Common Causes of Burn Injuries
A burn can be a minor problem or a life-threatening medical emergency that leaves you with overwhelming hospital bills and weeks of recovery that deprive you of work and income.
It doesn’t matter what causes your burn injury, whether it’s:
- Steam or hot liquid
- Metal, glass, or other hot objects
- Flows of electricity
- X-ray radiation
- UV radiation from sunlight or tanning beds
- Chemicals such as strong acids, lye, paint thinner, and gasoline
- Abrasion, such as road rash in a motorcycle accident
If someone’s negligence contribute to your burn, you need a burn injury lawyer to pursue compensation for you. The legal process is too complicated for you to navigate alone, and the cost of treating burns—especially if they land you in a burn ward, which can exceed $100,000—are far too high. You don’t want someone else’s irresponsibility to saddle you with mountains of medical and other debt.
A burn injury lawyer can calculate all of your damages, including for the considerable pain and suffering you may have endured. They can review any settlement offers you receive to ensure they’ll pay all of your expenses. If not, a burn injury lawyer near you can fight to ensure you recover every penny you deserve.
Do Burns Occur Often?
Nearly half a million people go to the emergency room every year with burn injuries. Accidental burns are common among children, affecting more than 300 children every day.
Who Might Suffer a Burn?
People of all ages are at risk of accidental burns, but children, teenagers, and the elderly are more likely to suffer from them. Cooking injuries, such as spilling boiling water on the skin, are more common in these age groups. Also, teens and children are more likely to get sunburned or play with lighters, matches, and fireworks.
We can reduce household burns.
- Never leave cooking items unattended.
- Make sure pot handles are facing the rear of the stove.
- Children should not be carried or held while cooking.
- Children and pets should not have access to hot liquids.
- Avoid water contact with electrical appliances.
- Parents should serve food to children at the right temperature and not use microwaves to heat bottles for babies.
- Never cook while wearing loose clothing that may catch fire over the stove.
- Parents should keep children away from stoves, outdoor grills, fireplaces, and space heaters.
- Check car seats for hot straps or buckles before placing a child in it.
- Unplug clothing irons or similar devices when not in use and keep them away from minors.
- Use safety caps to cover unused electrical outlets and keep electrical cords and wires out of reach from children.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Ensure that each floor of your home has a working smoke detector and change batteries every year.
- Every floor of your home should have a fire extinguisher, especially in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or garage.
- Protect your eyes and clothing when working with chemicals.
- Children should not have access to chemicals, lighters, or matches.
- Test water temperature before placing your child in the bath.
Burn risks exist outside the home, especially if you’re around open flames, chemicals, or superheated items.
The United States Continues to Have an Epidemic of Unintentional Burn Injuries
Over five recent years, emergency departments saw approximately 486,000 fire or burn injuries.
Two thousand eight hundred civilians lost their lives in residential structure fires in one year, 150 by non-residential structure fires, 355 by vehicle fires, and 85 by outside and unclassified fires other than structure or vehicle fires. Every 2 hours and 35 minutes, a civilian dies in a fire. Among U.S. residents, one in 1,498 will die from exposure to fire, flames, or smoke during their lifetime.
Injuries caused by fire, scalds, hot objects, electrical currents, and chemicals are the most common causes of burns.
Burn injuries can be severe for children and the disabled. Children under 15 represent almost one-quarter of all burn injuries (24 percent).
Unintentional fires or burns were the fifth leading cause of injury deaths for children ages one to four and the third for children ages five to nine. Burn injuries were the eighth leading cause of death among those over 65.
Burn injuries requiring emergency medical attention were 2.4 times more likely in children under five. Burn injuries are 1.5 times more likely in those ages 20 to 29 than in the general population.
Today, 96.7 percent of patients treated in burn centers survive. Many survivors will suffer permanent scarring, physical disabilities, and difficulty adjusting to their new lives.
Are Burn Victims Likely to Have a Positive Outcome?
It usually takes two to three weeks for first- and second-degree burns to heal correctly with proper treatment. Depending on the severity of the burn, you may have scarring that fades over time. Occupational and physical therapy are essential for people recovering from third-degree burns. Burns can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.
Even people with burns covering 90 percent of their body can survive thanks to medical advancements.
The Importance of Establishing Liability for Burn Injuries
As a result of a burn injury, you may experience physical pain and emotional or psychological distress. To receive total compensation for your injuries, you must first establish liability.
- Find out what caused the injury and what safeguards existed at the time of the injury for prevention.
- Find out if the liable party acted negligently or willfully. This determines the victim’s right to damages (compensation).
- Assess the severity of the injury and whether medical professionals can effectively treat it.
A Guide to Establishing Liability for Burn Injuries
Establishing liability for a specific injury requires a different approach for each burn.
If a defective product caused the injury, it is necessary to demonstrate that the product did not perform as the manufacturer intended. It may be a design flaw or a manufacturing or assembly problem that caused the burn. An intensive review of the entire process is required to establish liability for burn injuries caused by a product.
