No one starts their day in San Antonio expecting to suffer a severe burn. Sadly, however, burn injuries afflict thousands of Texas every year, many of whom live or work in the San Antonio area.
Burns happen in a wide variety of San Antonio settings. Soldiers and civilians suffer burns in incidents at Joint Base San Antonio. Children sustain burns in fires, spills, and other mishaps in homes across the city, from El Chaparral to Lackland Terrace. Burns happen in Riverwalk restaurant kitchens and Travis Street office building break rooms.
The vast majority of burns are preventable. Oftentimes, they’re caused by the careless or reckless actions of someone other than the burn victim. In those cases, burn victims have the right to financial compensation. The burn injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. want to help them get it.
If you or a loved one suffered a severe burn injury in San Antonio, then contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation to learn more about your rights.
About Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A.
We are a team of award-winning personal injury lawyers who fight every day to secure compensation for injured individuals and for the families of those who have tragically perished in preventable accidents. In San Antonio, our team represents clients who have sustained injuries and losses in a wide range of circumstances. Seeking damages on behalf of San Antonio burn victims, in particular, constitutes an important part of our practice.
Ours is a law firm that gets results. Over our years of practice, we have won settlements, judgments, and jury awards for our clients totaling tens of millions of dollars.
Of course, our past successes do not guarantee future ones. They do, however, mean that our team has a strong reputation in the legal community that works for our clients’ benefit. When insurance companies and defense lawyers see our lawyers on a case, they know we mean business.
Delivering for our clients has not gone to our heads, however. We credit our success as lawyers to our strict commitment to providing personalized service to every client. An attorney from Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. is a true advisor and counselor who develops and executes legal strategies tailored to fit each client’s unique needs and priorities.
Overview of San Antonio Burn Injuries
People hear of a burn injury, and their thoughts usually go to fire and heat. There’s a good reason for that. Many burns in San Antonio happen through exposure to flame, be it a welder’s torch or a backyard grill. However, fire is only one of several ways that someone can suffer a severe burn in the San Antonio area.
Here are the categories of burns that bring clients to Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A.
Thermal (Hot and Cold) Burns
Thermal burns happen when someone suffers an accidental exposure to extreme heat or cold. San Antonio thermal burns might result from:
- Exposure to open flames in kitchens, backyards, buildings, or job sites.
- Touching extremely hot objects, such as a steam pipe, engine part, or stovetop.
- Spilling or touching hot liquid, such as freshly-brewed coffee, scalding bathwater, or fryer oil.
- Coming into contact with cold substances, such as refrigerator coolant (freon) or dry ice.
Coming into contact with an electrical source can send a high voltage current traveling through the body and cause an electrical burn, or thermal burn resulting from the body converting electricity into heat.
San Antonio residents can suffer electrical burns from, for example:
- Accidentally touching a high voltage wire while working on a ladder or in a bucket lift.
- Getting hit by lightning during a sudden summer storm.
- Contact with the electrical arc produced by welding equipment.
- Inserting metal objects into electrical sockets.
Road Rash/Friction Burn
High-speed accidents that send a person sliding along a road surface (most commonly motorcycle wrecks) can inflict a form of injury commonly called road rash, in which friction between an individual’s body and the road surface abrades, tears, and burns outer and inner layers of skin tissue.
Technically speaking, road rash is not just a burn injury. In fact, the thermal burn component of a road rash injury, caused by friction-induced heat, is often a relatively minor component of the wound. However, doctors frequently characterize and treat road rash as a type of burn, insofar as it features many of the same types of trauma to skin layers, and responds to similar forms of treatment.
Caustic substances and materials (acids, bases, and oxidants, for example) can cause damage to skin tissue that comes into contact with them, resulting in a chemical burn. Different chemicals cause different reactions with the skin, which can affect the burn’s severity and treatment requirements.
In San Antonio, chemical burns may happen when:
- A toddler spills or ingests household cleaners stored under the sink.
- A construction worker comes into contact with powerful solvents used in cleaning metal.
- Industrial accidents involve spills of caustic chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or sulfuric acid.
A radiation burn, also known as a cutaneous (or skin) radiation injury (CRI), is an injury that occurs when the skin is exposed to too much radiation. A radiation burn may superficially resemble a thermal or chemical burn, but it has markedly different fundamental characteristics, including that it can appear hours or days after exposure, it often returns in waves over a long time, and it does not heal or respond to treatment in the same manner as other burns.
