show up, but if it does, it may be a sign of medical malpractice.

Recovering Damages for Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are painful and costly to treat, with more severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment and care. If the injury results from another party’s negligent or careless actions, it may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Damages may include pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income. Rare cases may warrant punitive damages as well.

Recovering personal injury damages requires the representation of a competent attorney. If you have been severely burned in an accident, contact a lawyer today to evaluate your case.

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