If you’re like most people in Bradenton (and the rest of the world), you’ve likely felt the discomfort of a minor burn injury caused by cooking, baking, or grilling. If you’ve endured the trauma of serious or catastrophic burns, you recognize that the consequences are far more severe. Excruciating pain and physical challenges force you to change how you live your life. Disfiguring scars and emotional distress can change how you see yourself. Recovery is often complicated, frustrating, and costly.
Burn injuries occur primarily at home and work due to fires, electrical accidents, and other unique circumstances. Injured individuals often spend years in treatment and recovery and may undergo multiple reconstructive surgeries. Bradenton burn victims often pay a huge financial cost. They usually incur extensive medical bills and lost wages. They often lose critical bodily functions and abilities that affect their lifetime earning capacities.
If you have experienced burn injuries due to someone else’s negligence, contact a Bradenton Burn Injury Lawyer at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman without delay.
We Believe That Responsible Parties Should Pay
The attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman believe that responsible parties should pay for the damages that they cause. Unfortunately, negligent individuals, corporations, and organizations don’t always step up and do what’s right. When you sustain a serious burn injury, work with a dedicated burn injury legal team. A consultation will help you learn more about the steps you should take to protect your legal rights.
Our attorneys have worked with many seriously injured clients. We have investigated the evidence, analyzed their legal issues, and identified all the responsible parties. We have worked hard to achieve justice for our injured clients. We are a small law firm, but our attorneys have always been committed to producing big results.
Our Firm’s Results
Our personal injury attorneys have recovered millions in damages for our seriously and catastrophically injured clients. When possible, we have worked directly with responsible individuals, corporations, insurance companies, and opposing lawyers. We have resolved our clients’ cases through negotiation, mediation, and settlement conferences. As trying a case on its merits is sometimes our best option, we’ve evaluated and prepared each case for that inevitability.
As each case is unique, we can’t promise a specific outcome. We allow our case results to speak on our behalf. We believe that our past successes demonstrate a strong commitment to our injured clients.
How Do Bradenton Burn Injuries Occur?
Severe and catastrophic burns occur suddenly, accidentally, and under a wide range of circumstances. Burn injuries happen most often in a victim’s home or at their workplace. Defective products cause home fires and serious burn injuries. Fires sometimes ignite after a serious vehicle crash, causing additional injuries.
While fires cause many serious burn injuries, flames aren’t the only problem. Chemicals, radiation, electricity, and hot industrial operations also cause burn injuries in work environments. Burns are a major cause of injury and death across the country and around the world. Health and safety organizations promote burn safety by providing prevention strategies, information, and burn-injury data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC explains that every day, 300 children up to age 19 undergo emergency room treatment for burns, and two children die. Younger children often sustain scalding injuries. Older children sustain injuries from flames.
The CDC provides several burn-prevention recommendations for households with young children, including:
- Implement cooking safety practices.
- Never leave food unattended on a stove.
- Restrict young children’s oven, stove, and microwave use.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor.
- Have an escape plan in case a fire occurs.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Defective products sometimes ignite home fires that cause injuries. The CPSC investigates these defective products and pushes for recalls where appropriate. To promote fire safety, the CPSC publishes fire safety alerts and factsheets. They include information and safety guidelines about flammable liquids, gas grills, holiday decorations, overheated dryers, household extension cords, and other known fire hazards.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
To reduce the number of workplace injuries, OSHA issues safety guidelines and accident reporting requirements. The agency encourages compliance by investigating serious and fatal work-related injuries, and assesses penalties for safety violations.
Despite these efforts, workplace burn injuries occur in all areas of the country.
- Chemical burns: OSHA chemical burn reports illustrate how chemical burn injuries occur during many types of work operations. In one incident under investigation, a farm-worker sustained fatal chemical burns while mixing agricultural fertilizer. In other incidents, employees sustained burn injuries from nitric acid, chromic acid, hydrogen fluoride, sodium hydroxide, and other chemicals.
- Electrocutions: “Electrocution” is one of the OSHA Construction’s Fatal Four. Electrical burn injuries occur when workers touch live electrical lines. They also happen when metal ladders and scaffolds make contact with unprotected electrical sources. These incidents cause burns as well as internal and external damage throughout an injured person’s body.
