Take legal action to recover damages for your burn injury
Your skin is the largest and one of the most important organs of your body. A serious burn can kill an accident victim or at the very least, be completely life-altering. Serious burns can leave you with terrible pain, disfigurement and scarring, and the emotional trauma that comes with those conditions. If you or a loved one is recovering from a burn injury, we know you want answers on what you can do now, especially in terms of recovering compensation to help with the extensive medical bills.
In Georgia, if your burn injury was caused by the negligence of another person or entity, you may be able to sue for negligence or wrongful death. If the burn injuries come from a workplace accident, then workers’ compensation will likely be available to you.
Given the pain and suffering that burns can cause, legal settlements from burn injuries can be substantial. If you are suffering from severe pain and have huge medical bills piling up for your burn treatments, damages or a settlement are likely to ease you burdens. This article provides you with an overview of burn injury liability and will help you determine what you should discuss with a personal injury attorney.
Demonstrating negligence in burn injury cases
As in all personal injury cases, you, the plaintiff, have the “burden of proof.” This means your attorney will need to provide enough evidence to prove that the defendant caused your burn injuries.
When your burn occurs as an accident, you can pursue a negligence claim. Under Georgia law, you must prove the following to win your burn injury lawsuit:
- The defendant owed a certain duty of care to you.
- That duty of care was breached as your safety wasn’t protected.
- If the breach hadn’t occurred, the accident most likely wouldn’t have taken place.
- The breach of duty led to your injuries.
The same criteria is true for workers’ compensation claims. If your accident occurred at work, then your employer’s duty of care to you will be examined. Your burn injury claim could be substantial, especially if your employer’s failure to follow OSHA regulations led to the accident.
Causes of burn injuries
How and where the burn occurred is important as these circumstances impact how much the defendant is liable and how much a jury would be willing to award you at your trial.
There are many types of personal injury cases where terrible burns can happen. Some possible occurrences include:
- Defective household products
- Defective industrial equipment and products
- Flammable materials
- Car crash or truck accident
- Structural fires
- Gas explosions
- Workplace accidents
- Faulty wiring
The cause of the accident and many other complexities in burn cases will affect the size of the potential award and whether your case is settled or resolved via a trial or workers’ compensation hearing.
Possible compensation in a Georgia burn injury case
Naturally, it’s hard to estimate how much a burn injury settlement or verdict may be. Generally, burn injuries can lead to higher settlements due to the pain, suffering and scarring that usually is involved. Physical and emotional harm is likely, and you may need several surgeries and physical therapy to recover. Additionally, your compensation will depend on the factors surrounding the accident.
The major factors in burn case settlements that affect the potential size of the damages include:
- How severe the injury is in terms of physical damage and the cost of treatment.
- The intentions of the party who caused the burns.
- To what extent the responsible party can pay damages.
If your attorney can establish that you have been burned due to negligence, Georgia law allows you to be compensated for the following damages:
- Medical bills – future and past – for treating your burn injuries.
- Any expenses related to your burn injuries that were paid out of pocket (keep good records of all expenses).
- Wages that you have lost, as well as wages you may lose in the future due to your injuries and medical treatments/appointments.
- Past and future pain and suffering, which could be substantial in a burn injury case.
- If you suffered severe burns that led to obvious disfigurement, such as on the face, your compensation could be higher than other burn injuries.
- Punitive damages if your injury was caused by a deliberate criminal act or “gross” negligence on the part of the defendant.
- Funeral expenses and full value of life damages are possible in wrongful death claims.
Again, most of these damages are the same if you’re pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. In addition, Georgia offers the following forms of disability, based on the severity of your burn injury:
- Temporary total disability (TTD): temporary but total disability, unable to work
- Temporary partial disability (TPD): return to work with modified job duties, reduced hours and wages
- Permanent partial disability (PPD): permanent loss of function of a body part or bodily system; treating physician will assign a percentage of permanent impairment, which affects benefits
- Permanent total disability (PTD): totally and permanently disabled; benefits based on impairment rating system
Burn injury attorney resources
If you’re not sure if you qualify for workers’ compensation or if you would like to pursue a personal injury claim, we encourage you to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Before your consultation, consider the following resources:
- Why you need a Georgia workers’ comp attorney
- How to hire the right Georgia personal injury lawyer
- Why should I hire a Georgia personal injury lawyer? (Are they optional? What do they actually do?)
- When do you NOT need an attorney after an accident?
- Preparing to meet with a personal injury attorney
- How to talk to a lawyer
- Negotiating lawyers’ fees - how do accident lawyers charge? Are there any hidden costs?