How Common Is Nerve Damage from a Burn Injury?
Posted in Burn Injury on November 4, 2020
Burn injuries can range from mild to severe. Many accidents can cause burns, from car crashes to chemical spills and workplace negligence. While most burn injuries result in red, painful skin, blistering, and swelling, burns can also cause complications such as disfigurement, skin or muscle loss, and nerve damage. Relatively uncommon, nerve damage is one of the most severe burn injury complications you can experience.
The Different Types of Burns
Medical professionals classify burns based on the damage they cause and which layers of skin they affect. There are four types of burn injuries.
- First-degree burns: These are the least severe burn injuries. First-degree burns only affect the outermost layer of skin, known as the epidermis. These burns may appear red, painful to the touch, and slightly swollen, and they usually heal on their own without medical attention.
- Second-degree burns: These burns affect the outermost layer of skin as well as the second layer of skin, also known as the dermis. You may experience redness, pain, and swelling with second-degree burns, as well as blisters and scars in more severe cases.
- Third-degree burns: These burns are very serious, affecting the two layers of skin and the fat underneath the dermis. These injuries may appear white, tan, or leathery, and require immediate medical treatment.
- Fourth-degree burns: These injuries are the most severe burns you can experience. Fourth-degree burns affect all layers of skin and damage the fat, bone, and muscles. Your burn may look black or charred, and you may also experience nerve damage.
How Are Nerve Damage and Burn Injuries Related?
Burn victims typically experience nerve damage with third or fourth-degree burn injuries, since these injuries extend into the deeper layers of skin that contain sensory receptors. The second layer of skin, the dermis, contains two regions: the uppermost papillary region and the underlying reticular region. The papillary region contains mostly connective tissue, while the reticular layer has connective tissue, hair follicles, sweat glands, blood vessels, and cutaneous sensory receptors. When a burn injury extends into the reticular region, you can begin to experience nerve damage.
Most burn survivors experience tingling, numbness, pain, and sensitivity after their injury. However, if you cannot feel the burn at all, the injury may have destroyed or damaged the nerve endings in your skin. Depending on the extent of the burn, this nerve damage may be permanent. You may feel shooting or burning neuropathic pains while recovering from the burn injury; while this is a symptom of nerve damage, neuropathic pain can also be a sign of nerve regeneration.
Your Legal Options After a Burn Injury
Nerve damage due to a burn injury can have a severe impact on your life. You may need to attend multiple medical appointments to make a full recovery, paying for medications, therapies, surgeries, and other intensive treatments. Permanent nerve damage can lead to significant physical pain and result in disability, which may impact your ability to enjoy the activities you once loved or maintain your job.
If someone else’s negligence is responsible for your burn-related nerve damage, you do have legal options available to you. You can file a lawsuit against the responsible party for the damages you suffered due to the burn injury, including medical expenses, lost wages, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Speak to a Kansas City burn injury attorney to discuss your claim and take your first steps toward compensation.