What Are the Long-Term Effects of Burn Injuries?


Burn injuries often lead to long-term effects that significantly alter the lives of victims and their families. Fortunately, many victims are able to recover compensation from those who have caused their injuries, and this compensation goes a long way in helping victims deal with the lasting impact of these injuries.

Physical Scars

Burn injuries affect the skin and under-tissue in ways that no other type of injury can. Skin and muscle cells are often permanently altered with no chance of regenerating on their own. Even with help from skin grafts and other medical procedures and techniques, the complete restoration of burn injuries is a formidable proposal.

Victims with visible scars not only deal with the physical pain they bring but also experience emotional and psychological pain due to their altered appearances. Additionally, certain types of scars, such as scars that form on or near joints, can make mobility difficult.

Functional Impairments

Serious burns, such as third- to sixth-degree burns, destroy more than just skin. Their destructive energy eats up muscle, bone, fat, nerves, and connective tissue. The result is often a substantial loss or impairment of body functions and motion.

For example, a third- or higher-degree burn on the fingers and hands can easily lead to losing the use of both hands and fingers. Similarly, a serious burn to the feet or legs can lead to an inability to walk. Burns can also cause the dysfunction of various organs affected by or in close proximity to the burn injury.

When functional impairments result from burn injuries, victims must typically acquire and learn to use medical devices and equipment.

For example, significant burning to the feet or legs may render a burn injury victim unable to walk. To get around, they may need to acquire a wheelchair or scooter. Other types of medical equipment and devices that burn victims often seek include crutches, monitoring devices,  and prosthetics.

Chronic Pain or Nerve Damage

One of the most common long-term consequences of each of the different types of burn injuries is chronic pain. Burn injury victims may struggle through hours of pain every day of their post-accident lives.

Many also suffer from the loss of sensation that is often almost as unbearable as feeling pain. In some cases, phantom pain also plagues victims who have lost appendages to burn injuries.

Long-term pain management for burn injury victims is a delicate issue. Many need significant relief from pain on a regular and often daily basis. Yet, pain management can lead to addiction quite easily. The past couple of decades have demonstrated that irresponsible pain management using opioids can destroy lives.

Currently, the American Burn Association recommends a multimodal approach to treating chronic burn pain. It involves the use of both opioid and non-opioid pharmaceutical drugs as well as non-pharmaceutical methods for pain relief.

Loss of Employment and Financial Strain

As you might imagine, individuals with significant scarring must deal with unique obstacles when seeking employment. Many end up making far less money than they had earned previously. Various challenging issues inevitably end up haunting their employment efforts, such as:

  • Their appearance
  • The pain they feel
  • The disabilities they suffer

Without proper amounts of income coming in every month, burn injury victims face financial ruin. Their financial obligations do not cease when they become injured. If anything, they increase, thanks to the costs of medical care and treatment and expenses associated with household services.

Ongoing Rehab and Therapy

Therapy and rehab often become a part of many burn victims’ lives for years. After undergoing grueling surgeries and multiple extended hospital stays, they must attend regular rehab sessions designed to help their healing. Although effective, rehabilitation and physical therapy are often painful, both physically and psychologically.

What Happens if You Don’t Keep Up With Your Rehab Schedule?

Victims are discouraged from taking breaks from rehab and therapy as burn injury therapy is often cumulative.

Failing to follow the steps of treatment invariably leads to increased rehab times, more pain, and even injury regression. As such, burn injury victims must prepare themselves for a long and regular routine of difficult therapy and rehab.

Does Burn Rehab Work?

The silver lining is that burn injury rehab and therapy are effective in many cases, especially over the long run. Patients can eventually see themselves recovering motion or sensation in affected areas of the body. They may also experience exceptional results from tissue grafts and postoperative treatment.

How Do Burn Injuries Affect a Victim’s Ability to Enjoy Life?

Ultimately, the most devastating long-term consequence of burn injuries is likely the loss of the ability to enjoy life. Burn injuries lead to isolation out of necessity and self-protection.

For example, many with serious burn injuries have such bad scarring that they are afraid to appear in public. For socially active people, a burn injury is tantamount to a social death sentence.

Others find that relating with people becomes difficult or impossible. They lose the joy they once found in their various relationships.

Contact a Burn Injury Attorney About Damages You May Be Entitled To

Burn injuries and long-term recovery and loss go hand in hand. Victims typically deserve substantial compensation from those who have harmed them, but insurance companies don’t like to grant large payouts. Often, only after a burn injury attorney gets involved do they pay what they owe.

If you or someone you love is suffering from the long-term consequences of a burn injury, The Moore Law Firm is ready to help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact our office to set up a consultation with a burn injury lawyer for no charge.

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. The simple fact is that you should not be forced to pay the price for another person's careless or reckless actions.