- Electrical arc-flashes: Arc-flashes occur when an electrical current flashover “leaves it’s intended path.” The current moves through the air to another conductor or to the ground. Dust, condensation, material failure, faulty installation, and other factors sometimes contribute to this phenomenon. These flashes often cause serious or fatal burn injuries to workers in the immediate area.
- Hotwork: Shipbuilding and repair operations involve hotwork, such as welding and burning. Injuries occur when workers come into contact with sparks or molten slag. Workers also sustain serious burns from touching metal surfaces that remain hot after completed welding operations.
- Restaurant Accidents: Young workers are particularly vulnerable to serious restaurant burns. Hot liquids cause scalding injuries; deep fat fryers cause severe burns; grills, ovens, and other heat-producing equipment create fire hazards. During a recent incident at a Doral, Florida, restaurant, an employee sustained burn injuries when he fell into a vat of hot water. OSHA fined the Doral restaurant $62,513. To minimize the risk of these types of child-worker injuries, child labor laws prohibit children under age 16 from cooking in restaurants.
- Explosions: Explosions also cause employee burn injuries. In a recent incident, OSHA cited a Florida employer $94,415 in penalties when an employee sustained injuries after following the employer’s instructions. The employee ignited wood using liquid gas and a blowtorch in an enclosed area. An explosion resulted, and the employee sustained burn injuries.
The World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) burns page presents burn injury statistics from incidents documented all over the world. WHO lists flames, heat, radiation, radioactivity, electricity, friction, and chemicals as the primary burn injury causes.
The site also shares these international statistics:
- Burns are a global health problem. Nationally, they cause an estimated 180,000 deaths each year.
- Burns are a worldwide cause of morbidity, long-term hospitalization, disabilities, and disfigurement.
- Burns are often a source of stigma and rejection for the victim.
- Women are more at risk of burn deaths than men.
- Non-fatal burns are the fifth most common cause of childhood injuries.
- Factors that contribute to burn rates include occupation, underlying medical conditions, income, location.
- Burns are preventable with proper safety measures.
Severe Burn Injuries Have Life-Changing Consequences
Burns cause serious life complications, as they have the power to destroy tissues and impair organs. They also cause disfiguring scars and permanent disabilities. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) burns page describes how internal damage sometimes occurs when a serious burn jump-starts the body’s inflammatory response. Inflammation usually protects the body from disease. When it responds to a severe burn, however, it sometimes overreacts, causing damage to vital organs.
Medical professionals differentiate burns based on six degrees of severity. The most serious burns present major recovery challenges.
- First-degree burns damage the outermost skin layers. This minor damage generally heals within a few days.
- Second-degree burns cause damage down to the skin’s dermis layer. In some cases, second-degree burns require grafts, surgical revision, or other treatments for optimum healing.
- Third-degree burns injure and sometimes destroy both the epidermis and dermis layers of an injured individual’s skin. When damage is this severe, it destroys hair follicles, sweat glands, and underlying tissues.
- Fourth-degree burns damage skin, underlying tissues, and fat. The NIGMS also describes fifth-degree burns, which cause damage down to the muscle. Sixth-degree burns cause tissue damage and destruction to the bone. In the most severe cases, burn patients sometimes undergo amputations.
The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center describes additional burn-related damages and conditions.
- Itching & Pain: Burn patients often deal with itching and pain that disrupts sleep, work, and physical activities.
- Mental Health Issues: Burn patients undergo scar revisions but sometimes retain disfiguring scars. As a result of severe physical and health changes, burn patients often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some recovering patients feel hopeless, sad, lonely, and anxious.
- Body Image Issues: Burn patients with disfiguring scars suffer from grief, sadness, anxiety, and other issues.
Who Is Responsible for Burn Injuries?
Often, more than one individual, company, or organization shares legal responsibility.
- Product and chemical manufacturers: Defective or malfunctioning products often cause residential fires. Industrial chemicals in the workplace are often excessively volatile to the point of causing burns during ordinary use. When products cause unanticipated damages or the manufacturer fails to warn of inherent dangers, several entities often share liability. Companies or individuals in the production, packaging, and distribution chain share liability for an injured person’s product-related burns.
- Premises owners: When a defect or other circumstances on a non-owned or non-workplace property causes a burn injury, the owner, management team, and others who control the property share liability.
- Vehicle owners: When a negligent driver causes an auto accident that includes a damaging fire, the driver and owner may share liability. If a vehicle defect causes the crash, the vehicle manufacturer may also share liability.
