Burn injuries can be devastating and sometimes have horrifying and potentially deadly consequences. The severity of a burn injury is determined by how many layers of skin the burn penetrates. There are commonly three recognized levels, or degrees, of burn injuries.

First degree burns are the least severe. These burns only penetrate the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. Even though they are not severe, they can still be uncomfortable and may require some form of treatment and a few days of recovery. A sunburn is an example of a common first degree burn.

Second degree burns are those that reach a person’s dermis, the layer of skin directly below the epidermis. These burns are more painful than first degree burns, take longer to heal, and often result in blisters and create a risk of infection.

Third degree burns reach through the epidermis and can result in serious infections and sometimes necessitate amputation. They cause serious damage to the skin and underlying nerves. It is said that once a burn reaches third degree status, it becomes painless because it has destroyed nerve endings that respond to pain at that point. Fourth degree burns are rare, but even more severe. These extend all the way through the lower layers of skin, melting away flesh and leaving behind damaged muscles or bones. They can often result in infection or death.

Burn injuries are a scary experience that can lead to psychological trauma. Suffering through a severe burn because of someone else’s irresponsible actions can be cause for a lawsuit. Filing suit against the party responsible for your burn injury can help you recover compensation for the medical costs and other losses you’ve sustained as a result of another person’s negligent behavior.