Severe Wounds and Scarring
Many types of injuries result in scars. Severe burns can even result in disfigurement. These types of injuries can have a lasting impact on the victim's quality of life and self-worth. In addition to the physical injuries, scars and disfigurement can also cause lifelong emotional issues.
Why Scars Develop
There are many factors that can determine whether or not a wound or burn will result in permanent scarring including the age of the victim, the severity the injury and depth of the wound. Scars form when the top or second layer of the skin is damaged. In response to a burn, the body forms a protein called collagen to help with the healing process. Under normal conditions, collagen fibers are laid down in a relatively organized manner. When there is a deep burn, these collagen fibers may be laid down in a disorganized manner or even on top of a raised burn resulting in an odd texture and appearance.
The Healing Process
If you have suffered a burn injury, it may not be clear if or when your scars will completely heal. Within the first few months of your injury, a scar will begin to develop. After about six months, your scar will look as pronounced as it ever will. Only after a year has passed will it become clear what your scar will look like. It will hopefully fade, flatten and become less sensitive.
Hypertrophic Burn Scars
Hypertrophic scars develop within a few months after the injury. They stay within the area of the original burn injury and they are often warm, hypersensitive and itchy. They are more visible than other types of scars because they are deep red or purple and are raised above the surface of the skin. When near joints, they can decrease the victim's ability to move.
A contracture is when scars develop across joints. When hypertrophic scars result in a contracture on the victim's legs, it may affect his or her ability to squat, sit, climb stairs or walk. When a contracture involves the arms, it can affect the victim's ability to eat, groom, dress or bathe. It is often possible, however, to reduce the consequences of contractures through stretching and physical therapy.
Blisters and Skin Tears
Blisters are a common complication of burn scars. They can develop if the scar is rubbed or sheared during the healing process. Avoid tight clothes or any garments that put pressure on the scar. Skin tears can occur if you scratch your scar or bump into something as your scar is still healing. Skin tears are potentially dangerous because they can result in an infection if they are not properly cleaned and treated.
Before, During and After
If you have suffered a serious injury resulting in wounds and scars, you would be well advised to gather as much evidence as possible that shows the changes you have experienced since the accident. Having comparable photos of how you looked before the incident and how you look now can prove useful if you choose to file an injury claim. It is also helpful to take photos of your injuries soon after the incident and during the healing process. Have a professional take your photo so that you will have large, high-resolution shots that clearly show the severity of your scars.
Getting the Help You Need
Scars and burns resulting from an injury can cause pain and embarrassment. These scars can affect the victim's confidence, and sadly, it can affect the way they are treated by others. Permanent scars can even affect your social life and your ability to secure a job. If your wounds or scars were caused by the negligence of someone else, you may be able to receive compensation for your considerable suffering.
Financial support may be available for all of the medical treatments, surgical procedures and hospitalization related to the accident. Additionally, support should be available for your mental anguish and physical pain. It is important to understand the potential value of your claim before accepting a settlement offer. It is common for insurance providers to offer inadequate settlements to make cases go away quickly. It is critical during this difficult time that you obtain the help, counsel and guidance you need to protect your rights and best interests.