Liability for Workplace Burn Injuries
As OSHA burn reports suggest, serious burn injuries occur in diverse work environments. A Florida Department of Workers’ Compensation inquiry shows that 16 workers in the Bradenton area sustained burn injuries on the job during one recent year. Burn incidents injured a total of 797 Florida workers that year. As many as four die every year.
Under most circumstances, if you suffer burns on the job, you have limited damage recovery prospects. Employers fulfill their duties to their employees by providing workers’ compensation coverage. When you sustain a work-related injury, your employer turns in a claim. Once the insurer determines that your damages are compensable, it will pay your medical bills and a wage benefit.
You retain your legal right to pursue a liability claim or file a lawsuit against third parties in the following circumstances:
- A non-employer or non-coworker causes your burn injuries.
- A contractor on the job causes your injuries and doesn’t meet the workers’ compensation definition of co-employee.
- A defective or malfunctioning product caused your burns.
- A driver who is not your employer or co-worker causes a vehicle accident in which you sustain burn injuries.
- You sustain burns due to a premises hazard or defect on a property that’s not a work premises.
What Damages Will a Burn Accident Victim Recover?
A burn victim may recover damages in three categories: (1) economic damages, (2) general damages, and (3) punitive damages.
Economic damages are easiest to calculate. They include the costs of out-of-pocket expenses incurred during treatment and recovery.
They also include the projected cost of future expenses.
- Emergency treatment
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Prosthetics and mobility equipment
- Lost income
- Funeral and burial expenses
General damages often require protracted negotiation to reach an agreement. They depend on the injured person’s subjective concerns, including emotional, psychological, and lifestyle issues. As these damages are personal to the injured person, proving them is often a challenge.
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety and emotional distress
- Diminished spousal relationships
- Changes in family relationships
- Lost bodily functions
- Scars and disfigurement
- Wrongful death
Florida law allows courts to award punitive damages as punishment to a defendant. A plaintiff must provide clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s intentional or grossly negligent actions.
How Do Responsible Parties Avoid Paying Damages?
Even when liability is clear, sometimes responsible parties and their insurers try to avoid paying the damages they owe.
- Insurers sometimes negotiate unfairly, making excessively low offers.
- Some insurers use litigation as a tool to force plaintiffs into low settlements. This works when a plaintiff’s lawyer doesn’t have adequate resources to conduct discovery and try the case.
- Some manufacturers have high self-insured retention limits, or fully self-insure their product and liability losses. This provides the manufacturers with the control to spend money on defense costs instead of settlements.
- Some responsible parties and their carriers prefer to take their chances in a courtroom. While most cases never go through a complete trial, the costs and time investment often encourage a plaintiff to settle low or run the risk of receiving no judgment at all.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Attorneys, we have the resources to manage any defense strategy. Our attorneys have always reviewed the evidence and evaluated our clients’ cases to determine the most viable solutions. We’ve taken the necessary steps to deliver the best possible outcomes for our injured clients. We have always understood how insurance carriers and defense attorneys work. As we’ve entered negotiations, mediations, or trials, we’ve prepared our cases to meet each critical challenge.
Bradenton Burn Injury FAQ
At one time or another throughout their lives, most people will suffer a minor burn. Whether we inadvertently touch a hot pot, scald ourselves with water, or spend too much time in the sun, we can relate to the pain associated with a burn injury.
Some burn injuries, however, are far more serious and extensive than any minor burn. When serious burns are caused by another’s negligence, injured Bradenton victims may recover compensation for their injuries. However, seeking damages oftentimes involves a complicated legal process, and victims may benefit from seeking the advice of an experienced Bradenton burn injury attorney.
Below are answers to some common questions clients ask us about burn injuries.
What are the most common types of burns?
According to a research study conducted by AmeriBurn, the leading cause of burn hospitalizations, accounting for 43 percent of the total, were caused by fires or flames. Around 34 percent of burns requiring hospitalization were caused by contact with scalding liquids. An additional 16 percent of hospitalizations were for burns caused by contact, electrical, or chemical. The remaining 7 percent of burns resulted from other causes.
Where do burn injuries most commonly occur?
The same study referenced above showed that 73 percent of all burns occur in the home. Occupational burns account for 8 percent while highway or street burns and recreational or sports-related burns account for 5 percent each. Nine percent of all burns were categorized as occurring in “other” environments.
What deems another liable for a burn injury?
