Every year, thousands of victims suffer serious repercussions from burn injuries: loss of earnings, permanent physical disabilities, and scars are just a few examples. Florida alone houses three regional burn centers where patients may endure extensive skin graft surgeries and prolonged therapy sessions along the road to recovery.
Many victims sustain burn injuries in the workplace. OSHA reports that thermal, chemical, and electrical burns are some of the most serious burns. In the construction industry, 5.6 percent of all construction eye injuries (welder’s flash) are caused by burns. The American Burn Association reports that men sustain injuries at twice the rate of women.
If you’ve suffered physical and financial loss from a burn injury, we want you to know that you’re not alone. Our attorneys have helped many clients recover compensation for their suffering, and can show you the steps necessary to ensure a recovery without the burden of uncompensated medical expenses.
The Three Most Common Types of Burn Injuries
First-degree burns. Although painful, these are considered mild burns, and typically do not require hospitalization. 1st-degree burns can occur when the victim touches an electrical appliance or extremely hot water; sunburns are also classified as 1st-degree burns. Affected areas appear red and swollen, and may take several weeks to fully heal. During this period, pain management is often required.
Second-degree burns. These burns are also known as partial thickness burns. They affect both the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin. Such burns can be sustained through chemical, electrical, or thermal means; for example, chemical burns can occur when skin comes into contact with strong acids in industrial solvents.
At a construction site, electrical burns can occur in a number of ways. Injuries can be sustained through contact with direct power lines, energized machinery, or electrical explosions. Thermal burns can be sustained through contact with scalding steam. For this reason, an important OSHA regulation, 1910.261 (k)(11), states that all exposed hot-water pipes within 7 feet of the floor or within 15 inches from stairways, ramps, or fixed ladders must be covered with insulating material.
Victims of Second degree burns often develop painful blisters. Complications are possible, and medical attention is frequently necessary.
Third-degree burns. Also known as “full thickness” burns, these injuries are the most serious burns to treat. All layers of the skin are affected. Third-degree burns can be caused by powerful chemical, electrical, radiation, or thermal energy. Victims sustain a significant injury to the underlying tissues at and around the burn site, and typically experience extreme and chronic pain. The skin may appear leathery, and yellow, brown, white, or charred black in color.
Third-degree burns usually require sustained treatment at a burn center. These burns can be life-threatening, especially in the event of sepsis or hypothermia, common complications as a result of serious burns. Recovery from 3rd-degree burns is typically extensive, debilitating, and painful, and may require multiple surgical treatments during the course of recovery.
Sources of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can occur due to faulty appliances, negligence, explosions, or improperly installed equipment. Each situation is unique, and there is little uniformity across industries. Regardless of the setting, workers exposed to burn hazards are at a serious risk of life-altering injury; employers, property owners, or other individuals or organizations are required to take precautions, and can be found liable if the proper cautionary steps are not observed.
Potential Liable Parties
Company owners may be held liable if unsafe workplace environments lead to electrical malfunctions or chemical spills. The manufacturing and construction industries report the highest levels of burn injuries. On welding operations, for example, OSHA requires all employees to be supplied with personal protective equipment (PPE). Goggles, hoods, protective footwear, and flame-resistant gloves must be worn by employees on the job. Welding helmets are particularly crucial, because they protect against dangerous arc radiation.
In addition, combustible material must be handled according to safety protocols. Company owners or managers who fail to follow such protocols can be held liable for injuries.
On the road, drivers who cause injuries can also be held liable for their negligence.
Take, for, instance a driver who fails to stop at a red light. The driver crashes into a truck carrying hazardous chemicals; an explosion occurs, and the truck operator sustains severe chemical burns. In such an instance, the automobile driver could be held liable for the injuries sustained from the explosion.
Manufacturers who market unsafe products can also be held liable for improper labels or manufacturing defects. An example is food labels that fail to acknowledge known allergens, such as soy, peanuts, and dairy in the list of ingredients.
If you are a renter, you should know that landlords who don’t comply with federal and state fire codes can also be held liable for injuries you sustain in a fire.
Recoverable Damages in the Event of a Burn Injury
Burn injuries frequently result in severe suffering for victims. Additionally, if there is loss of life, the families of victims endure significant emotional distress. In many cases, compensation for these conditions may be obtained.
Potential Types of Recoverable Damages
- Medical bills for operations, physical therapy, and rehabilitative care.
- Compensation for lost wages.
- Physical and mental impairment as a result of the injury.
- Lost future earnings.
- Pain and emotional suffering.
How Liable Parties May Deny Responsibility
In many instances, the guilty party may try to deny liability. Alternately, an insurance company may argue that a lack of forensic evidence absolves it of responsibility. Here, the services of an experienced attorney will prove indispensable. When and where appropriate, personal injury attorneys may conduct an unbiased investigation to determine the next steps you should take.
Similarly, employers may argue that liability waivers hold greater weight than your claim. Understand that, in most cases, liability waivers are iron-clad, and frequently withstand judicial scrutiny. However, a skilled attorney may be able to uncover potential weaknesses in any waiver you signed. For example, the language in which a waiver is couched is important; vague references and ambiguous statements may lead a court to decide in your favor. An attorney skilled in analyzing and interpreting documents like these is invaluable.
If you’re wondering whether litigation is in your best interests, talk to a lawyer. Don’t let fear rob you of your right to justice. Many lawyers offer free, initial consultations to assist you in your decision-making process, and can help you plan a comprehensive strategy for seeking compensation after your injury.
Contact Sibley Dolman Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you incurred significant burn injuries in Doral, you may be entitled to compensation for any material or non-material losses you have sustained. The best way to ensure you receive proper compensation is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. In the event of a burn injury, don’t delay; call as soon as you are able; the lawyers of Sibley Dolman are available to answer any of your questions.
We have helped numerous victims earn favorable court verdicts that resulted in substantial settlements. While these past results do not necessarily guarantee similar results for everyone, we regularly fight for victims who have no other recourse, and aspire to place the best interests of our client first. In many instances, cases can be handled on a contingent fee basis; you pay nothing up front, and any legal fees you incur can be recovered out of any settlement you may receive.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (305) 930-7688 or write to us online.
8400 NW 36th St Suite 450
Doral, FL 33166
What Our Clients Have to Say:
“My experience with this law firm has been extremely pleasant. After being involved in an accident where I was injured, I was able to seek treatment from the best doctors in the area. I was lucky to have a team that assisted in scheduling my appointments that worked around both my full time work schedule and my demanding grad school schedule. Even with a move out of state to New York, I was able to remain with this law firm and continue treatment in south Florida while remaining under the care of the doctors that I felt most comfortable with. Even though I suffered injuries and experienced difficulties in that aspect, the team here was able to make sure that I was able to continue work and stay on track with grad school all while I moved to a new state.”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read more reviews on Google!