While some burns can heal quickly without any medical intervention, severe burn injuries can require long-term medical care. Depending on the severity of the injury, a person may require multiple surgeries, skin grafts, and be left with permanent scarring and disfigurement.

Experienced traumatic injury attorneys have seen various types of burn injuries in Western PA civil cases. If you suffered a burn caused by another person’s actions, you may wish to speak with a local lawyer about your legal options for recovery.

Different Degrees of Burns

Burn injuries are categorized by their severity, from first degree up to third-degree burns, with first degree being the least severe.


First-degree burns only affect the outer layer of the skin, or the epidermis. Often these heal completely and do not require medical attention.

A sunburn could be considered a very minor first-degree burn. The skin may be red and painful, but there will not be blisters or deeper damage beneath the skin surface.


A second-degree burn is a more severe and deeper burn that does not just affect the outer layer of the skin, but also the dermis, the layer beneath the epidermis. The outer surface of the skin will often be bright red, swollen, and look shiny with painful blisters.

In some cases, a second-degree burn could be fairly superficial in which only the dermis is damaged, and there may not be any scarring or permanent damage once it heals. There could also be a deep partial-thickness burn, which is a more severe type of second-degree burn that can lead to scarring or permanent discoloration of the skin.


A third-degree burn is sometimes called a full-thickness burn, and involves two full layers of the skin being destroyed: the epidermis and the dermis. In these cases, instead of the skin turning red, it may turn black, brown, yellow, or white. This type of burn is so severe that the injured person may not feel pain because the nerves that cause the sensations of pain are damaged.


The most severe burns are fourth-degree burns, which can be life-threatening. These devastating burns destroy not just the skin, but also damage the bones, muscles, and tendons. A fourth-degree burn require extensive medical treatment and result in permanent scarring and impairment.

How Do Severe Burns Occur?

Severe burns can occur under a variety of circumstances. For example, friction burns occur when the skin rubs harshly against another surface, such as a roadway, and are often seen in motorcycle and bicycle accidents. There can also be what are known as cold burns, such as frostbite if the skin is exposed to severe cold temperatures for a long time.

Other types of burn injuries include:

  • Thermal burns — occur when the skin comes into contact with a very hot object such as boiling water, fire, or steam.
  • Radiation burns — sunburns are common radiation burns.
  • Chemical burns — result from the skin coming into contact with a substance such as an acid, a solvent or other chemical.
  • Electrical burns — occur if the skin comes into contact with a live electrical line.

Depending on the specific cause of the burn, the injured party and a Western PA lawyer could file a claim for compensation.

Discuss the Different Types of Burn Injuries with a Pennsylvania Attorney

Due to their severity, people suffering from burn injuries often require substantial medical treatment and ongoing care. In many cases, these injuries result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.

Fortunately, people can potentially seek legal recourse with the help of an experienced attorney. To discuss the types of burn injuries in Western PA further, schedule a free consultation at Marcus & Mack.

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Marcus & Mack

Marcus & Mack
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Indiana PA   15701