Burn injuries are one of the leading causes of unintentional death in the United States. About 97 percent of individuals who are treated in burn centers survive—yet commonly leave these treatment settings with permanent disabilities, scarring, and other chronic health issues.
Sustaining a burn from a fire, a scalding-hot object, or another burn source can have serious effects on health and livelihood, both in the short- and long-term. If you’ve sustained a burn injury from an incident that occurred as a result of another party’s negligence—such as an employer, business establishment, or landlord—you may be entitled to compensation.
Many individuals involved in the compensation process, such as insurance adjusters and the negligent parties, will do whatever they can to reduce or complicate the payout process. An experienced fire and burn injury lawyer can effectively advocate for your rights and your entitlement to fair compensation to cover costs associated with your injury, as well as pain and suffering.
The burn injury lawyers of Florin|Roebig believe that any person who has been unlawfully harmed due to the negligence of another party is entitled to take legal action. Here is the most important information to know about burn injuries, burn injury liability, and what to do if you’ve sustained a burn injury at the fault of another party.
Types Of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can be classified as first-, second-, third-, or fourth-degree burns. First-degree burns are the mildest, and fourth-degree burns are typically fatal.
First-degree burns impact just the first layer of a person’s skin and may or may not require medical attention. This type of burn can result in mild to moderate pain, swelling, and redness of the skin.
Second-degree burns affect two layers of the skin and will likely require medical attention. This type of burn may cause blistering, a glossy appearance, pain, deep reddening of the skin, and possibly loss of some skin.
Third- and fourth-degree burns are the most severe types of burns, often resulting in serious and permanent injuries, disabilities, or death. These burns can appear black or white and may cause the skin to become leathery in texture. This impacts all layers of the skin and requires immediate medical treatment.
There are numerous ways in which people can sustain burn injuries.
Common types of burn injuries seen in burn injury claims and lawsuits include those caused by:
- motor vehicle accidents
- workplace injuries
- apartment building fires
- recreational fires (i.e. at a place of business, hotel, mall)
- defective products
- inadequate or defective fire exits
- lack of fire extinguishers
- scalding pipes, food, and water
- electrical accidents
- exposure to dangerous chemicals
- industrial accidents
Where Burn Injuries Occur
Burns can occur in a variety of settings and may have various sources. The American Burn Association shares that the primary causes of burns in the U.S. are scalds, fires, contact with a hot object, electrical sources, and chemicals.
Individuals can suffer burn injuries in their homes, at a restaurant, in the workplace, and any other setting in which a person has close contact with a flammable or heated object. Where a burn injury occurs, and how it occurs, can be important considerations in determining one’s ability to take legal action against the at-fault party.
The workplace is the second most common site of burn injuries that are serious enough to warrant admission to a burn center for medical care.
While the typical office environment may not appear to pose a significant risk for burns or other serious injuries, workers in the industrial, agricultural, and service industries—as well as any other workplace that involves chemicals, the utilization of heat, or radiation exposure—can be at high risk for workplace accidents.
Even in an office space, accidents can still occur, and if there aren’t functioning safety precautions in place to mitigate the consequences, the fault may rest on the employer.
Depending on the nature of the incident, employees that are injured in the workplace may have the option of submitting a worker’s compensation claim. This can provide wage-replacement benefits. However, it also requires the employee to forfeit their right to suing the employer for negligence.
Examples of employer negligence that may warrant a burn injury lawsuit include:
- failure to adopt adequate fire safety precautions
- lacking an appropriate number of fire extinguishers, according to state or local law
- lacking other essential safety measures necessary to the prevention of serious injuries
Awarded compensation in a worker’s compensation claim will also be a lot less than the amount that could be awarded in a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit allows workers to sue for a range of injury-related damages, including mental anguish, whereas workers’s compensation will be much more limited and reduced.
The only exception might be a third-party claim against another at-fault entity, such as a product manufacturer or sub-contractor, which can award additional compensation on top of the wage-replacement benefits. People who suffer a burn injury due to a defective product in the workplace, or as a result of a subcontractor’s negligent behavior, may be eligible to file a third-party claim for added compensation.
Apartment Building Fires
Nearly 75 percent of serious burn injuries occur in the home. For individuals who rent their homes, it may be possible for your landlord to be held liable for a sustained burn injury if they have demonstrated negligent behavior. Negligent behavior, in this instance, can refer to the failure of the landlord to follow federal, state, and local laws intended to protect residents from hazards.
Landlords are required to adopt certain safety precautions, including the use of ceiling sprinklers, working fire extinguishers, and the implementation of smoke detectors. If a landlord has neglected these safety measures, and it results in a resident suffering an injury on their property, the landlord may be liable for the injury and resulting damages.
State and local laws may differ in the exact requirements landlords must adhere to in order to evade liability for residential injuries. You must be able to provide proof of the landlord’s negligence and how that negligence directly caused your burn injury.
Additional factors that may impact your ability to sue your landlord for negligence include:
- whether legal language included in your lease waives your right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against your landlord to trial
- where you live in the United States (due to variance in state laws on suing a landlord)
- the amount of evidence you have to support your allegation of negligence
If you’re unsure how to gather the evidence to support your allegation, or have additional questions about your tenant rights, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help.
Commercial Property And Businesses
Although much less common than workplace and household accidents, burn injuries can also result from incidents at business establishments where there may be a fire or exposure to a substance hot enough to cause a serious burn.
