Suffering a burn injury can be one of the most excruciatingly painful and costly experiences of a person’s life. Minor burns only need first aid and typically heal within a few weeks. Severe burns are a whole different story. Depending on the source of the burn and the extent of the damage, burn victims might face one or more reconstructive surgeries, which often include skin grafts. Burn victims can also face so much pain, doctors must put them in a medically induced coma.
If you have suffered a burn injury as a consequence of another party’s negligence or reckless decisions, the law permits you to seek compensation in civil court for damages related to your burn injury. You and your family shouldn’t have to suffer the added financial burden that comes from a burn injury when another party caused harm.
The compassionate and experienced attorneys at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman are here for you during this challenging time and want to help you hold the party who caused your burn injury accountable. Contact us today at (833) 552-7274 (833-55-CRASH).
Our Results in Personal Injury Cases
The skilled legal team at Sibley Dolman and Dolman Law Group have extensive experience in the negotiation, settlement, and litigation of personal injury cases, including those involving burns. The firm’s dedication to client advocacy and professional excellence has led to the recovery of millions of dollars of damages for their clients.
These settlements and verdicts only serve as examples, and do not guarantee a specific financial outcome in your burn injury claim. Each case has unique facts and circumstances that can decrease or increase its value. Your attorney will discuss the potential for compensation in your particular claim. You can, however, count on the experienced burn injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman to investigate the circumstances that led to your burn injury and diligently pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible for your case.
Burns Have Many Different Sources
The American Burn Association estimates that about 500,000 people per year get treated for burn injuries. Among burn injury victims, approximately 40,000 must be hospitalized, most of them in burn centers. Knowing the source of one’s burn is essential for receiving the right medical treatment. If a burn victim cannot communicate the cause, a friend, family member, colleague, or other bystander must give this information to doctors. For example, electrocution burns require different treatments than chemical burns, and severe sunburns require different treatment than burns from heat.
Burns have a variety of sources; some of the most common causes include:
Hot Liquid Scalds
A burn caused by hot liquid is referred to as a scald. Many different scenarios might lead to a scald. Back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house restaurant employees, as well as customers, risk scalds from hot beverages and soups. Cooking at home can also lead to a scald, especially when young children are left unattended in the kitchen. Similarly, young children and infants risk scalds from excessively hot bathwater.
Whether arson, purposeful burning of materials, or an accidental fire, those nearby risk suffering burns. Electrical issues can cause sparks, lit cigars and cigarettes, car crashes, unattended bonfires or campfires, controlled burn fires, and a variety of other types of fires might lead to a dangerous burn. When flammable liquids are involved, they literally and figuratively add fuel to the fire and might even lead to dangerous explosions. Examples of flammable liquids that can lead to dangerous and deadly fires include gasoline, ethanol, butane, propane, ammonia, and hydrogen. Those who live through a severe automobile fire, wildfire, or building fire often suffer severe, catastrophic, or fatal burns.
Those who regularly come into contact with toxic and harsh chemicals risk suffering burns. Chemicals used for cleaning are the most common culprits of chemical burns. Not only can harsh chemicals damage a person’s lungs, but they have corrosive properties that go right through skin. In the most severe cases, chemicals can burn to or through bone. Some common corrosive chemicals that can lead to severe burns include bleach, ammonia, chlorine, battery acid, and some dental products such as teeth whiteners and denture cleaning products.
Medical technology has provided the miracle or radiation treatment for cancer patients. When treatment goes well, radiation can shrink or completely eradicate tumors. While cancer treatment is the most common use for radiation, doctors also occasionally use radiation to treat blood disorders, thyroid disease, and other tumors. Those who need X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or other diagnostic imaging also risk burns from radiation. Too much radiation exposure can cause skin damage, tissue damage, and other internal damage.
Electric currents create multiple types of burn hazards. Unprotected circuits and outlets cause burn hazards as well as improper or old electrical work with loose or worn out wires.
According to the National Institute of Health, electricity can lead to four main types of burn injuries:
- Flash injuries. These injuries are mild, or superficial, burns that heal quickly and typically do not require medical attention. No electrical current travels through the body.
- Flame injuries. When an electrical current, or arc, sparks, it can ignite clothing or anything nearby. Sometimes electricity passes through the skin, but the largest danger lies in the items that catch fire and can cause mild to severe burns.
- Lightning injuries. In a lightning injury, one or more short bursts of energy, with high voltage, flow through a person’s body. Lightning injuries can cause external burns, but much of the damage is often internal.