Most people rarely consider the underlying causes of burn injuries. However, there are specific types of incidents that present an increased risk of burn injury resulting from another’s negligence actions. When someone’s negligent behavior causes another a burn injury, the responsible party may be liable for any injury-related damages.
Some common circumstances involving burns caused by another include:
- Burns from faulty wiring – Poor or inadequately maintained electrical wiring can cause a fire and/or serious burns. Wires on household appliances, faulty wiring in your home by a careless electrician, faulty wires on electric tools used in the workplace commonly cause burns. In each of these situations, faulty wiring may be attributed to someone else’s negligence.
- Chemical burns – For individuals working in industries that regularly use hazardous chemical compounds including degreasing solvents, petroleum-based products, or cleaning supplies, chemical burns can be devastating. A wide range of industries may potentially expose employees to chemicals that are capable of harming individuals if they are used improperly. Refrigeration technicians, truck and diesel mechanics, workers in processing plants, housekeeping staff, and other maintenance workers may come into contact with chemicals that can cause burns. If an employer has failed to provide adequate protective equipment or proper training, they may be liable for damages resulting from chemical burns in the workplace.
- Burns resulting from explosions – Employees who work on gas lines, in fertilizer processing plants, or in factories producing hazardous chemicals are at risk of experiencing an injury from an explosion. Workplace explosions may be caused by poor maintenance, improper safety procedures, or an employers’ failure to supervise.
- Burns resulting from roadway accidents – In cases where there is an accident involving a truck transporting hazardous materials, victims can suffer serious burns. If the impact of a collision causes hazardous materials to spill from a truck, fires may ignite at the scene of the accident. In other cases, a passenger vehicle collision may puncture a gas line leading to a fire that could potentially burn accident victims.
What are the various degrees of burns and what do they mean?
The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that physicians and medical experts agree that consistent classification of burn severity is necessary. By classifying the severity of a burn by degree, treatment providers can better understand the level of care an injury requires.
The four degrees of burns are explained as follows:
- Fourth-degree burns – As the most serious type of burn, fourth degree burns cause extensive damage to the skin and underlying tissue. The majority of victims also suffer damage to the muscle, bones, and tendons in the affected area. Fourth degree burns most commonly result from direct contact with flames or hazardous chemicals.
- Third-degree burns – Third-degree burns most commonly occur in situations involving chemicals, electricity, or open flames. These burns are classified by deep tissue damage, which often requires surgical intervention to repair.
- Second-degree burns – Burns classified as second-degree typically cause damage to the outermost layer of skin, as well as the layer located directly below. While second-degree burns are considered relatively minor, victims can suffer infections, scarring after healing, and may be in pain while healing.
- First-degree burns – The mildest form of a burn is classified as a first-degree burn. First-degree burns are often considered superficial because they typically only damage the outermost layer of skin. Victims may require a week or more to recover from this type of burn, but, generally, they have the best outlook for a quick recovery.
What steps should I take following a burn injury?
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a burn injury, victims should seek immediate medical attention. While treatment for a first-degree burn may only require thorough cleaning and proper bandaging, more serious burns typically require more extensive medical treatment. Keep in mind, even second-degree burns can result in serious infections. Burn victims should have their injuries evaluated so that they may receive adequate instructions on how to care for blistering that may develop over time.
Victims should be sure to communicate to their physician how the burn occurred to ensure the cause of injury is accurately recorded in their medical records. If possible, take photographs of your injury before treatment or dressing of the burns. It is critical to successful recovery to follow all medical advice after sustaining a burn injury. After suffering burn injuries as a result of another’s negligence, victims should consider seeking the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they deserve.
What steps should I take if I suffer a burn in the workplace?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific guidelines for employers that are intended to keep workers safe from workplace burns. However, vendors, manufacturers, or property owners may fail to follow the guidelines or may contribute to conditions that increase the risk of burns in the workplace. While employees are entitled to file a Florida workers’ compensation claim, oftentimes workers’ compensation benefits are insufficient to fully cover a victim’s out-of-pocket expenses.
To obtain workers’ compensation benefits, employees must first report their burn injuries to their employer and file a claim. Once your employer has been notified and your claim has been filed, you may consider consulting with an attorney for further guidance. In some cases, your claim may be denied or your employer may attempt to deflect liability for your injury. Hiring us can help to protect your legal rights throughout the claims process.
I suffered a burn in my home due to an appliance fire—what should I do?
