But the Clarets gave the home side the fright of their lives and deserved at least a point following a spirited show, particularly after the break.
The Seagulls were forced to make an impact without the services of Liam Bridcutt, who started a two-match ban after incurring 10 bookings.
Fellow midfielder Dean Hammond made the 350th league appearance of his career after shaking off a knee injury he received against the Bluebirds.
Burnley meanwhile were bidding to address a dismal recent run which had seen them winless in four matches with only two draws to show in that disappointing sequence.
And it was the visiting Clarets who were the first to feature when a threatening cross from Junior Stanislas was tipped over the crossbar by Brighton goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
The visitors nearly broke through after 11 minutes when Keith Treacy's 20-yard curler narrowly missed the target.
It was a good start for Burnley and Treacy brought Kuszczak into action five minutes later before, somewhat against the run of play, the hosts took the lead after 20 minutes.
Andrea Orlandi worked the opportunity and when he swung the ball over from the left side of the penalty area, there was Lopez to strike home first time from 12 yards out.
It was harsh on Sean Dyche's side but their heads remained high and Stanislas's shot from distance had to be met with a desperate block from Bruno Saltor as the visitors looked to hit back immediately.
After 34 minutes, Jason Shackell's header from Treacy's corner was parried by Kuszczak as Burnley continued to take the game to the hosts.
Stanislas made way for striker Danny Ings at the break as the Clarets sensed some return was possible from their visit to the south coast.
But they had to be alert in defence and Lee Grant, making his 100th league start in goal for the visitors, was called into action to keep out a Jose Ulloa effort following good work from Wayne Bridge.
At the other end, Chris McCann should have done better when presented with an opportunity from six yards out, but his attempt cleared the crossbar.
The Clarets continued to press for some reward from their considerable efforts and with 14 minutes left Kieran Trippier's effort was turned away by Kuszczak.
But Lopez came close to his second of the game with eight minutes left when his 20-yard shot was blocked by Kevin Long, before Charlie Austin spurned a good headed chance for Burnley following Ings's cross.
- Sports & Recreation
- Keith Treacy