Burn Injury Lawyer
Burns are extremely painful injuries that can result in permanent disfigurement, disability, or even death. There are different factors that determine the severity of a patient's burn injury, including the location on the body and the depth of the burn. Victims of severe burn injuries may be able to seek compensation for their pain and loss.
Types of Burns: First, Second, Third & Fourth Degree
Burn injuries are caused by exposure to heat, chemicals, electricity and radiation. They are categorized in four degrees depending on the amount and depth of tissue damage.
First-degree burns are those that involve the skin's surface. These types of burns generally do not affect the tissue. Patients will experience redness and swelling of the skin, accompanied by pain and discomfort. First-degree burns usually heal within a few days.
|Types of Burns de SMIRAMIS150|
Second-degree burns are more severe than first degree burns. These types of burns affect both the surface of the skin (epidermis) as well as the underlying layer of the skin (dermis). Patients will most likely experience redness, swelling and blistering of the affected area. If the burn is not treated properly, the injury can worsen and turn into a third degree burn.
Third-degree burns are severe. These types of burns affect the dermis, the epidermis and the tissue beneath the epidermis (hypodermis). The skin may appear translucent white and will look charred. These types of burns take a long time to heal due to the extent of damage and destruction of skin cells. Patients will usually experience a sense of numbness.
Fourth-degree burns are the most severe types of burns. These types of burns not only affect all layers of the skin (as do third degree burns), but they also affect structures below the skin. Fourth degree burns can affect a patient's tendons, bones and muscles. Because of the extensive damage, fourth degree burns can result in physical disability and/or amputation of the affected area.
How a Burn Injury Affects You
When the skin is burned, serious complications can arise. As the body's largest organ, the skin protects against infection, regulates body temperature and prevents the body's essential fluids from leaking. When a person suffers severe burns, these things are jeopardized, making the patient susceptible to infection, other health risks, and even wrongful death.
In addition, burn injury victims may experience long-term effects such as scarring and physical disfigurement. People who suffer third degree burns will usually experience extensive scarring that can result in a negative self-image. Patients may also suffer disabilities from excessive tissue damage, and in some cases, patients may require amputation of affected parts of the body.
How Burn Injuries Affect the Skin
Besides the medical risks burn injury patients are exposed to they are likely to face additional problems related to the loss of normal skin characteristics. Severely burned skin develops scar tissues that do not share the same characteristics as healthy skin.
|Read more here about "Preventing and Treating burns"
from Family Health Online
The affected area might be lacking from the following characteristics:
- Ability to regenerate
- Sense of touch
- Ability to perspire
Severe burns often require skin transplantation to heal, but even if the burned area manages to recover to an acceptable degree, it will still remain sensitive, needing special care like permanent sun protection.
Who can be Held Liable for Burn Injuries?
Burns are undoubtedly one of the most devastating personal injuries a person can sustain. Unless injuries are the result of an accident the victim itself is responsible for, identifying liable parties and pursuing financial compensation is the proper course of action. At John M. O’Brien & Associates we carefully investigate the circumstances and causes of every burn injury sustained by our clients. From our experience responsible parties most often include:
- Manufacturers of faulty products
- Negligent landlords, adjacent landowners or other tenants
- Negligent contractors
- Business owners
Many house fires start in the kitchen because of defective cooking equipments. Manufacturers or distributors of these products might be held responsible for their negligence. Property owners who fail to install and maintain in working condition fire detectors are also liable for any injuries suffered by a third person in a potential house fire. Contractors who install a faulty wiring system might also end up as defendants in a burn injury lawsuit just as your neighbors who accidentally torched your property and caused you or your family burn injuries.
What Types of Damages can Burn Injury Victims Recover?
Burns are among the most painful, debilitating and difficult to treat injuries a person can sustain. Recoverable damages are accordingly numerous. Victims with severe burns often require skin grafts as the damages affect the skin’s ability to regenerate. Physical therapy and reconstructive surgery are also frequently needed. These and all other medical expenses can be recovered in a burn injury lawsuit. Smoke inhalation can generate permanent disability resulting in the victim’s need for specialized care and equipment. If you sustained such damages, our attorneys can help you recover the costs of your treatment.
Besides medical expenses and long term care other damages can also be recovered following a burn injury. A successful legal process can bring compensation for:
- property damages
- pain and suffering
- deterioration of life style
- loss of earning capacity
In case the injuries were fatal, surviving family members are entitled to file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for funeral costs, lost future earnings and loss of companionship.
Even if you were partially at fault for your burn injuries, our attorneys might still be able to help. California is a comparative fault state, meaning partially responsible victims are entitled to compensation in a percentage equaling the other party’s fault.
