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Austin Personal Injury Blog

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Understanding The Cost of Living With Severe Burn Injuries

Many of us suffered first-degree burns while cooking or working with chemicals. These burns may hurt, but they are minor and do not penetrate the outer layer of the skin. For minor burns, we may apply a skin cream or antibiotic and move on with our lives.

Some people, however, suffer from more serious second- or third-degree burns if they are involved in a house fire or fire caused by a car accident, or when working with caustic chemicals. These burns may penetrate all the layers of the skin and even damage tissue underneath. With quick medical treatment, these people often survive, even if their bodies are 90 percent covered in burns. However, approximately 3,400 people in the United States do die from severe burns each year.

Burn treatment is costly, however. Altogether, burns account for more than $10 billion in medical costs every year. A severe burn can easily cost a victim more than $1 million.

This is because severe burns are usually treated in a special burn center. There, patients are treated with extra fluids, blood transfusions and skin grafts, all of which help speed up the healing process. If a victim is suffering from complications from the burns, they may also recuperate in trauma centers in major hospitals.

A complication from a burn can easily add tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to a medical bill. Read on to see a breakdown of costs associated with complications.

Breakdown of Costs

The average cost for a moderate burn runs about $206,853, while a severe burn with no complications can cost seven figures, at $1,617,345. If there are complications, a burn can cost more than $10 million to treat.

Disfigurement and scarring are the most common complications associated with burns. They occur 66 percent of the time and can add as much as $35,000 in treatment costs.

Psychological complications are also common, as being in a fire can cause emotional damage. This happens most of the time – in 57 percent of cases – and can cost anywhere from $16,000 to $75,000 to properly treat.

After a fire, skin can become fragile or break down altogether. This is quite common, occurring in 55 percent of cases. The cost of treating this can vary widely, ranging from $38,000 to as much as $107,000.

Infections are another common complication, occurring in 35 percent of burn cases. Infections can lead to sepsis, pneumonia and even organ failure. This can cost up to $120,000 to treat.

Many burn victims are treated with skin grafts, but sometimes they fail. This means it can take longer for wounds to heal. This happens in approximately one-third of burn cases and can add $37,000 to $110,000 in costs.

Filing a Lawsuit

If your burns were caused by another party, you may be able file a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation for damages. Damages include medical costs and loss of income as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may be sought to deter grossly negligent behavior. In Texas, punitive damages are capped at twice the amount of your economic damages, plus an amount equal to your non-economic damages. These damages are not to exceed the greater of $750,000 or $200,000.

Burn injuries can dramatically increase your cost of living, so it is important for you to be able to recover enough in damages to defray those costs over your lifetime. Our attorneys are skilled in handling severe burn injury cases, so give us a call today schedule a consult with a Texas personal injury lawyer to determine liability and fight for your rights.

 


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