Burn injuries range in severity from first-degree to fourth-degree burns. Third- and fourth-degree burns are the worst kinds of burns from which a New Mexico resident can suffer. Every time the Harvey & Foote Law Firm encounters a burn case involving such a catastrophic injury, they know that it is important to ensure that the victim receives proper medical care and has a complete evaluation of the extent and cause of his or her injuries.
A third- or fourth-degree burn has occurred when all the layers of skin have been destroyed in a certain part of the victim's body. Such burns go so deeply that they cause damage to subcutaneous tissue. Effected areas may appear white or black in color and will appear dry, with a leathery texture.
Another symptom of third- or fourth-degree burns is the absence of "blanching" with the application of light pressure to the area. Victims will also lose the sensation of touch in the burned areas, and that sensation may not return after the injuries have healed. A third-degree burn is elevated to fourth-degree status if the burn goes so deeply that bones and muscles get burned.
A catastrophic injury relating to a third- or fourth-degree burn takes time to heal and is costly to treat. As such, personal injury claims relating to burn injuries will usually need to convey what kind of burn the victim suffered so as to obtain an appropriate amount of recovery that reflects the extent of one's injuries. In some New Mexico cases, it is necessary to employ an expert witness who can definitively pinpoint that a third- or fourth-degree burn has actually occurred. This can help victims obtain a suitable recovery through settlement negotiations or at trial.