Burns are painful injuries that can result from a number of accidents. The CDC reports that there are 1.1 million burn injuries that require medical attention every year in the United States. On top of the burn itself, victims can suffer disfigurement, scarring, and psychological trauma. These, in turn, can mean significant medical expenses, missed time from work, and other losses. If someone else’s negligence caused you or a loved one to suffer burn injuries, you should not have to pay those costs yourself. The knowledgeable attorneys of Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. can help you seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Contact with numerous everyday items and substances can lead to severe burn injuries. Some examples include:
- Open flames and fires
- Scalding from excessively hot liquids
- Thermal burns, which are caused by contact with hot items like stoves
- Electrical burns, including by touching exposed wiring
- Explosions from appliances, water heaters, gas grills, and other household objects
- Defective consumer products
- Chemical burns
When negligence is to blame for these and other causes of burns, the responsible party can be held liable.
Different Degrees of Burn Injuries
If you or a loved one has been burned, you may need to seek immediate medical attention to ensure that there are no additional health complications. Understanding the various degrees of burns will also give you an idea of the future medical treatments you or your loved one may need. These are the three most commonly recognized categories of burns:
First-degree. A first-degree burn damages the top layer of skin. A common example of this is sunburn. Typical symptoms of first-degree burns include blistering, redness, swelling, sensitive skin, and mild to moderate pain. These burns usually do not require anything more than first aid and home care, but you should see a doctor if your symptoms worsen.
Second-degree. Second-degree burns damage the top two layers of skin. Signs of second-degree burns include deep reddening, blisters, and intense pain. Some of these burns are quite serious and result in significant scarring. Professional medical treatment, possibly including skin grafts, is required.
Third-degree. This is a burn that will penetrate all layers of skin and destroy tissue. Common signs of third-degree burns are permanent scarring and dry, leathery skin. Although these burns themselves are sometimes painless, there may be painful first- and second-degree burns in the surrounding area. Third-degree burns require skin grafts and are susceptible to infection.
Possible Damages After Suffering A Burn Injury
Burn injury victims usually have to endure hospitalization, numerous treatments, and painful recovery. Skin grafts and reconstructive surgery, which can leave permanent scars, are often necessary. But the real threat may come during the healing process when dangerous infection and sepsis can set in. These complications may, in turn, require additional time in the hospital. Burn victims will usually need additional medical attention even after they go home, with plastic surgery, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments being common.
It should be emphasized, however, that burn injuries are more than physical. They often occur in serious accidents like explosions and fires, which can leave the victim with significant mental and emotional trauma. Psychiatric treatment may be required to handle the intense circumstances surrounding the incident. As with the physical aspect, psychological injuries may last a lifetime.
Victims have the right to seek damages to compensate them for these and other physical and psychological problems they will encounter due to their burn injuries. Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may be able to ask for such damages as:
Medical bills. As mentioned above, medical bills could be extensive and the victim may incur them for a long time after the injury. Based on the predicted course of treatment you will need, your attorney will calculate a reasonable projection of how much it will cost.
Lost wages. During your time recovering, attending medical appointments, and managing other aspects of your case, you will have to miss work. This lost income can be recovered as monetary damages.
Lost income-earning capacity. There’s a good chance your burn injuries will make it difficult or even impossible to return to your previous line of work, especially if you rely on physical labor to earn a living. When burn injuries destroy promising careers, victims can seek compensation.
Pain and suffering and emotional distress. The pain of burn injuries is long-lasting and can come in the form of persistent chronic pain. You may also encounter emotional distress, anxiety, and related problems stemming from the trauma of the burn injury and the treatments you will need.
Wrongful death damages. If the burn victim dies from his or her injuries, eligible survivors can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. There are a number of potential damages such as burial costs and the victim’s final medical bills.
Proving Negligence for Burn Injuries
Your attorney’s job will be to show that the at-fault party who caused your burn injury (or an injury to your loved one) was negligent in doing so. Negligence means someone owed you a duty of care, breached it, and thereby caused your injury and damages (like those above). These are a few examples of negligence leading to burn injuries:
- Leaving exposed electrical wiring in a residential or commercial building
- Blocking a fire exit at a bar or restaurant
- Negligent supervision at a daycare or nursing home facility, allowing a child or patient to touch a hot stove
- Defective manufacturing of a consumer product
- An automobile accident that results in a fire
Contact Our Queens Burn Injury Attorney
Our firm investigates and acquires the evidence needed to establish the negligence element. This takes place through discovery and other means. Where possible, we settle cases on behalf of our clients in sums that fairly compensate them for their losses. But we’re prepared to take your case in front of a jury if necessary. To find out more about how we can represent you in your burn injury lawsuit, give Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. a call today.