- True injuries. If a person’s body receives electricity to the extent he or she becomes part of an electrical circuit, they have suffered a true injury. These injuries are often fatal.
Levels of Burn Injuries
Those who work in the medical profession categorize burns by degree to evaluate the damage they cause to a victim. You have likely heard burns referred to as first, second, and third-degree burns.
The following descriptions offer more specific information about how doctors and burn specialists discern between burn levels:
- First-degree burns. These minor burns only cause damage to the top layer of skin, the epidermis. First-degree burns typically only require first aid and don’t need medical treatment, unless the burn covers a large part of their body.
- Second-degree burns. The next level of burns goes deeper through the skin, extending into the dermis. Sometimes second-degree burns require a skin graft, but they always need more time to recover.
- Third-degree burns. Extending through all layers of skin, those who suffer third-degree burns typically need reconstructive surgery including one or more skin grafts. These burns are painful, require a hospital stay, and a strict pain management plan during healing and recovery. Permanent scars are common with third-degree burns.
- Catastrophic burns. Sometimes also referred to as fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-degree burns, catastrophic burns go beyond the skin and burn muscle and fat layers. In some cases, bones might be exposed. Those who suffer catastrophic burns often go into shock and must be maintained in a coma until healing occurs. Catastrophic burns can be fatal, because they impact vital body processes and make the body vulnerable to infection.
Seeking Compensation After a Burn Injury
If you choose to take legal action against the party responsible for your burn injury, you must bring a lawsuit within your state’s statute of limitations period for personal injury claims.
If you reach a favorable settlement with the defense or the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, you might recover some of the following damages and losses related to your burn injury:
Medical Treatment Costs
Severe burns are among the most costly injuries. Burn victims need immediate treatment that can include an ambulance ride, emergency room services, and hospitalization. Additionally, doctors might need to perform diagnostic tests to evaluate the extent of the burn, especially in third-degree and higher burns. Severe burns can cause victims so much pain that doctors sometimes put them in a medically induced coma to recover to let the healing process begin. This might result in weeks or months in a burn unit.
Ultimately, burn victims who suffer severe burns might also need one or more reconstructive surgeries, which also include skin grafting. Depending on the internal damage a burn might have caused, a victim might need ongoing and indefinite care at a costly long-term care facility.
Those who suffer severe burns often need to miss weeks, maybe months of work due to treatment and hospitalization. In the most extreme cases, burn victims might suffer such severe damage they cannot return to work. Depending on the extent of the burn injuries, burn victims might recover current lost wages, but an attorney might include the value of future lost wages in a personal injury claim.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Personal injury claims typically include amounts for non-economic damages to compensate victims for things such as physical pain and suffering, emotional pain and suffering, and loss of consortium with a spouse. Scarring and disfigurement is one non-economic damage which doesn’t occur often. Yet, those who suffer burn injuries are more likely than others to receive compensation for scarring and disfigurement.
Burn injuries can leave permanent scars; severe burn injuries can result in permanent disfigurement, which doesn’t improve, even after reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. When seeking damages for scarring and disfigurement, the location and size of the burn can adjust the value of a claim.
For example, a small scar on the arm, even from a severe burn, usually isn’t as serious as the same size scar on the face. Similarly, a small scar on the arm isn’t as serious as a burn that covers the entire arm. When lawyers and courts place a value for scarring or disfigurement on a burn victim, they often factor the amount of humiliation and embarrassment a person might feel or experience as a result of their scars. Yet, even when plastic surgery can “fix” a scar, a person might never look the same way they did before the injury.
Get the Legal Help You Need From Our Burn Injury Attorneys
Burn injuries cause victims debilitating physical pain and financial burden because of costly treatment. When another party’s reckless behavior causes you harm, you shouldn’t have to deal with the added financial stress of your injury. You deserve full compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, and other losses you have incurred as a result of your burn injury.
Sibley Dolman and Dolman Law Group understand the struggles you might be coping with after a burn injury, and are here to fight for you and hold responsible parties accountable for their actions. Our award-winning burn injury lawyers can worry about the details of your claim, investigate the events that led to your burns, and handle communications and negotiations with the insurance companies.
If you or one you love has sustained burn injuries as a result of another party’s negligence, contact Sibley Dolman and Dolman Law Group online or at (833) 552-7274 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your burn injury and learn how we can help you. Sibley Dolman and Dolman Law Group will remain empathetic to the financial pressure that comes with a severe injury, so we take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay for attorney fees upfront or out-of-pocket. Instead, we deduct our fees only from any compensation we secure for you in the form of a settlement or verdict in your favor.