Burn injuries: In addition to the extreme pain often caused by these types of injuries, they can also result in substantial complications, many of which can increase recovery time and leave victims struggling to participate in the activities that they previously enjoyed. Burn injury victims may require a long stay in a sterile burn unit in Bayfront Health, where they can significantly decrease the rate of infection, or may need to miss significant time at work due to ongoing pain and suffering. As a result, many burn injury victims find their lives altered substantially.
An experienced St. Petersburg burn injury attorney can help. If you suffered burns in St. Petersburg due to the negligence of another party, Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman can provide you the same passion and dedication we’ve offered the St. Petersburg community since our founding. Contact us today at 833-552-7274 to learn more about your legal rights following serious burn injuries.
Types of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can occur in a variety of ways. Most people immediately think of burns caused due to close contact with a heat source or flame. Heat burns can occur because of fires, especially fires that result from a lack of adequate fire safety precautions in a building. However, heat burns are only one example of an entire family of burn injuries.
Chemical burns occur due to contact with caustic chemicals. Chemical burns may result from immediate exposure, such as coming into contact with hazardous chemicals as you spill them over your hand, or through prolonged exposure in the air. Sometimes, victims face chemical burns due to inadequate safety precautions taken when disposing of or storing hazardous chemicals.
Generally, electrical burns that result in burn injury claims occur due to direct contact with an electric current, often due to improper wiring or exposed wires on a construction site. Electrical burns can also occur due to lightning or the current from a stun gun. Victims with severe electrical burns may suffer more than just skin damage, since electrical current can travel through the body and inflict organ damage and other trauma in its wake. Electrical burn victims may need to seek medical attention immediately to determine what type of damage they suffered in the accident.
Just as heat burns occur when the body experiences contact with a too-hot surface or direct contact with a flame, cold burns often occur when the body suffers direct exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Prolonged contact with extremely cold temperatures can increase the damage suffered in a cold burn.
Friction burns occur when a hard object or extreme rate of speed rubs off the layers of skin. Some types of friction burns may affect only the top layers of skin, leaving behind a sunburn-like result. Severe friction burns, on the other hand, may cause abrasion-like symptoms as well as traditional burn injuries.
Victims of auto accidents, especially pedestrian accidents, may have friction burns known as road rash, which occurs when the victim’s skin gets scraped across the pavement. Construction sites also offer a high potential for friction burns due to the heavy equipment often used across those sites. Friction burns may leave behind severe scarring and may have a higher rate of infection due to increased risk of foreign matter in the wound.
Radiation burns occur most often in medical settings, though they can also occur in research facilities. Radiation burns require exposure to a high degree of dangerous radiation.
Grading Burn Severity
Most doctors rate burns according to their severity as they decide on a course of treatment and determine what the victim will need to heal.
First Degree Burns
First degree burns involve only the first layer of skin, or the epidermis. Generally, victims with first degree burns will experience some redness and tenderness of the skin. Victims may need to protect that skin and avoid further exposure to stimuli that could cause damage, including heat and dangerous chemicals. Victims with first degree burns often do not have long-term tissue damage. If they do experience ongoing symptoms, they usually have only some darkening of the skin.
Second Degree Burns
Second degree burns go through the epidermis and into the dermis, the second layer of skin. Second degree burns usually cause blistering and raised, reddened skin. Victims with second degree burns often experience substantial tenderness and pain around the site of the injury. While second degree burns may have some complications in healing, the victim usually heals fairly quickly, with some scarring. Second degree burns prove most dangerous when they occur on the face, on or around the genitals, or around joints.
Third Degree Burns
Third degree burns char both the epidermis and the dermis, or the top two layers of skin, and go into the tissue beneath. Tissue often appears black or white and may seem charred or hard in appearance. In some cases, third degree burns cause excruciating pain. Deeper burns may destroy the nerves, which can lead to a loss of sensation altogether around the site of the injury. Victims with third degree burns often have a higher risk of complications, including hypothermia, low blood volume, and increased risk of infection.
Fourth Degree Burns
Victims with fourth degree burns may have substantial scarring and can even lose limbs and tissue to their burns. Many victims with fourth degree burns do not suffer as much pain due to damaged nerves from the burn damage. Fourth degree burns can include muscle and even bone in some severe cases.
Facing Burn Complications
Many victims with severe burns suffer equally serious complications that can leave a long-term impact on their lives and their overall functionality.
Not only do burns cause extreme pain and suffering in the moment, the pain can linger for long after then. They may also cause severe scarring that can leave victims with psychological trauma long after the accident. Some scarring can cause a tightening of the skin that can decrease mobility or functionality. Other scars may permanently change the victim’s appearance. Some burn victims suffer from a loss of social interaction due to self-consciousness related to their burn scars.