First, file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance and then contact a trusted personal injury attorney. When injuries are caused by an appliance fire, potentially liable parties may include:
- Wiring contractors – If someone was responsible for installing electrical wiring in your home, and incorrect installation caused a fire, the wiring contractor may be liable for your injuries.
- Appliance manufacturers – If an appliance was defective and the defect caused the fire, the appliance manufacturer may be liable for losses related to your injuries.
- Appliance repairmen – If you recently had an appliance repaired and improper repair or maintenance caused a fire, the repair company or their employee may be liable for resulting injuries.
My spouse suffered a burn injury in a car accident that was not his fault. What options are available to me?
Once you have filed a claim with your own insurance company, which is required under Florida’s no-fault insurance rules, contact an attorney for an explanation of your options. Remember, your personal interests do not align with the interests of insurance company adjusters. A Bradenton car accident attorney can help protect you from insurers who aim to discredit injury claims to minimize your financial payout.
What compensation can I expect for a burn injury?
First, it is important to remember that not every burn injury will result in a substantial settlement. The specific facts and circumstances of each individual case will determine the amount of compensation a victim may expect to receive.
Generally, burn injury victims may recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses – All medical expenses associated with your injury are potentially recoverable. Victims who require ongoing medical attention, treatment, or rehabilitation may include a prediction of future costs in their claim for damages.
- Unearned wages – Depending on the severity of a victim’s burn injury, they may be out of work for days, weeks, or even months. Victims may be entitled to lost wages, including future earning capacity if the injuries cause temporary or permanent disability.
- Other expenses – Should your injuries require you to use specialized equipment, hire in-home assistance, or make other accommodations, you may recover these expenses.
- Non-economic damages – Non-economic damages are intended to cover intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or treatment for emotional and mental anguish associated with life-altering burns.
When do I have to decide to file a lawsuit?
Under Florida’s statute of limitations, victims may file a personal injury claim within two years of the date of the injury. However, victims should not wait until the last minute to make the decision or contact an attorney.
Victims may benefit from filing a claim sooner, rather than later, for several reasons, including:
- Delays benefit insurers – Insurance companies are going to be interested in speaking with you directly to try to offer you an early settlement. Insurers are interested in obtaining an early settlement because the agreement will typically require victims to waive their right to any future claim for additional damages. Before you accept a settlement offer, you should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Attorneys may conduct investigations – When appropriate, if a victim is uncertain of who may be responsible for their injuries, a personal injury may conduct a thorough investigation. Attorneys may have access to expert witnesses and actuaries that can accurately predict future expenses, when needed. By understanding the type of burns you suffered and circumstances surrounding the accident, attorneys may help victims identify potentially responsible parties.
- You need to focus on your recovery – Chances are you may not have an in-depth understanding of the personal injury claims process in Florida. More importantly, after sustaining a burn injury, a victim should prioritize their physical recovery. Hiring an attorney to handle the legal complexities of the claim can allow victims to fully focus on recovering.
Can I file a personal injury lawsuit without an attorney?
As a practical matter, no. Injured victims are not required to obtain legal representation to file a personal injury claim. However, you must meet certain deadlines, adhere to guidelines, and take many important steps. Unless you have experience handling personal injury claims, you may lack the level of skill required to maximize your financial recovery.
How much does an attorney cost?
You will pay nothing for legal representation in your case. We offer prospective clients a free consultation and case evaluation. During a consultation, an attorney may review your injuries and the circumstances leading to the accident to provide victims with an understanding of their options for moving forward. We then provide our services on a contingency fee basis, so we only collect a percentage of whatever compensation we can obtain for you.
I feel that I need an attorney to represent me. How do I find the right attorney?
To begin, research local firms to evaluate their track record of success when pursuing personal injury claims. While an attorney’s past results do not necessarily indicate their future successes, past victories may indicate the firm’s level of experience and competence.
If you or a loved one have suffered serious burns, and you are uncertain about your legal rights, contact our Bradenton burn injury attorneys today. Schedule a free consultation to ensure you can make the best possible decision for moving forward.
Call our Bradenton Burn Injury Attorneys
If you or a family member has sustained serious burn injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you should protect your legal rights. The Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman have convenient office locations along both Florida coasts, including Bradenton. We’ve helped our clients recover millions of dollars in damages. We’d like to determine if we can help you.
Call us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or complete our contact form. We’ll arrange a free consultation.