Second-Degree Burn Scars and Personal Injury Claims: What You Need To Know

Different types of accidents can result in burn injuries caused by exposure to various heat sources. Sometimes, people sustain second-degree burns or partial-thickness burns during these incidents. These burns affect the epidermis, or the outer layer of the skin, and extend to the dermis, the underlying layer.

Blistering, redness, swelling, and severe pain characterize these burns. Often, second-degree burns can result from exposure to flames, hot liquids, chemicals, or prolonged contact with hot objects.

Approximately 400,000 people suffer from burn injuries annually. Patients usually have various legal remedies available to pursue compensation for their injuries. They can file personal injury claims or file a suit in court.

Some law firms provide free consultations to potential clients, helping them develop the best approach for their cases. Personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiations who can represent you when dealing with insurance companies. In addition, they can assist with filing lawsuits and represent you in court.

Key Takeaways
  • Burn injuries can range from first- to third-degree, depending on the severity.
  • The three types of burn scars are contracture, hypertrophic, and keloid.
  • Treatment options for burn scars include custom inserts, massage and stretching, pressure garments, and silicone gel treatments.
  • Various parties, such as employers, manufacturers, or property owners, can be liable for burn injuries.

Understanding Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are a complex form of trauma that can result from various causes. They are generally classified based on their severity and the underlying factors that led to their occurrence.

For example, burns are categorized into degrees, ranging from first- to third-degree burns, depending on the extent and depth of tissue damage. In addition, they are also grouped based on their underlying cause, such as open flames, chemicals, or even radiation.

Understanding the classification of burn injuries and their causes is crucial for proper diagnosis, treatment, and legal considerations for the patient.

Degrees of burns

Superficial or first-degree burns are the mildest form of burn injuries. It only affects the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis. These minor burns cause pain, redness, and minor inflammation. People can sustain first-degree burns through mild sunburns, brief contact with a hot object, or a superficial scald from hot water.

Meanwhile, partial-thickness or second-degree burns affect the epidermis and the dermis. It has two subcategories, superficial and deep partial-thickness burns.

Superficial partial-thickness injuries damage the upper layer of the dermis. They result in blistering, redness, and severe pain. A person can get this injury from accidental contact with a hot pan. 

Conversely, deep partial-thickness burns extend deeper into the dermis, damaging sweat glands, hair follicles, and nerve endings. These burns may appear waxy or white, with the presence of blisters. They are more painful and often require specialized medical treatment.

Lastly, third-degree or full-thickness burns are the most serious, extending through all layers of skin. The affected area may appear leathery or charred, with damage typically extending beyond the visible skin. These burns require immediate medical attention and may necessitate surgical procedures, like skin grafting.

Most medical literature and clinical practices recognize the first three burn degrees. However, some categorize burns up to the sixth degree. It may describe more intensive burn injuries, such as damage to muscles, bones, and internal organs. Note that these classifications are not universally adopted, and terminologies may vary across sources.

Types of burns

Burns are also categorized based on their causes, such as thermal, radiation, chemical, and electrical sources. 

  • Thermal burns: People may sustain thermal burn injuries from exposure to heat sources. It includes contact with scalding liquids, hot objects, or open flames. Examples include accidental boiling water spills and touching a hot stove without protection.
  • Radiation burns: These burns occur due to exposure to ionizing radiation sources, like X-rays, radiation therapy, or nuclear radiation.
  • Chemical burns: These burns result from contact with corrosive substances that damage the skin and tissues. For instance, a person comes in contact with household cleaning agents or is exposed to other hazardous chemicals.
  • Electrical burns: This injury happens when a body part comes into contact with an electrical current, causing damage to the underlying tissue. It includes accidents involving faulty wiring, improper use of electrical equipment, or electrical malfunctions.

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What are burn scars?

Burn scars are permanent marks left on the skin as a result of the healing process following a burn injury. They typically vary in appearance, severity, and texture depending on the depth and extent of the burn. 

Burn scars can have significant physical and emotional consequences, affecting an individual’s appearance, mobility, and quality of life.

There are different types of scars, such as contracture, hypertrophic, and keloid.

