The general public is largely unfamiliar with the term “fourth-degree burn.” Most people have only heard of first-, second-, and third-degree burns. Fourth-degree is the most severe type of burn injury. It is a full thickness burn that is so deep it damages the underlying muscle and bone. 

What exactly is a fourth-degree burn?

Third-degree burns damage all the layers of skin. Damaged nerves just below the skin are common with third-degree burns. In contrast, fourth-degree burns damage all of the above, but also damage even deeper structures such as muscles, fat, tendons, organs, and bone.

How do fourth-degree burns occur?

Fourth-degree burns are generally caused by prolonged exposure to the burn source. Exposure to fire, chemicals, and explosions are common ways people can sustain fourth-degree burns. Victims have sustained burns of this nature in situations such as building fires, workplace accidents, warfare, acts of violence, and with chemical spills.

What are the effects of a fourth-degree burn?

Physically, a fourth-degree burn can damage and deteriorate every body structure with which the burn source comes into contact. Any skin left in the burn site will appear black and charred. Victims usually do not feel sensations of pain because the burn has destroyed the nerves.

Doctors will focus on stabilizing the patient, preventing shock and hypothermia, and keeping a watchful eye on complications like infection. Most victims will require round-the-clock care and multiple skin graft surgeries to close the wounds.

The damage is so bad in some cases that amputation is necessary. Scarring and disfigurement are common.

Fourth-degree burn victims who survive can expect long-term care and the significant medical bills that come with it, emotional and psychological damages, and a long road to regain function and mobility in affected areas.

Is there anything else I should know about fourth-degree burns?

As catastrophic as fourth-degree burns are, know there are resources available that can help you. There are burn centers around the nation that offer excellent care and support services. They can help you not only treat your injuries, but eventually help re-assimilate and re-enter community life.

It can also be important to understand the causes behind your burn. Building fires do not just happen, nor do explosions or chemical accidents. You might be able to secure compensation for your treatments, disability, and pain and suffering if another party is to blame for your injuries. Call us at 844-549-8774 to speak with a lawyer referral specialist who can help you find a lawyer to answer your questions and help you recover compensation for your injuries.