Radiation burns can occur in San Antonio when:
- San Antonio residents spend too much time in the sun without skin protection—i.e., they get a sunburn from overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
- They undergo radiation therapy in connection with cancer treatment.
- They’re exposed to radioactive materials or radiation-based weapons while serving in the military.
Degrees of San Antonio Burn Injuries
Medical professionals in San Antonio classify burn injuries by degree, according to how deep into the body’s tissue the wound penetrates and the scope of medical intervention needed to treat it.
Here is a review of each of the burn degrees, drawn from an overview of burn injuries prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- First-degree burns damage only the outermost layer of a person’s skin. They cause pain, swelling, and redness, and respond to basic first aid treatment. Sunburns are a type of first-degree burn. Most first-degree burns do not require medical attention, except in the rare cases where they cover a significant portion of a person’s body, or when the burn victim is vulnerable due to age or other health conditions.
- Second-degree burns cause damage to the first two layers of a burn victim’s skin. They cause redness, pain, and blistering, and may result in skin loss. These burns frequently require medical attention as they pose a risk of infection and may send a burn victim into shock.
- Third-degree burns destroy the entire thickness of skin, and can damage tissue beneath it. They frequently are not painful, because nerve endings have been destroyed. Third-degree burns are life-threatening injuries that require emergency medical attention to save the burn victim’s life.
Treatment for anything but a first-degree burn may require long stays in a San Antonio-area specialty burn center, such as the facility at Methodist Hospital or the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.
Burn victims may need to undergo skin graft surgery, and frequently require months of physical, occupational, and mental health therapies to help them return to their lives. Severe burns that have technically healed often leave behind scars that disfigure burn victims or limit their mobility.
How We Help San Antonio Burn Victims
Many San Antonio burn victims have the legal right to receive compensation to help them heal and return to living their lives. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. in San Antonio helps burn victims secure that compensation. In the broadest sense, we pursue legal actions on behalf of San Antonio burn victims, usually consisting of lawsuits and/or insurance claims, to get them the money they need and deserve.
The actions we take on our clients’ behalf vary depending on their unique needs and priorities. Our award-winning team has the skill and resources to handle even the most complicated San Antonio burn injury cases, in which we may perform some or all of these services.
Burn Injury Investigation
Oftentimes, our priority in serving our clients is to understand the exact sequence of decisions, actions, and events that led to them suffering a severe burn injury.
Our team of attorneys and legal professionals, sometimes with the assistance of outside experts, delves into the facts of every case, looking for evidence that will help us gain an understanding of two fundamentally important facts:
- Who, if anyone, engaged in unreasonably dangerous conduct that contributed to the cause of the accident or incident that resulted in our client’s burn injury? This helps us to establish who may owe compensation to our client.
- How has the burn injury affected our client’s life financially, emotionally, socially, and professionally? This helps us establish how much money our client should receive as compensation for a burn injury.
Explaining, Answering Questions, and Providing Guidance
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. in San Antonio, we understand how challenging life can feel for clients who have suffered the trauma of a severe burn injury. A core part of our job in representing burn victims is to help our clients understand their options for seeking compensation, to answer their questions in plain, straightforward language they can understand, and to give them the benefit of our knowledge and experience in helping them make legal and practical decisions.
We take pride in our role as counselors to injured individuals and their families as they confront and overcome the difficulty that follows on the heels of a burn injury.
Taking Legal Action
When the time comes for us to act on our clients’ behalf, we prepare smart, well-supported claims for submission to courts and insurance companies. We make claims we can back up with evidence, and craft airtight legal arguments targeted at individuals, businesses, institutions, and others whose wrongful actions caused our clients harm.
When we appear in court or other legal proceedings on behalf of our clients, we act as zealous, dedicated advocates. Our every move is calculated to further our clients’ interests and to secure them the compensation they deserve for their burn injuries.
The reality of our legal system is that most of the claims we make on behalf of our clients end up getting settled by agreement with the opposing parties. In a typical burn injury settlement, our client receives a payment in exchange for agreeing not to pursue further legal action against the paying party.
The frequency of settlements as resolutions of San Antonio burn cases makes it critically important for burn victims to hire lawyers who are tough, aggressive, intuitive negotiators. At Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A., some of the largest results we have achieved for our injured clients have come through settlements.
