Burns and Fire-Related Injuries
When it comes to accident injuries, burns can be some of the most devastating.
Most of us are familiar with burns resulting from fires. These burns can range from minor to serious and life-threatening. However, fire-related injuries are not the only type of burns. Other types involve the skin coming into contact with:
- Scalding water or liquid.
- UV light.
- Electric currents.
At their worst, burns can be fatal, and if you survive, they will often cause severe and lasting tissue damage that leads to long-term disability and disfigurement.
If you or a loved one have suffered a burn due to someone else’s negligence, then our firm will fight for you to recover the maximum damages possible.
Types of Burn Injuries
You’re probably already somewhat familiar with the different degrees of burns – and contrary to popular belief, there are more than three. In a nutshell, they are:
- First-degree burns. These cause damage to the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin.
- Second-degree burns. These go deeper, damaging the dermis, or the inner layer of skin, as well as the epidermis.
- Third-degree burns. These completely destroy both the epidermis and the dermis, and may go into the tissue beneath.
- Fourth-degree burns. These cause damage to deep tissue, sometimes including muscle and even bone.
Some classifications divide fourth-degree burns into fifth-degree and beyond, but we’ll stop there.
You can often tell these burns apart by their different appearances:
- With first-degree burns, the primary symptom will be redness.
- With second-degree burns, there are typically blisters and swelling, and sometimes discolored red and white skin.
- With third-degree burns and higher, there is much more severe discoloring, often involving skin that is white, black, or has a charred appearance.
First-degree and second-degree burns are usually very painful; however, third-degree burns often do not hurt at all, because the nerves beneath the skin are damaged or destroyed.
Of course, you won’t need serious medical treatment for some types of less serious burns. These include most first-degree burns as well as second-degree burns that only affect a small area (not more than a few inches in diameter, and not in a vulnerable area of the body such as the face). For large second-degree burns, though, and for third-degree and higher, you will need medical treatment.
It’s also important to remember that burns can spread and become more severe, even after the initial exposure to the heat has ceased. If you are in doubt, it’s best to get it checked out. Seeing a doctor is a small cost, and it will help provide evidence that you were actually burned, which will strengthen your case considerably if you intend to seek damages.
Common Causes of Burns
Burn injuries can have a variety of causes, but some of the most common include:
- Building fires. This is the most straightforward and obvious cause. Fires can break out in almost any type of building, including a home, store, school, or hotel.
- Automobile accidents. In a severe car accident, the vehicle may catch fire. Gasoline, remember, is highly flammable. These burns can be very serious, particularly if the victim is trapped in their car and cannot escape immediately. Also, drivers who come into contact with the road – frequently motorcyclists – may experience friction burns.
- Consumer product defects. Burn injuries are extremely common with dangerously defective products. Many different types of products can cause burns, ranging from ovens to furnaces to defective vape pens.
- Workplace injuries. In the manufacturing sector, it is common for people to work in conditions that increase the likelihood of burns, including being in close proximity to extreme heat, electrical currents, and dangerous chemical substances. If employees are not given sufficient personal protective equipment, then serious injuries may occur.
Filing a Burn Injury Lawsuit
We can help you sue for burn and fire-related injuries under the legal theory of negligence. Legally speaking, negligence means that the defendant in a case failed to act with proper concern for the safety of those around them.
The duty of care can take many forms:
- Drivers have a duty to drive cautiously, obey the rules of the road, and consider the safety of other road users.
- Employers have a duty to provide a reasonably safe workplace environment for their employees.
- Premise owners have a duty to keep their premises safe and free from unreasonable risk.
- Companies which produce consumer products have a duty to make sure that the products are safe when used as intended.
You will only be able to sue for a burn injury if someone else was negligent. For instance, if you are burned in a fire that you started, or because you used a consumer product in a manner other than what was intended, you will likely not be able to sue. However, if someone else was at fault, you have every right to sue for negligence.
Occasionally someone will have burned you intentionally; this, too, is actionable.
The defense attorneys in a case will often argue that you were wholly or partly at fault for your injuries. This is why you hire a personal injury attorney: our team will provide evidence to show that you were, in fact, burned as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Damages in a Burn Injury Case
Our firm may be able to help you sue for a variety of damages, including:
- Medical bills. This covers all the costs of the various types of medical treatment for your injuries.
- Lost wages and lost future earning capacity. If you were unable to work, or if your injuries will keep you from working in the future, you can sue to recover the wages you lost.
- Property damage. If you lost items of personal property in the fire, you can sue to recover the value of these.
- Pain and suffering. This covers all the physical pain and the psychological and emotional suffering you experienced as a result of the injuries.
- Disfigurement. It is common for burn victims to suffer permanent disfigurement; you can recover damages for the ways in which this affects your personal life.
- Disability. If you were permanently disabled, then you can recover damages for the effect this has on your life.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. This applies to all of the intangible – but very real – ways in which burns kept you from enjoying things you otherwise would have enjoyed.
- Loss of consortium. This applies to the ways in which the injuries affected your physical and emotional relationship with your spouse and other loved ones.
- Punitive damages. In cases of extreme misconduct by the defendant, or in cases where they hide evidence or commit fraud, we may be able to seek higher damages than we would have otherwise.
In wrongful death cases, when an immediate family member as died as a result of their burns, then you may be able to receive damages on behalf of your loved one, as well as damages for other factors such as funeral expenses.
Cases differ, and we may be able to recover some types of damages, and not others, based on what exactly happened in your case. For instance, if no significant items of personal property were destroyed, then we may not be able to help you there, but if you suffered extreme disfigurement, we may be able to recover a great deal for that.
Remember, burn injuries are difficult, but they do not need to be any more difficult than they have to be. With the right attorneys by your side, you will be able to get the justice that you deserve and come out the other side of this okay.
If you or a loved one has suffered a burn or fire-related injury, don’t delay, contact the Law Offices of Jennie Levin, P.C. right away. We will do all that we can to help you. Also, if you found this article interesting and you believe that your friends would be interested in learning more about this, then share on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Finally, feel free to leave us a comment, and let us know what questions you would like us to answer next!