Skip to Content
Call For A Free Consultation 843-968-0886

What Are the Types of Burn Injuries?


Burn injuries are classified by cause and severity. The main types of burn injuries – and the ones you may be familiar with – are first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns. Some sources, such as the National Institute of General Medical Sciences also recognize fourth-degree, fifth-degree, and sixth-degree burns.

Other types of burns include thermal burns, radiation burns, chemical burns, and electrical burns.

Classified by Severity:

When burns are classified by severity, the following types of burns apply:

  • First-degree burns damage only the outer layer of skin (the epidermis).
  • Second-degree burns damage the epidermis and the layer underneath (the dermis).
  • Third-degree burns damage or destroy both layers of skin and the tissues underneath.
  • Fourth-degree burns extend into fat.
  • Fifth-degree burns extend into muscle.
  • Sixth-degree burns extend into bone.

Any burns more serious than first-degree burns may call for skin grafts, and third-degree burns and above require skin grafts and medical attention. According to the U.S. Government’s MedlinePlus:

Burns can cause swelling, blistering, scarring and, in serious cases, shock, and even death.” Additionally, serious burns open the body up to infections because your skin can no longer protect you.

Classified by Cause:

If you’ve ever experienced the difference between a sunburn and touching a hot stove, you know that not all burns are created equally.

John Hopkins Medicine recognizes 4 types of burns by their causes:

  1. Thermal burns are caused by direct contact with heat sources, including flames, hot metals, scalding liquids, and even steam.
  2. Radiation burns are the result of prolonged exposure to sources of radiation, such as the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
  3. Chemical burns occur after skin or eyes make contact with strong acids, alkalis, detergents, or solvents.
  4. Electrical burns come from alternating or direct electrical currents.

Burns occur mainly at home and in the workplace, but they can also happen during car accidents or explosions.

No matter what type of burn you experience, the impact on your body and life can be hard to overestimate.

That’s why our burn and explosion injury attorneys are here for you. At Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC, we have more than 125 years of combined legal experience helping burn victims move forward.

If someone else’s carelessness led to a severe burn, we can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, missed wages, pain and suffering, and more.

To learn more about what our legal team can do for you, please call us at (843) 968-0886 today or contact us online to schedule a free case review.