Going to Trial
Of course, not all cases settle, and it’s often difficult to predict which ones will go the distance to a trial in a San Antonio courtroom. That is why it is also vitally important for burn victims to choose a law firm that is also equally comfortable presenting their burn injury cases to judges and juries.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. is that kind of law firm. Our attorneys have a well-deserved reputation as being tough, talented trial lawyers. We have honed our skills in the courtroom over years, learning how to explain even the most complicated cases in simple terms that convince judges and juries to award our clients top-dollar compensation.
San Antonio, TX Burn Injury FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions About San Antonio Burn Injury Cases
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. frequently fields questions from burn victims and their loved ones, asking about someone’s legal rights to compensation after a burn injury. Below, we answer some of our most frequently asked questions. For more detailed answers that address a specific question you have about a San Antonio burn injury, you can also always contact our team to speak for free with an experienced legal professional.
Who owes me compensation for my burn injury?
As a San Antonio burn victim, you may have several potential legal avenues to pursue in seeking compensation for the injuries and losses you have suffered. Every case differs, of course, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to who might owe you money damages.
However, generally speaking, payment for the harm you have sustained can often come from one or more of these sources:
- Anyone whose wrongful conduct caused your burn injury. Texas law generally entitles you to receive money damages from anyone whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions contributed to the cause of your burn. Through a lawsuit in a Texas court filed on your behalf by an experienced San Antonio burn injury lawyer, you may hold individuals, businesses, institutions, and even government entities, financially accountable for harming you.
- Workers’ compensation insurance and/or your employer directly. If you suffered your burn injury on the job, then you may have the right to seek payment for your medical costs and lost income from the workers’ compensation insurance policy carried by your employer. Alternatively, if your employer chooses not to carry that insurance, you may have the right to pursue a lawsuit against your employer for damages.
- The VA. If you sustained a burn injury while serving in the military, then you likely have the right to receive benefits from the Veterans Administration to pay for your care and to supplement your income.
This is not necessarily a comprehensive list of the potential sources of compensation for your injuries. As we said, every San Antonio burn case differs, which means in each case it helps to have a skilled lawyer dive into the facts to determine who might have a legal obligation to pay money damages to you.
Can I sue for a first-degree burn?
It’s possible if the burn caused you sufficient damages.
Your right to compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s wrongful actions does not necessarily depend on the type of burn you suffered. It does, however, depend on your attorney’s ability to prove four fundamental facts, referred to as elements of your legal claim.
- Someone owed you a duty of care not to act in a way that unreasonably put you at risk of harm.
- That someone breached the duty of care by making a poor decision or engaging in a dangerous activity.
- The breach caused an accident or incident that left you injured.
- The injury you suffered resulted in economic and/or non-economic damages.
The last bullet point usually prevents people from suing for truly minor injuries. Someone could owe you a duty of care, and breach it, and cause you to suffer a first-degree burn, but you would usually have difficulty demonstrating any real damages.
A first-degree burn tends to heal quickly, and the law does not consider the minor discomfort associated with a first-degree burn the sort of damage that requires compensation. Plus, as a practical matter, the cost and effort required to pursue the claim would usually outweigh the value of any damages you could even theoretically recover.
Although rare, some first-degree burns land individuals in the hospital and cause significant expense and disruption. If someone’s wrongful actions caused you to suffer that sort of burn, then you could seek damages for it. Speak with a personal injury lawyer today if that is what happened to you.
Isn’t my employer required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover my workplace burn injury?
No. Texas law differs from that of all other states in that it does not require employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
Instead, Texas employers can choose to become either a subscriber or a nonsubscriber to the Texas workers’ compensation system.
- Subscriber employers carry workers’ comp insurance (or self-insure), thereby covering their employees against medical and disability costs of a work-related injury or illness. By purchasing workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, these employers become almost totally exempt from being sued by their employees for injury-related damages.
- Nonsubscriber employers choose not to carry workers’ comp insurance, which means their employees can sue them for damages arising out of a work-related injury or illness, including damages that workers’ comp would not pay if they carried it, such as pain and suffering.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, as of the most recent reporting year, roughly 71 percent of Texas employers employing roughly 9 million workers are subscribers who carry workers’ compensation insurance. The other 29 percent of employers, who employ roughly 2.1 million workers, are nonsubscribers who do not purchase workers’ comp for their employees, but may offer them some alternative benefits.
If you work for a nonsubscriber employer in San Antonio and suffer a burn at work, report the injury right away to your employer. Then, contact an experienced attorney to learn more about how you can seek compensation. An attorney may need to take quick action on your behalf to protect your rights.
