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According to the American Burn Association, each year there are 1.1 million burn injuries in the United States which require treatment. Approximately 45,000 of these injuries require hospitalization and approximately 4,500 of these injuries are fatal. Many burn injuries are caused by the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of another party. Burn injuries may result from fires, automobile accidents, work-related injuries, defective products and many other sources.
Burn injuries often cause extreme pain and can lead to life-threatening infections and severe disfigurement. Often a burn victim faces many years of on-going treatment and surgeries, resulting in extremely high medical bills. Many burn victims are temporarily or permanently disabled, and may have many months or years of lost income.

If you are in need of an experienced burn injury attorney in the San Diego area, Foldenauer Law Group is here to help. We focus on handling a variety of serious life altering injury cases including those involving burn injuries. Cases involving burn injuries can be extremely complex and require highly skilled attorneys experienced in handling burn injury cases. Our attorneys have the experience and resources necessary to get our clients the results they are entitled to and deserve.

Burn Type Classification

When handling an accidental burn injury case, it is important to understand the medical and financial impact of the various classifications of burns. Burns can be classified by the type or cause of the burn. The four most common types of burns a victim suffers are: light burns, thermal burns, chemical burns and electrical burns.
Light Burns

Light burns are caused by exposure to light, including the sun. Light burns may be caused by tanning beds, cancer treatment therapy, defective X-ray machines, and even light bulbs. In addition to defective products and treatments causing light burns, a baby or elderly person left in the sun too long by their caregiver may be entitled to compensation for sunburn. Light burns may also increase a victim’s risks for developing cancer later in life.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns are caused by an external heat source which raises the temperature of the skin and causes the death of skin and underlying tissue. Flames, steam, scalding liquids and hot metals can all cause thermal burns

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns are caused by caustic chemicals such as acids, alkalies, detergents or solvents coming into contact with the skin or eyes.

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are caused by electric current passing through the body.

Burn Severity Classification

Burns are classified as either first, second, or third-degree, depending on how deep and severe they penetrate the surface of the skin.

First-degree, or superficial burns, affect only the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. The burn site is red, painful, dry, and with no blisters. Mild sunburn is an example. Long-term tissue damage is rare and usually consists of an increase or decrease in the skin color.

Second-degree, or partial thickness burns, involve the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of skin. The burn site appears red, blistered, and may be swollen and painful.

Third-degree, or full thickness burns, completely destroy the epidermis and dermis. Third-degree burns may also damage the underlying bones, muscles, and tendons. The burn site appears white or charred. There is no sensation in the area since the nerve endings are erradicated.

The severity of burns is also observed by the amount of body surface area involved. The greater the total body surface area of the burn, the more serious the burn. For example:

Minor burns

  • <10% total body surface area in an adult
  • <5% total body surface area in the young or elderly
  • <2% full thickness burn

Moderate burns

  • 10-20% total body surface area in an adult
  • 5-10% total body surface area in the young or elderly
  • 2-5% full thickness burn

Major burns

>20% total body surface area in an adult
>10% total body surface area in the young or elderly
>5% full thickness burn

Burn Treatments

When skin is burned, nerve endings can be damaged, causing extreme pain. In fact, many medical professionals consider seriouburns to be the most painful type of injury one can experience. Burns often lead to infection due to the damage to the skin’s protective barrier. Up to 10,000 people in the United States die each year of burn-related infections.

Treatment for serious burns may involve the surgical removal of dead tissue (debridement). If the tissue in the burn area has been damaged to the point where it cannot heal, a skin graft may be needed. This involves extracting a layer of skin from an unburned area of the body and transplanting it to the affected area. Burn victims also often need to undergo physical therapy to minimize scarring and to keep the affected areas from becoming rigid and inflexible.

Burn victims not only suffer physically, they also experience emotional and financial harm as well. In many cases, they may face many years of medical treatments, nursing assistence, physical therapy and psychological care. Burn victims may also have to live with severe disfigurement, scarring and life-long emotional distress. In addition to these physical obsticles, victims also face astronomical medical bills, loss of earnings and other monetary damages.


If you or someone you know has suffered a serious burn injury as a result of another’s negligence or wrongdoing, or a family member has suffered an accidental death, please call us today at (619) 564-8877. We will provide a free in-person consultation, listen to all of your questions and concerns, assist in obtaining needed medical treatment and care, and develop a winning strategy to maximize recovery and compensation. There are no up-front fees or costs. We do not charge until we win your case. We look forward to earning your trust and the honor of being your attorneys.

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