How Are Burn Injuries Assessed?

Whether you are involved in a car accident, suffer an electric shock from downed wires while walking by a construction site, or are caught in the middle of a machine explosion at work, you may suffer severe and traumatic burn injuries. Unfortunately, burn injuries are extremely common for workers and non-workers alike, and they can lead to long-term disabilities.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, emergency rooms around the United States see more than 400,000 people with burn injuries each year, and over 3,200 of these injuries are usually fatal.

How are burn injuries assessed?

You may notice that the skin where your burn injury is located has turned red, and blisters are starting to form. However, you may be unsure about how serious your injury is. The good news is that there are specific assessments that your doctor or healthcare providers will use to formally assess your burns and determine how severe they are and what type of treatment you may need to recover the best that you can.

One of the most prominent and frequently used methods to assess an individual’s burn injuries is the Wallace Rule. The Wallace Rule, also known as the Rule of Nines, “divides your body into sections by multiples of 9% each.” Here are the various ways that the Rule of Nines divides the body when looking at burn injuries:

  • The torso: The torso area of the body accounts for 36 percent.
  • Legs: Each leg accounts for 18 percent.
  • Arms: Each arm accounts for 9 percent.
  • Head: Your head accounts for 9 percent.
  • Genitalia: Lastly, the genitalia area accounts for 1 percent.

Keep in mind that these percentages are used for individuals who are ages 14 and older. Younger children may have different percentages based on the size of their bodies.

Why do doctors follow the Wallace Rule for burn injury assessment?

The Wallace Rule can help your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals look at your body and break down the exact amount of space that your burn injuries cover. By using this rule, doctors and physicians are able to make an informed and well-educated decision on which types of treatment may be recommended for you based on how severe your burn injuries are as well as how large they are.

Emergency medical technicians who work in ambulances and provide emergency medical treatment to individuals before they ever make it to the hospital frequently use the Wallace Rule. The reason for this is because this method can be quickly used to determine the severity and size of burn injuries, which helps the medical technicians quickly make a decision on what type of medical treatment to begin administering to the patient while transporting them to the emergency room.

Are there other burn injury assessment methods?

There are many different burn injury assessments being used by doctors and physicians around San Antonio and the rest of the country. There’s the “rule of five,” which is used for patients weighing more than 176 lbs, and the Brooke and Parkland formulas, which are used to assess fluid administration based on the total body surface area (TBSA) that is burned. While the Wallace Rule may be the one of the most popular methods, another method worth mentioning in depth is the Lund and Browder method, which is one of the “most accurate” techniques used for assessing burn injuries among children and adults.

The Lund and Browder assessment method requires looking at a chart to determine how much of the body that the burn injuries take up. The chart is a simple diagram of the human body, which divides each portion into specific numbers. For example, the chart shows that the neck is a 1, the torso is a 13, and the upper arms are a 2. While looking at this chart, it may seem simple to determine how much of the body is covered with burns.

However, the reality is that emergency medical technicians, nurses, and other medical professionals who need to assess a person’s burn injuries in a quick manner prefer not to use the Lund and Browder assessment because it is very easy to miscalculate and make a mistake. Many times, when individuals use this chart, they have to calculate multiple times to develop a correct conclusion about the patient’s burns, which often causes people to steer away from using this method.

How burn injury assessments affect your damages in a personal injury case

After you have started receiving medical treatment for your burns, you may decide to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for your accident and injuries. This will help you get the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills, daily expenses, and other losses you experienced since the accident. These burn injury assessments can affect the amount of compensation that you receive for your personal injury case.

When your San Antonio personal injury lawyer looks over the facts of your case, they may ask you which burn injury assessment was used and how much of your body is covered in burns according to the assessment. This is important because your lawyer will need to show this valuable information when they are working with accountants, doctors, and other professionals to determine how much compensation you are owed for your injuries. The general rule of thumb is that the more severe and extensive your burn injuries are, the more likely you will be to receive more damages. The reasoning behind this is because very serious burn injuries that are spread across large areas of the body typically lead to permanent and devastating consequences for the rest of a person’s life.

Burn injuries can require many years of medical care, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and humiliating scars and disfigurement. If this is the case for you, Attorney Pat Maloney is here to help you. He has built a solid reputation around the San Antonio area when it comes to burn injury cases. Therefore, you can count on him to use his experience, skills, and knowledge to stand up and demand maximum compensation for your burn injuries. Call the office of the Law Offices of Pat Maloney or complete our contact form to begin discussing your burn injury claim today.