A serious injury or accident can have a profound impact on your life. This is especially true when it comes to burn injuries. Severe burns can occur for a number of reasons, including car accidents, structure fires, or workplace mishaps. And while some burns only require minimal treatment, others may require extensive surgeries and therapies.

Understanding the nature of serious burns and why they occur can help you when applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Complications of severe burns, including restricted mobility, can affect your ability to work and cover basic living expenses. And even with treatment, your abilities may be significantly affected.

Different burn levels

Burn injuries are assessed using the following scale:

  • First-degree – These burns entail minor injuries to the skin. Minor swelling, redness, and irritation are common. First-degree burns do not usually require medical attention and generally heal on their own in about a week.
  • Second-degree – While first-degree burns only affect the top layer of the skin, second-degree burns penetrate deeper and cause more significant damage. Blistering also occurs, which carries a risk of infection. Extensive second-degree burns or those affecting the face should receive emergency medical treatment.
  • Third-degree – A third-degree burn can penetrate through all the layers of skin, thereby causing the most serious injuries. All third-degree burns require immediate medical attention. Scarring is also likely with this type of burn.

There are also fourth-degree burns, which impact areas of the body other than the skin. For example, a fourth-degree burn may damage underlying muscle and bone.

Possible complications

There is a greater risk of infection with more serious burns. This includes a higher risk of tetanus, which is a bacterial infection that impacts the nervous system. People with serious burns can also experience dangerously low blood volume and low body temperature.