Fire Accident Statistics in California
Between 2003 and 2010 California fire departments responded to an estimated 73,422 home structure fires. These fires resulted in:
| View here the entire report from:
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
- 563 civilian deaths
- 3 firefighter deaths
- 2,072 civilian injuries
- $3.1 billion in direct damage
Nationally, 85 percent of all civilian fire deaths in 2009 resulted from home structure fires. On average, eight people a day die in U.S. home fires. That is equivalent to the number of deaths that would be caused if one commercial airplane crashed every month.
Fire Loss in the United States during 2009 by Michael J. Karter, Jr., NFPA, Quincy, MA, August 2010
Home Structure Fires by Marty Ahrens, NFPA, Quincy, MA, January 2009
Office of the California State Fire Marshal, 2003-2010 data as reported by 48% of fire departments
What to do in Case of a Burn Injury
The first and most important aspect all burn injury victims should remember is to avoid treating their own injuries in any way and ask for immediate medical assistance to prevent further damages and infection. Once their situation is stable and their medical condition allows it, they should obtain all information available about the incident, including:
- Name and address of the property owner where the accident occurred
- Name and address of the person who caused the accident, if that is known
- Contact details of potential witnesses
- Photography of the accident location and their own injuries
- Copy of the initial medical report
- Their medical bills related to the injury
As soon as victims are able to, or in case of fatal injuries, when family members are able to, contacting a burn injury attorney is recommended. Our law office located in Elk Grove, Sacramento area has experienced attorneys who have handled several burn injury cases and we have the necessary experience to determine liability as well as to establish the proper amount of compensation victims should receive.
Burn injury FAQs
Q: What are the most common causes of burn injuries?
A: Burn injuries are caused by exposure to heat, electricity, radiations and chemicals. The majority of burn injuries are caused by heat exposure from fire, steam or hot liquids. The most common causes of burn injuries are building fires, auto accidents, defective products, improperly stored flammable liquids, exposure to chemicals, electrical accidents, gasoline spills and gas explosions.
Q: How do burn injuries affect victims?
A: When skin is damaged fluids leak into blood vessels causing pain and swelling. Dead skin tissue is a source of infection just as the lack of healthy skin, because it can no longer protect the body from outside infection sources. Besides the risk of infection and considerable pain victims are exposed to long term consequences as well: the affected area will no longer have the characteristics of healthy skin, elasticity might be lost alongside with sensation and the area will remain sensitive even after healing.
Q: How long does it take to recover from a burn injury?
A: Recovery from burn injury is a long and painful process. The amount of time each victim requires depends on the severity of the injury and the general health of the individual as well as the quality of the medical services received. Some victims require skin transplantation, others several reconstructive surgeries. The process might take years and patients might never recover completely. Physical and emotional scars often follow the victim for the rest of his life.
Q: What types of lawsuits can be filed in burn injury cases?
A: Burn injury victims can file several types of lawsuits depending on the circumstances of their injury. In case the injury was the result of an auto accident a personal injury lawsuit can be filed. If the accident occurred on someone else’s property due to unreasonably dangerous conditions, premises liability lawsuit is the proper course of action. If a person sustained burn injuries due a defective product, the manufacturer or distributer of that item can be held legally responsible in a product liability lawsuit. If the burn injuries were severe enough to cause the death of the victim, surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim.
Q: How much time do I have to file a burn injury lawsuit?
A: The statute of limitation depends on the type of lawsuit that is about to be filed and the state where the injury occurred. In California personal injury and product liability claims have to be filed within two years after the accident.
Q: Do I need an attorney to assist me with my claim?
A: In the majority of cases yes. If you sustained severe burn injuries the last thing you want to worry about is to gather legal information on how to file your claim, to gather evidence, to talk to witnesses and to contact expert witnesses to support your case.
Q: Will my attorney need to retain expert witnesses even if my injuries are obvious?
A: Most often yes. Expert witnesses are useful in determining liability and establishing the proper amount of compensation you deserve. Such witnesses include accident reconstruction specialists, firefighters, engineers, doctors and financial experts.
Q: How soon after my accident should I contact a burn injury lawyer?
A: As soon as possible. Timely investigation can prevent the evidence from being lost or contaminated. Detailed, time consuming investigation might be required to establish liability, and you might be at risk of exceeding your statute of limitation. Another reason why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible is to receive actual compensation earlier, as you will need to pay for consistent medical services and you won’t be able to return to work too soon after your accident.
Contact John O’Brien - Burn Injury Attorney
Burns can affect a person's life forever. As a result, it is important for patients to get the best treatment available immediately following an accident. After initial treatment, a burn injury victim may be able to seek compensation by contacting a burn injury attorney.
At John M. O'Brien & Associates, P.C.,we are advocates for people who have been suffered burn injuries by another's negligence and may be able to help you. Contact our office from Elk Grove - Sacramento or San Francisco for a free evaluation of your case!
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