Burn victims suffer a high rate of infection even with the highest quality of care. Burns destroy the body’s protective layer, the skin, which helps prevent dangerous bacteria from entering the body. With the skin stripped away, many burn victims have a significantly higher risk of suffering extreme infections. These infections may result in the need for additional treatments, including the removal of infected tissue and increased scarring.
Failed Skin Grafts
Some burn victims require skin grafts, in which skin gets removed from a healthy area of the body and transplanted onto the burned area to repair that area. Unfortunately, failed skin grafts occur all too often in burn victims. Failed skin grafts may require repeated procedures.
Filing a Burn Injury Claim in St. Petersburg
If your burn injuries occurred due to the negligence of another party, you may have the right to file a burn injury claim to help you recover some much-needed funds following your accident. A burn injury claim can help you pay for your medical bills and cover other expenses related to your injuries, as well as ensure that the party or parties responsible for your injuries are held accountable.
Who Bears Liability for Your St. Petersburg Burn Injuries?
An experienced St. Petersburg burn injury attorney can help you better understand who bears liability for your accident and, therefore, who you can file a burn injury claim against. Many burn victims find that they may pursue compensation from multiple sources, due to multiple parties contributing to their accidents and their injuries; this may increase the compensation they receive.
To determine who caused your burns, an attorney will carefully evaluate your accident and all the conditions that contributed to it.
The attorney will likely evaluate:
- Who bore a duty of care to you at the time of your accident? If you suffered burns in an accident in your apartment, made more severe by the fact that your landlord did not install smoke detectors or ensure adequate escape routes, for example, your landlord had a duty to provide a higher rate of safety to you, as the tenant. If you suffered your injuries on a construction site, the company operating on that site may have borne a duty of care to protect all visitors to that site.
- Who violated that duty of care? An inexperienced electrician left live electrical wires exposed when leaving a construction site for the day. A store owner covered the fire exits from the store to fit in more inventory, rather than leaving that area open to make it easier for patrons to escape in the event of a fire. In each case, the liable party violated their duty of care to all potential victims in that environment.
- How did that violation lead to your burns? If your burn injuries were a direct or indirect result of this violation, you can likely file a burn injury claim against the liable party. For example, if you suffer a minor shock from exposed electrical wiring that caused no other damage, you may not have grounds for a burn injury claim; but if you suffered serious burns due to that same violation, you may be able to file a burn injury claim to receive compensation for your burns.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect Following a St. Petersburg Burn Injury Claim?
For many victims, understanding how much compensation they deserve can prove critical to their claim. Many insurance companies, in fact, will attempt to get victims to accept less compensation than they deserve: offering a low settlement soon after the accident, for example, to close the case quickly. Consult our experienced St. Petersburg burn injury attorneys for information about how much compensation you, specifically, might expect after serious burns.
Definitely get in touch with an attorney before accepting any settlement offer, even if the offer appears generous—in many cases, the true cost of your damages will greatly exceed that initial offer.
We cannot offer a guaranteed estimate of the exact compensation you will receive for your burns.
Most burn victims, however, include the same general expenses as part of their burn injury claims.
- Medical expenses. Burn victims often face high medical expenses, especially if they suffered complications during their recoveries. Not only did you require emergency treatment for your burns, you may have needed a long stay in a special burn unit, where doctors could decrease infection risk and allow you time to heal. Many burn victims also need substantial procedures, including plastic surgery, to help them recover from their burns. Treatment costs can also include physical or occupational therapy, especially if you suffered a severe loss of mobility or even limb loss due to your burns. You can include all medical costs associated with your injuries as part of your burn injury claim.
- Lost wages. Could you return to work in the immediate aftermath of your accident? For many burn victims, a return to work remains impossible for some time. Burn victims may need time to decrease their reliance on pain medications, focus on recovery, and improve functionality before returning to work. Those who work in highly physical professions may need even more time before they can go back to work. You can include compensation for those lost wages as part of your burn injury claim.
- Pain and suffering. In addition to the other parts of your claim, you can claim compensation for the pain and suffering you faced as a result of your burns. An attorney can help you develop a better understanding of how this impacts your case.
Do You Need a St. Petersburg Burn Injury Attorneys?
If you sustained a burn injury in St. Peterburg because someone or something harmed you—whether the negligent owner or manager of a business or property, a careless driver, a defective product, or unsafe working conditions—give us a call.
Our St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers are ready to provide a free case evaluation. If we choose to work together on your case, we will do so on a contingency fee basis, so we won’t charge you anything to represent you. Instead, we will only collect a fee if we can recover compensation for you. You never have to worry about paying us to help you with your St. Peterburg burn injury claim.
With offices on both Florida coasts, Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman are proud of our history helping burn victims throughout Florida achieve justice. Contact us today at 833-552-7274 for a free consultation with one of our passionate St. Petersburg burn injury associates.
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