What Percentage of Burn Injuries Are Life-Threatening?

Published on Apr 8, 2021 at 3:23 pm in Burn Injury.

Roll of medical gauze

When a burn injury occurs, recovering from the injury can take a long time. These painful injuries can require weeks or months of professional treatment. In some cases, these injuries can put the person’s life at risk. If the burn is over a certain surface area, it can significantly increase in putting the burn victim’s life in danger. Let’s look into what percentage of burn injuries are life-threatening.

When Are Burn Injuries Potentially Fatal?

According to the Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management or CHEMM, burn severity is decided by the percent of total body surface area affected, also referred to as TBSA. When burns are more than 20-25% TBSA, then the person will need IV fluid resuscitation. Once the burns reach 30-40% TBSA, then the injuries could be fatal if the person doesn’t get treatment.

The Rule of Nines for Burn Injuries

When the total percentage of a burn is being determined for adults, the rule of nines can be used to indicate it. It breaks down the percentage for the part of the body that’s burned. CHEMM provides the following values:

  • Head and Neck: The head and neck account for 9% of body surface burned.
  • Arms (Including Hands): This value is 9% each for body surface burned.
  • Legs (Including Feet): The legs and feet are 18% each.
  • Anterior Trunk and Posterior Trunk: Both are 18%.
  • Genitalia. This accounts for 1%.

It’s important to note that this changes for children because their proportions are different. Their heads account for up to 20%, while the percentage for their legs can be lower than the 18% for adults.

What Additional Factors Can Make Burn Injuries Life-Threatening?

The percentage of the body surface area covered in burns isn’t the only indicator of potentially fatal injuries. Other factors that can affect this include:

  • Delay in Treatment. If there’s a delay in treatment, this could mean someone’s condition could worsen while time passes. When there’s a delay in treatment, the person will likely need more fluids.
  • Smoke Inhalation. When someone has inhaled smoke, this can double the mortality relative to burn size.
  • Age. The older a person gets, the more their mortality for any burn size increases. CHEMM reports that children and young adults can survive larger burns, while those who are elderly are less likely to survive small burns.
  • Other Injuries. If an accident resulted in other injuries additional to the burn injuries, the person will require treatment for those injuries as well. If it’s severe trauma, then it’s more likely for their injuries to be life-threatening.

Have You Sustained Burn Injuries?

If you have sustained burn injuries in an accident, it’s likely that someone’s negligent actions are the reason why. You can hold that person accountable for their actions.

When you’re dealing with burn injuries, the care you require may result in extensive medical bills. You may need to stay in the hospital for a prolonged period of time, in addition to undergoing procedures for your treatment. While you’re getting the care you need, you’ll also be away from work. When these bills start to pile up on you and you’re unable to return to work, it may cause financial stress. This is where a burn injury lawyer from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC can help you.

We’ll investigate how the burn injury occurred. This could have resulted from a motor vehicle accident where the other party was distracted behind the wheel, or an electrical problem in a building that the landowner wasn’t taking care of in a timely manner. When we find out who was responsible, we can hold them accountable for your injuries.

Our lawyers will calculate the extent of your injuries, which includes the cost of care you’ve already had and what you’ll need in the future. Your time away from work will also be calculated. We’ll total what you’ve lost in damages because of the accident and fight for your compensation to cover these losses. We’re here for you.

Seek Representation from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC

Burn injuries can cause permanent scarring and disabilities. While this is a lot for someone to come to terms with, it doesn’t mean they have to pay for the total costs of the accident all on their own. That’s where our lawyers can help.

If you or a loved one has been burned in an accident, we can help you move forward. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our lawyers will seek full and fair compensation on your behalf so you can recover in peace.

Free Consultations


Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.