Contracture scars are the most common type of burn scars. They occur when the skin tightens and contracts during the recovery process. These scars can restrict flexibility and movement due to the tightening of the underlying tissue. Contracture scars can affect muscles, tendons, and joints, causing functional limitations and deformities.

Hypertrophic scars are raised, thickened scars that appear from collagen overproduction during the healing process. They are confined to the original boundaries of the wound and usually improve over time. They can be itchy, painful and may cause functional limitations. 

Keloid scars are also raised, thickened, and extend beyond the original wound. However, unlike hypertrophic scars, they do not regress over time and may continue to grow indefinitely. They occur due to excessive collagen production and can be painful and itchy. Keloid scars are typical in people with a genetic predisposition to keloid formation.


Burn scars can display various warning signs, such as differences in color and texture. Common symptoms associated with burn scars include the following:

  • Discoloration: Affected areas may appear different in color compared to the surrounding healthy skin. This discoloration can range from lighter or darker pigmentation to a reddish or purplish hue. The intensity and extent of this symptom depend on numerous factors, such as burn depth, patient’s skin type, etc.
  • Texture changes: Burn scars often exhibit distinct textural changes compared to normal skin. These changes may include raised or thickened areas or pitted or depressed areas. For instance, hypertrophic or keloid scars can cause elevated sections of skin which are firm or hard to the touch. Meanwhile, severe burns may result in pitted scars because of significant tissue loss during the injury.
  • Tightness or contracture: Burn scars can lead to tightness and restricted mobility at the injury site. This symptom is more common in deeper burns and affects underlying muscles, tendons, and joints.
  • Itching or pain: Sensations of itching or pain often accompany damaged skin. Changes in nerve endings during the healing process can cause itching. Meanwhile, pain may arise from nerve damage or sensitivity within the scar tissue.
  • Temperature sensitivity: Burn wounds may experience heightened sensitivity to temperature changes. The affected area might be more sensitive to heat or cold, and people may experience discomfort or pain in extreme temperatures.


Several scar treatment options are available for managing and improving a burn scar’s appearance. Common treatments include custom inserts, massage and stretching, pressure garments, and silicone gel treatments.

Burn patients can place custom inserts, like silicone gel sheets or gel pads, over their scars to provide gentle pressure and hydration. They help flatten and soften the scar tissue, improving its appearance. These inserts are especially effective for keloid or hypertrophic scars.

Patients can massage the scar gently in circular motions to break down scar tissue and improve blood circulation. You can use lotions, topical creams, or moisturizers to hydrate the skin during the massage.

Stretching exercises can also benefit the damaged skin by maintaining or improving its range of motion. However, consulting a healthcare provider before engaging in these exercises is advisable to prevent further damage.

Compression garments, usually made with elasticized fabric, can provide continuous pressure on the scar tissue. They help flatten and soften the scar, reduce its thickness, and prevent excessive collagen production. Usually, people use pressure garments to help treat hypertrophic scars.

Silicone gel or gel sheets are effective in improving the appearance and texture of burn scars. Silicone develops a protective barrier over the burned area, hydrates damaged skin, and regulates collagen production. These treatments help flatten and soften scars, reduce redness, and improve overall scar appearance.

The effectiveness of these treatments may vary based on the individual, scar characteristics, and the treatment’s duration and consistency.

What To Do After Sustaining Burn Injuries

Wound care for burn injuries is crucial for providing immediate care and mitigating further damage. However, it is essential to remember that some types of burns, such as chemical and electrical burns, require immediate emergency treatments.

You must call 911 or seek emergency care in the following situations:

  • The burn damaged all layers of skin.
  • The damaged skin is dry and leathery, charred, or displays white, brown, or black patches.
  • The burned area is larger than three inches in diameter.
  • The burn affected significant body parts, such as the hands, face, feet, buttocks, groin, or a major joint.
  • The affected skin began swelling immediately.

Major burns

While waiting for healthcare providers to arrive, patients must protect the burned area from further damage. Remove or stay away from the burn source, and do not try to remove clothing stuck to the burn. 

