When a burn injury occurs, no matter where it is on the body, the resulting damage often requires significant medical treatment and rehabilitation. However, traumatic facial burns are different. Very often, these burn injuries involve intensive medical care so that you can maintain essential functions like breathing, sight, smell, eating, and drinking.
While the physical impact of traumatic facial burns is certainly tangible, often the psychological and emotional impact is much more substantial. This is because facial burn injuries often change the way you look and require reconstructive surgery to repair the damage and restore some normalcy in terms of your appearance.
Compassionate and Skilled Kentucky Burn Injury Lawyers Will Support You
Facing a traumatic facial burn and its resulting impact is a long and difficult process. Through medical treatment, counseling, and rehabilitation, you or a loved one that has been the victim of a facial burn injury will need support as you navigate the process. Part of this support involves recovering damages and benefits through legal services.
At Kaufman & Stigger, our team of compassionate and skilled Kentucky burn injury lawyers will be with you throughout this process, representing your best interests to make sure you can focus on your recovery.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation with any of our Kentucky burn injury lawyers, contact us today.
Causes of Facial Burns in Kentucky
Moreso than burn injuries to other parts of the body, a facial burn injury is usually more traumatic and damaging. This is due to the fact that a burn to the face affects several vital life functions, like breathing, seeing, eating and drinking. More importantly, there are several different causes of facial burns in Kentucky, including the following items or scenarios:
- Hot surfaces or heat sources like open flames. These can cause first, second, or third-degree burns and can come from a variety of different things like items on fire, burning ovens or grills, and vehicle accidents.
- A chemical substance, like acid or lye. Acid burns tend to be less severe because they cauterize the tissue and don’t go deeply into the skin, while chemical burns from lye or similar chemicals penetrate deeply into the face’s tissue and can cause deep third-degree burns.
- Hot liquids or steam can frequently cause severe facial burns, Wet heat can scald and burn your face, leaving behind a first or second-degree burn.
- Extreme cold can cause frostbite on parts of your face. Frostbite is actually considered a burn injury, as it damages the skin and tissue of the face. In severe cases, frostbite can be a fourth-degree burn that destroys tissue and nerves on the face.
- Radiation is another common cause of traumatic facial burns. Harmful UV rays from the sun or exposure to radioactive materials at work can cause these burns, which often are quite severe.
- A motorcycle or bicycle accident can cause friction burns when your face comes in contact with the road itself. The impact and friction cause heat to form within the skin tissue and could lead to a dry first-degree burn that usually hurts but heals quickly.
- Electrical burns from a malfunctioning product or other sources can cause traumatic facial burns. Burns from electricity are often difficult to diagnose because the burn itself is only partially visible from the outside but actually goes much deeper to the underlying skin and nerves of the face.
The effect and prognosis for burn injuries are measured by the “rule of nines,” which tells the doctor what percentage of the body is injured. For facial burns, the head and neck area encompasses around nine percent of the body’s total surface area. This percentage is usually adjusted depending on the size of the person, or if the victim is a child. However, determining the extent of your facial burn relies on a number of different factors that include this percentage, as well as the degree and type of burn.
How Are Facial Burns Treated in Kentucky?
Another difficulty that comes with any burn injury, including facial burns, is that treatment and care is often complex and long-lasting. Aside from initial treatment to stop any damage and heal the wound, the psychological and emotional damage from a burn often linger well after the initial injury.
Further, the deeper and more severe the facial burn is, the more intensive the response will have to be. Traumatic facial burns–usually third or fourth-degree burns–typically require emergency medical care followed by hospitalization and surgery at a specialized burn care center, along with medication and antibiotic treatment. From there, facial burns are treated in the following ways:
- Debridement – Debridement surgery removes loose, dead skin and contaminated tissue on the face.
- Skin grafts – This surgical procedure replaces scarred tissue on the face with healthy skin.
- Cosmetic surgery – Plastic surgery procedures are done to repair scarring and disfigurement of the face. This is one of the most common procedures for traumatic facial burns.
- Breathing assistance – A traumatic facial burn frequently leads to the victim’s throat swelling shut, which requires breathing assistance where a tube may need to be threaded down the victim’s windpipe to assist with the functions of breathing.
- Decompression – Sometimes, a facial burn tightens and cuts off the blood circulation around the victim’s throat, nose, or eyes causing immense pressure around these important appendages and organs. Decompression surgery can relieve this pressure.
Not only do facial burn injury victims need immediate medical treatment for their injuries, but there are also many potential complications that can arise from these burns, including:
- Infections – As with any surgical procedure, there is always the possibility of infection. Pneumonia or sepsis can occur even when cosmetic or other facial surgery needs to be performed.
- Respiratory problems – When a burn injury occurs on the face, there can be respiratory problems can arise, because the nose and throat areas are often affected.
- Cataracts – Many vision problems may stem from a burn injury to the face because the eyes can be damaged. Any damage weakens the eyes can lead to extensive problems like cataracts or retinal detachments.
These complications may require even further surgical procedures, along with physical and occupational therapy to help the victim recover. On top of that, chronic pain, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological complications can come from a traumatic facial burn injury.
What Can I Do If I’ve Suffered a Traumatic Facial Burn Injury in Kentucky?
Suffering a traumatic facial burn injury in Kentucky has several outcomes for both victims and the people responsible for causing the accident. Determining liability for a burn injury most likely depends on two very important factors: where the burn occurred and how the burn occurred. As with any claim, negligence is the key to asserting liability. So if your facial burn injury was caused by the negligence of another person or entity, you would have the legal right to file a claim for damages.
In a traumatic facial burn injury claim, the following damages are usually recoverable:
- Medical care and medication costs.
- Future reconstructive surgeries and accompanying therapy.
- Devices and prosthetics from reconstructive surgeries.
- Costs associated with health care and/or personal assistance.
- Costs related to assistive and adaptive devices.
- Costs for transportation adaptation or assistance.
- Lost income or wages.
- Psychological therapy costs.
- Social, educational, and vocational rehabilitation costs.
- Emotional distress costs
- Pain and suffering
It’s important to understand that there are certain deadlines to meet for filing a claim in Kentucky, known as the statute of limitations. A traumatic facial burn injury claim has a one-year statute of limitations, meaning your claim has to be filed within one year of the date of your injury.
Contact Experienced and Dedicated Kentucky Burn Injury Lawyers
When you’ve suffered a traumatic facial burn injury, you need all different kinds of support. Whether this support is medical, psychological, or emotional, these injuries can have far-reaching implications for your life. That’s why working with our team of experienced Kentucky burn injury lawyers at Kaufman & Stigger can be important. We can help you navigate what is often an emotional and difficult process to get the compensation you’re owed.
To learn more about our firm can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.