Burn Injuries


Severe burn injuries can alter your life. The skin protects your body from moisture loss and pathogens. Until your burns heal, your risk of infection and dehydration will increase.

The skin is also the most visible part of your body. Burns scars can permanently affect your appearance, leading to both physical and mental anguish.

Here is some information about how burn injuries happen and how you can claim compensation for them.

How Do Burn Injuries Happen?

Burn injuries can happen in many ways. Although your mind might immediately conjure images of flames, burns can happen from contact with many hot or caustic substances.

Some of the risk factors for burn injuries include:

Workplace Conditions

If you work around electrical equipment, caustic chemicals or cleaners, hot surfaces, or open flames, you are at an increased risk of sustaining workplace burn. Your burns might result from inadequate safety practices, defective equipment, or carelessness. Regardless, a burn in the workplace might support a workers’ compensation claim.

Car Accidents

Fuel and other fluids in vehicles are flammable and caustic. A car accident can result in thermal and chemical burns. Under New York’s no-fault insurance system, you can file an insurance claim with your auto insurer for burn injuries sustained in a car accident.

Burn injuries may also exempt you from the no-fault system and support a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Defective Products

Products might have design defects that make them inherently dangerous. For example, a defective product might lack safety controls to reduce the risk of electrocution or hot surfaces.

Products might also have manufacturing defects that allow them to break or malfunction, increasing the risk of burn injuries.

Defective products may also operate as designed but lack warning labels to reduce the risk of injury to the user.

In any of these cases, the defective product could cause burn injuries to users.

Hazardous Premises

Owners and occupiers of property in New York must keep their premises safe for customers, guests, and other invitees. Exposed hot surfaces, open flames, and damaged electrical systems can increase fire and electrocution risks. Improperly maintained or broken fire suppression systems and emergency exits can trap customers and guests in a burning building.

What Are the Different Types of Burn Injuries?

Burn injuries have many causes, including:

Thermal Contact

Thermal burns result from contact with hot liquids, objects, or gases. Thermal contact is probably the most common cause of burns. On an ordinary day, you might experience minor burns from hot coffee or your car’s door handle.

Severe burns result from contact with very hot objects or hot objects for a long time. Steam and boiling water can cause a thermal burn in less than a second. A hot surface might cause a thermal burn on contact.

These burns will damage or kill skin and the underlying tissue.


Flames are the product of heat, fuel, and oxygen. The burning fuel and hot gases produced by flames can burn your flesh or ignite your hair and skin. These flames will continue to burn as long as they have fuel and oxygen.

The characteristic of flame burns is charred hair, skin, and flesh. The charred tissue can contaminate the burn wound and must be removed to minimize the risk of infection.

Flames also produce smoke. As a result, victims of fires often have lung problems caused by smoke inhalation along with their burn injuries.


Caustic chemicals, such as cleaners, battery acids, and industrial solvents, can burn the skin. These chemicals react with the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in your skin and damage the skin cells.

Chemical burns can happen quickly and require immediate attention. The chemicals will continue to damage the skin until they are washed off or neutralized.


Electrocution can cause burns where the electrical current enters your body. As the current interacts with your skin cells, it generates heat. Whether you are electrocuted from a live wire or a lightning strike, you will probably have burns along the electrical current’s path.

Electrical burns are usually accompanied by other electrocution injuries, such as muscle spasms, seizures, heart arrhythmia, and irregular breathing.


Radiation from medical imaging devices, factory equipment, nuclear generators, and the sun can cause radiation burns. The most common radiation burn is sunburn. But people who work around radioactive materials can suffer radiation burns.

Radiation burns result from energetic rays striking and damaging the cells of your body. They can kill skin cells and increase your risk of skin cancer.

How Are Burns Classified?

Doctors use a three-step scale to determine the severity of burns:

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns produce mild symptoms in the outer layer of the skin. You may experience pain and reddened skin. Over time, the burned skin may peel but will usually heal without leaving any scars.

Second-Degree Burns

When a burn affects the dermis under the outer layer of skin, doctors rate it as a second-degree burn. Second-degree burns almost always produce discoloration and pain.

Your skin may develop blisters that could become infected when they burst. Severe second-degree burns may produce burn scars after they heal.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns affect the fat, muscle, nerves, and blood vessels. These burns often require extensive medical treatment, including skin grafts to help the body recover. 

Skin grafts can leave you with scarring and disfigurement. Nerve damage from third-degree burns may also cause a loss of sensation in the burn wound rather than pain.

What Compensation Can I Recover for Burn Injuries?

If your burn occurred at work, you may claim workers’ compensation for your injuries. If your burn occurred due to the negligent actions of a person or business, you may have a legal claim for damages.

Burns can lead to large settlements. Burn injuries require extensive medical treatment and long recovery times.

Burns can also cause pain and suffering. A long recovery and scars can also take a mental and emotional toll.

Under New York’s no-fault system, burn injuries sustained in a car accident may qualify as serious injuries. This allows you to sue an at-fault driver for your economic losses and your pain and suffering, rather than relying on your no-fault insurance coverage.

Contact a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer

To discuss your burn injuries and the ways that you can obtain compensation for them, contact the experienced legal team at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum for a free consultation and case review. Our New York City personal injury lawyers are ready to fight for you.