Whenever there is a fire in a car accident, it is essential to examine the cause and what part of the crash caused the fire. An automobile manufacturer or a negligent driver may be responsible for burns resulting from a car accident. A crucial part of establishing liability for this type of burn injury is identifying which components of the accident led to the fire.
Burns on the job require determining liability so that the injured worker can receive compensation and also the workplace managers can take remedial measures to prevent future burns. Typical workplace burn injuries occur when chemicals are not stored properly or when electrical fires result from inadequate maintenance or repair.
To Establish Liability, Hire a Lawyer
There are several causes of burn injuries, such as malfunctioning products, work accidents, etc. Your lawyer must examine the cause of each injury before assigning liability since each case is different. When determining who must pay for medical treatment or other compensation for an injury, you must prove liability.
Liability for burn injuries is often difficult to determine. Lawyers can try your case before a jury, present motions in front of a judge, or attempt settlement through mediation or arbitration.
A knowledgeable lawyer who is able to identify useful evidence and legal arguments can succeed in these dispute resolution methods.
Damages and Compensation for Burn Injuries
Depending on the facts, you can potentially seek a variety of damages through an insurance claim or litigation.
Substantial monetary losses, such as medical bills and lost income, are economic damages. It is also possible to receive compensation for earnings you will lose in the future if you suffer permanent injuries. We refer to this as a loss of earning potential.
The loss of your vehicle is another out-of-pocket expense.
Non-economic damages are not directly related to a loss of money. However, they do include losses you have incurred due to the accident. In burn injury claims, these are particularly important because your pain and suffering are likely to be extensive.
Loss of consortium, as well as mental and emotional harm, are also non-economic damages.
A Method for Proving Damages
To prove damages, you can use:
- A copy of the receipts
- Expert medical opinion of future medical treatment needs
- The psychological and emotional impact of the injury as described by family members and mental health professionals
- Earnings documentation through tax records
- An expert’s opinion on what you would earn if there were no accident and what you should expect afterward
Since economic damages are hard figures, calculating them is easy. An injured party’s willingness to accept non-economic damages is often determined by what damages courts have awarded in other similar cases.
Burn Injury Cases: Proving Negligence
Burn injuries are a type of personal injury claim based on negligence. The injured party must prove that the defendant is legally liable.
To establish negligence in a burn injury case, the plaintiff must present the following elements:
Plaintiffs must prove that the defendant owed them a legal duty or obligation. Therefore, they are responsible for what happened. Safety standards might be checked by an inspector, for instance.
Someone Breached Their Duty
To establish negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached their legal duty. An inspector breaches their duty if they skip over a dangerous piece of equipment and fail to ensure it meets safety standards.
A Breach Caused the Accident
To prove negligence, you must show that the defendant breached their duty. Your burns were caused by the lack of inspection, for example.
You can only recover compensation if you prove that you suffered an injury. As a result of the accident, you must have suffered harm and losses.
Bringing a Demand to the Table
Filing a compensation claim with the insurance company is the first step toward a settlement.
A reasonable demand must stem from the value of your claim. To do this, your lawyer must conduct a thorough investigation. They must collect and preserve evidence related to the accident. Obtaining a copy of a police or incident report, photos or videos, and eyewitness statements may be necessary.
Besides documenting your physical injuries, you must also document your psychological injuries and your financial losses. To obtain maximum compensation, you must have proof of your injuries.
The insurance company may reject your initial compensation claim. Settlement negotiations will begin before anyone files a lawsuit. Instead of going to trial, plaintiffs’ and defendants’ legal representatives will attempt to negotiate an agreement. Most burn injury claims settle at this stage, but if both parties cannot reach a favorable resolution, the case will go to trial.
Considering all the damage caused since the accident and the expected future damage is essential when deciding how to handle negotiations. The more severe the burn, the more damage occurs.
Preparation for Burn Injury Trials and Lawsuits
You may need to file a burn injury lawsuit if your insurance company refuses to settle your claim. Throughout this process, you should work with a lawyer who will draft legal documents with specific language to win your case.
The Discovery Process
Discovery is an integral part of the litigation process. Both parties can accelerate a settlement process if they evaluate critical facts. Under oath, both sides exchange documents and information.
It is common for parties to reach an agreement after or during discovery.
The discovery process is an integral part of the litigation process. You can find additional evidence to support your case or identify weaknesses because of it.
Lawyers often call upon experts during the investigation and litigation phases. In court, these professionals can provide expert opinions. It is the responsibility of medical experts to explain the nature, extent, and duration of injuries and the expected limitations.
Filing and Drafting Legal Documents
You must file a complaint detailing your accident and the at-fault party’s negligence to begin a burn injury lawsuit.
Personal injury lawsuits require claimants to file pre-trial motions, not just argue their claims to a judge and jury.
Attending Court Hearings and Trials
Your lawyer will appear on your behalf during all court conferences, hearings, and trials. It may be necessary for you to appear in some of these situations, but for the most part, an experienced injury lawyer can represent you.