Remove belts, jewelry, and other tight items, as burned areas might swell quickly. You can loosely cover the damaged skin with a clean cloth or gauze. If possible, raise the burned area above the heart level to help with blood circulation. Watch out for signs of shock, including clammy skin, shallow breathing, and a weak pulse.

Minor burns

For minor burns, performing first aid or home remedies is crucial to prevent further damage. Hold the burned area under cool water for approximately 10 minutes to ease the initial pain. Suppose the damaged skin is on the face, cover it with a wet cloth until the pain eases. Similarly, sucking on an ice cube can alleviate mouth burn pain. 

In addition, blisters may form on the injury site. Do not break these blisters as it helps protect the injury from infection. If a blister breaks, clean the area with water and apply an antibiotic ointment.

Applying lotion to treat minor burns helps provide relief and prevent drying. Using moisturizers with aloe vera or cocoa butter is advisable for burn injuries. Afterward, you can loosely cover the area with a clean bandage. It is essential to keep air off the damaged skin to reduce pain and protect blistered skin.

How To Recover Compensation for Burn Scars

Accident victims can seek compensation for their injuries and other losses. However, they must establish negligence on the part of the at-fault party. This involves proving that the other party had a duty of care and breached it through their actions. In addition, victims must exhibit that these actions directly caused their injuries.

Establishing negligence is vital in building a solid case and recovering damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Insurance claims

Burn victims can file an insurance claim to recover compensation for their losses. When filing a claim, collecting and submitting all relevant documentation and evidence to support their case is essential.

Medical documentation, in particular, is crucial in demonstrating the severity and extent of their injuries and their impact on the victim’s life. It includes medical records, treatment plans, diagnostic reports, and photographs of their burn scars.

Expert testimony from healthcare providers can also strengthen a victim’s claim. Medical experts can provide specialized knowledge and insights on necessary medical treatments, long-term effects, and associated costs.

It is important for claimants must to seek legal representation from a lawyer when dealing with insurance companies. Insurance adjusters often aim to minimize settlement offers or lowball accident victims

If you have a lawyer, you can significantly level the playing field when negotiating with insurance companies. They can help strategize and determine the best approach for your case.

Civil litigation

Burn patients can also file a lawsuit to seek the compensation they deserve. Suppose the at-fault party’s insurance company unnecessarily delays or denies their claim. They can file a case in court and undergo civil litigation.

However, it is essential to note that filing a suit is a time-consuming and complex process. Seeking advice from a burn injury lawyer can help you navigate legal procedures and build a strong case.

Did you know?

On average, a second-degree burn takes one to three weeks to heal. The healing period varies based on the location and size of the injury. In addition, severe and significant burns are more likely to result in scarring.

Avail of a Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer

Seeking compensation for accidents is challenging and complex, so legal representation is crucial for your case. Whether you suffered a burn injury or other types of harm, navigating the legal system alone can be overwhelming.

Working with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer increases your chances of recovering maximum compensation. The Personal Injury Center works with attorneys specializing in personal injury who can help protect and advocate for your rights.

Read our informative articles and grow your legal knowledge. You can also book a free case evaluation to discuss the specifics of your situation.

File a claim with the help of a burn injury lawyer. Contact The Personal Injury Center to connect with a reliable attorney. 

FAQs on Second-Degree Burn Scars

Second-degree burns undergo three stages of healing: react, repair, and remodel. The first stage involves activating the immune system through inflammation. In the second stage, damaged tissue beneath the skin’s surface is cleared to make room for regeneration. The third stage of healing involves the formation of a scar to close any gaps in the skin’s tissue and fills it with collagen.

Symptoms of an infected burn include changes in the color of the damaged skin, swelling, purplish discoloration, and changes in the burn’s thickness. Infections usually induce fever and a greenish discharge or pus from the affected area.

Although it is not completely possible to eliminate burn scars, there are methods to improve their appearance. A patient can use sunscreen or SPF protection and over-the-counter scar removal products. However, if the scars cause significant distress, alternative treatments such as steroid injections, laser treatment, or plastic surgery can address their appearance.