When you woke up on the morning it happened, you could never have known that you would end the day in the hospital suffering from third, fourth or fifth degree burns, but that is what happened. Your doctors told you that your recovery would take a significant amount of time.

The internal damage associated with serious burns takes much longer to heal than the surface wound takes. In fact, if you suffer fourth or fifth degree burns, the skin may not grow back. Patients often need inpatient care of at least 11 days for these serious burns, which means they go much further than skin deep, possibly down to the bone. The more extensive the damage, the longer you will remain hospitalized.

What happens next?

You may be lulled into a false sense of security when the surface loses its redness and color, which makes it appear normal, but you are far from healed or able to stop rehabilitation. Once scar tissue begins to develop, it remains most “active” during the first three to four months following your injury. This is a critical time since if the scar tissue contracts too much you could lose mobility. Rehabilitation is vital for this reason. Stretching the affected area helps keep this from happening.

Throughout your inpatient care, you face additional risks to your health and perhaps your life. Infection is one of the biggest risks you face. Without proper care and treatment, you could contract an infection that could turn into sepsis.

What happens during recovery?

Even after your doctors at the burn center allow you to go home, your care and rehabilitation do not stop. It could take a minimum of six months more for you to achieve a full recovery, or at least reach the highest level of recovery for your circumstances. The more severe the burns were, the more recovery time you will need. You may also need one or more surgical procedures as you heal. This further delays your recovery and extends your rehabilitation.

At this point, you may wonder how you will support yourself and your family during this time. It may be possible to receive benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance program if you meet certain qualifications. While you focus on your recovery, an attorney with experience in this area of law could prove invaluable.