What kind of compensation can I get for my burn injury in San Antonio?
Every burn injury case differs, and so do the types of compensation you can hope to receive for one.
If you suffered your burn injury because of someone else’s wrongful actions, or you got burned while working for a nonsubscriber employer (see above), then by filing a lawsuit on your behalf, a skilled attorney may get your compensation for:
- Your medical expenses related to treating a burn and its after-effects, including any future medical care you might need.
- Any other out-of-pocket expenses, past and future, you have because you suffered a burn injury.
- The wages and income you lost or will lose because your burn injury limits your ability to work.
- The pain, suffering, and difficulty you have endured from your burn injury and its after-effects, including social or emotional struggles you will have because of disfiguring scars.
- In appropriate cases, your burn injury may also warrant exemplary damages to punish the at-fault party.
If you suffered your burn injury at work while employed by a subscriber employer who carries workers’ compensation insurance, then you likely cannot sue your employer for the types of damages listed above. You may, however, have the right to seek those damages from a third party (someone other than your employer or a co-worker) if that party’s wrongful actions caused your burn.
In addition, you can usually expect to collect workers’ compensation benefits that pay for:
- Your past and future medical care for treatment of your burn injury and any secondary conditions; and
- A portion of the wages you lose due to your burn injury preventing you from returning to work.
Talk to a lawyer today about the types of damages you may have the right to seek.
Can I sue someone if I suffered a burn while serving in the military, or am I limited to VA benefits?
It depends on how the burn happened and its connection to your military service.
As a general proposition, the VA pays you compensation for a burn you suffered in the line of duty, such as in a training mishap or combat overseas. You do not have to sue anyone to obtain those benefits, but rather, you can apply for them directly from the VA.
You may also have the right to seek compensation from other sources for your burn injury by filing a lawsuit for damages. For example, you may have a claim for damages against the manufacturer of defective equipment you use in connection with your military service, if that equipment malfunctioned and caused you to suffer your burn injury.
How much is my San Antonio burn injury case worth?
As we said, every burn injury case differs. Placing a value on a case requires a careful examination of the evidence and a detailed analysis of the potential claims you might make.
In general, however, the amount of money you may have the right to receive for your burn injury in San Antonio largely depends on the nature of the burn you suffered, and the impact it has had on your life. The worse the burn and the more extensive the impact, the higher your medical bills, the larger your lost wages, and the more profound your pain and suffering.
That is why the team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. places such an emphasis on fully investigating our clients’ cases. We always want to make sure we understand and seek compensation for the full scope of our clients’ injuries and losses.
Practical considerations also affect the potential value of your burn injury claim. It’s one thing to have the right to receive a certain amount of compensation, but it’s quite another to succeed in securing payment of every dollar of it. Cases can vary in their value based on the strength of the evidence to support them, the skill of the lawyer presenting them, and how hard the at-fault parties fight against them.
In addition, the value of a case can also depend on how much money the at-fault party has available, either through insurance or out-of-pocket, to pay for your damages.
The most reliable way to explore the potential value of your San Antonio burn injury claim is to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
What will a burn injury lawyer cost?
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A., we know our potential clients frequently face financial strain. We strongly believe that burn victims in San Antonio should never have to worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer to represent them.
That’s why we offer a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation to anyone who wants to learn about their rights in connection with a burn injury. We do not charge you a penny for that conversation with a member of our team, even if you decide not to hire us.
Clients who do hire us to represent them in burn injury cases, however, will also find that we virtually always take cases on contingency. Instead of asking for money up-front or charging by the hour, we agree to work in exchange only for a percentage of any money we recover on our clients’ behalf. Through that arrangement, our clients do not need to worry about affording our services. We only get paid if they get paid.
An Award-Winning Burn Injury Law Firm in San Antonio
Did you or a loved one suffer a severe burn injury in San Antonio? Did it happen because of someone else’s wrongful action, or in the course of performing your job responsibilities? If so, then you probably have the right to receive significant financial compensation to pay for your physical and emotional healing and support you through this difficult time.
The experienced burn injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, P.A. in San Antonio want to help. We have committed our careers to represent burn injury victims like you in legal actions aimed at getting you the money you need, and have an impressive track record of success to show for it.
Do not wait to speak with a member of our team. An initial consultation is free of charge and carries no risk to you. An experienced member of our team can answer your questions, hear about your injuries, and help you begin to explore your options for securing compensation. You can contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers at 833-552-7274 24/7 to get started.