Burn injuries are some of the most catastrophic injuries possible. They are incredibly painful and often require trauma care. The medical support they necessitate combined with time away from work seeking treatment can add up to major financial losses for someone.
In most cases involving serious thermal, electrical or chemical burns, people are at significant risk of scarring. The scars associated with burns can have a negative financial impact beyond what those with simpler injuries might experience.
Why do burn scars often become so expensive for people?
They require ongoing care
Burn scars often require ongoing medical support. Someone with significant burn injuries may have nerve damage that can cause a host of symptoms, including ongoing pain. They may require future medical procedures, including skin grafts.
Disfiguring scars can affect mental health
The scars left behind by burns can drastically alter someone’s appearance and cause pain or range-of-motion limitations that constantly remind them of their injuries. Those frequent reminders of one’s injuries and scars can exacerbate the mental health consequences of a serious injury. People may develop depression or may become more socially withdrawn because of their scars. The mental health consequences of burn scars can often trickle down to affect someone’s earning potential by impacting their job performance. People may also see impacts on their closest relationships when they have mental health struggles.
Visible scars reduce earning potential
Some people talk about “pretty privilege” in the workplace and how more attractive workers tend to earn higher wages. Workers who others perceive as attractive may have an easier time getting ahead in the workplace. The inverse can also be true. Those with unusual physical characteristics, including visible scars, they struggle to earn as much as their co-workers even when they consistently perform at the same level as their teammates. Additionally, the burn scars that someone may have can affect their strength and range of motion, which can limit their job performance or advancement opportunities at a company.
Burn injuries can affect someone’s finances, relationships and career. Someone who is adjusting to life with major burn scars needs to consider the long-term financial impact of their injuries, not just their emergency medical care costs, when assessing how much compensation to pursue from a party that is at-fault for their harm.