Commercial properties where burn injuries may occur:
- fitness centers
- community centers
- grocery stores
If you’re injured by a fire or scalding-hot object on private or commercial property as a result of the reckless or negligent behavior of the establishment, the property owner may be held liable and sued for compensation.
What To Do If You’ve Suffered A Burn Injury
If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury as a result of another party’s negligence, consider taking the following steps:
Seek Medical Attention
Second-, third-, and fourth-degree burns will require medical attention. First- and some second-degree burns may require first aid or a doctor’s visit, but may not require immediate treatment.
Call 9-1-1 for emergency medical assistance if:
- you suffer a third-degree burn
- you are in extreme pain
- your face, hands, feet, or genitals have been severely burned
- the burned skin looks white, charred, or leathery
- the victim of the burn is an elderly adult or young child
If your burn isn’t serious enough to warrant emergency medical care, run the affected area under cool water, and consult your doctor on the use of antibiotics or soothing aloe vera gel to reduce pain and potential scarring.
If you do seek medical attention, request a copy of your medical records. Having evidence of your symptoms, the severity of the injury, and other details will be important to have in case you decide to take legal action against the party responsible.
Document Your Injuries
Once you’re out of immediate danger, take photos of your injuries and write down any key details concerning how the burn occurred, where and when the burn occurred, the source of the burn, and whether you believe there was foul play. An example might be a burn injury that occurs due to the failure of your landlord to keep a fire extinguisher in your apartment building in the event of a fire.
If there are any witnesses to the event that causes your burn, collect their personal information. Witnesses may be able to provide testimony later on in the event that you file a lawsuit against another party for personal injury.
Contact A Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer with experience handling burn injury cases can help you determine your rights and your entitlement to compensation.
If you’re unsure whether you have an eligible case for a lawsuit, this is a question that a lawyer can carefully evaluate and answer based on the details of your case. Understanding your rights in the aftermath of a fire or another injurious incident is important, particularly if the injuries you’ve sustained are severe.
Burn injuries are some of the most difficult injuries to treat and can become costly to both treat and manage over time. Individuals who have sustained serious consequences from a burn—such as permanent disfigurement, loss of sensation, nerve damage, or respiratory problems—are likely to require ongoing care that can also drive up a hefty bill and have an enormous impact on long-term livelihood.
If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury at the fault of another, a lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve to help cover these costs and compensate for physical and psychological anguish.
Benefits Of Filing A Burn Injury Lawsuit
Depending on the severity of your burn and the extent of your losses, a lawyer will likely provide you with two options for taking legal action: filing a tort claim for personal injury or filing a burn injury lawsuit. If you were injured at your workplace, you may also have the option of filing for worker’s compensation.
Filing a tort claim gives you the opportunity to recover compensation to make you feel “whole” again. This provides full compensation to the full extent of your injuries, including compensation for medical expenses, loss of ability to engage in functional activities, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
However, this may still limit the types of damages to which you may be entitled in awarded compensation. If the insurance adjuster or the party at fault refuses to agree on a fair settlement, or draws out the claims process, your lawyer may suggest filing a burn injury lawsuit, which will take the defendant to court.
By filing a burn injury lawsuit, you may be able to seek compensation for the following damages:
- burn-related chronic medical problems
- loss of sensation
- permanent disability
- lost wages
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- medical treatment expenses
An experienced burn injury lawyer can guide you on the types of damages you may be able to seek compensation for based on the nature of the incident and other details concerning your case.
Burn Injuries In The U.S.
Burn injuries are one of the leading causes of unintentional death and injury in the United States.
Here are more statistics on burn injuries in the United States:
- About 25 percent of burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15.
- Young adults between the ages of 21–29 are 1.5 times more likely to suffer a burn injury compared to the general population.
- 60 percent of estimated U.S. acute hospitalizations for burn injuries lead to admission into a burn center.
- The majority of burns in the U.S. occur in the home, followed by workplace incidents.
- One civilian fire death occurs every 2 hours 35 minutes.
- Over 1.1 million burn injuries requiring medical attention occur in the U.S. each year.
Burn Injury Lawyers Serving The U.S.
Burn injuries can have a major impact on a person’s finances and their general livelihood, taking a physical, financial, and emotional toll. Upon making the decision to seek justice for an injury that occured at the fault of another party, it’s important that you feel confident in your legal representation.
At Florin|Roebig, our burn injury lawyers have worked for decades to provide unmatchable legal services that effectively advocate for injured clients and fight for fair compensation from the parties at fault.
Our lawyers have secured over $1 billion in results nationwide. We have law offices located in Florida, Minnesota, Texas, and Colorado for clients who have sustained burn injuries as the result of a variety of causes—be it the negligence of an employer, a landlord, or another property owner.
Our team of award-winning burn injury lawyers includes:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Michael L. Walker, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Shaun M. Cummings
- Luca G. Esposito
- Chad K. Florin, M.B.A., LL.M.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Matthew L. McMullen
- Michael A. Ossi, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Brian R. Dettman, O.C.
Find Help Filing A Burn Injury Lawsuit
When it comes to taking legal action for personal injury, time is of the essence. State laws vary on how much time individuals who have been injured at the fault of another have to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If you’re considering taking legal action for a burn injury, don’t wait to learn what options may be available to you. Contact the offices of Florin|Roebig today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our seasoned burn injury lawyers, who can provide you with more information about your legal options based on the details of your case.