Burn Injury: Attorneys, Settlement Amounts and Your Case
Burn Injury: Attorneys, Settlement Amounts and Your Case
Claim and settlement amounts, plus how to hire a burn injury attorney
Burns are a catastrophic injury that can alter the course of someone’s life, leaving them in intractable pain and disfiguring their bodies. Find out how to proceed after this type of accident, typical burn settlement amounts, and how to hire a burn injury attorney after someone’s negligence.
Your skin — for all the acne, cuts and bruises it collects — is also your largest defense system. It is the necessary cover that holds in your vital organs, keeping those fragile masses from suffering damage. Serious burns can permanently harm your skin, even if it’s a mild accident. The worst burns can kill you.
If a burn was caused by someone else’s negligence, you likely have the opportunity to sue for damages.
Pain and suffering from burns is a terrible type of suffering, and juries do not play games when it comes to those types of awards. The medical bills are substantial, and if you have been burned this is an option you should consider. However, they are all over the map, so an online burn injury calculator probably won’t tell you much.
While the injuries can be severe, it is still difficult to figure out how much a burn settlement amount might be beforehand. Many factors must be taken into account, such as:
The extent to which the responsible party can pay damages
How severe your injury is (a burn typically falls under “catastrophic injuries”)
The intent of the defending party
Burn injuries are a catastrophic injury and can be resolved by negligence lawsuits.
Burns, being catastrophic injuries, can lead to settlements that are much higher — more pain meaning more money, essentially. But it can be a very long road to that result.
Basic elements of a burn injury lawsuit
The plaintiff, also known as the victim, has the burden of proof in a negligence case. This means you must show that you were injured and that those injuries were caused by the defendant. To do this, you have to illustrate the following:
The defendant owed you a duty of care. Let’s say you worked for the defendant. Your boss has a duty to keep your workplace a reasonably safe space, meaning you shouldn’t be burned during the performance of your normal duties.
The defendant breached that duty of care. In our hypothetical, let’s say that your boss acted with reckless disregard by keeping several unmarked bottles of cleaning agents under the sink. These highly corrosive chemicals are dangerous and can cause burns.
That breach of duty directly led to your injuries, and that breach caused damages. You were harmed when you tried to use the contents of the bottle to wash your hands; your skin was badly burned by the chemical agent, which led to significant medical bills in treating the chemical burn.
How did the burn happen? Where is it located?
Just like other lawsuits, where and how a burn occurred will affect a plaintiff’s potential settlement or claim amount.
Was it the victim’s neck and face that was disfigured, or was it his leg? Will she never feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit again? Will it affect his marital relationship? Or was it something that can be easily hidden?
Additionally, the jury will take into account the physical location of the accident and whether it was foreseeable. The following are places where burns might occur:
Another consideration is whether a burn took place at work and whether it was potentially avoidable.
If the incident was potentially avoidable, a jury may not feel a reward is judicious, even if there are significant medical bills. However, if it was because of an employer’s failure to follow OSHA regulations, then the value for a burn settlement amount might increase.
The most famous burn injury case is probably the Hot Coffee Case. This was considered a defective products case. The coffee was in fact so boiling hot that Liebeck required skin grafts for her third-degree burns. She was in the hospital for eight days. The final settlement amount for her burn injury was for less than $600,000.
Depending on where you live, there might be damage caps for this type of burn settlement amount. While those are typically for medical malpractice cases, you should still be aware that a jury award might be reduced for this reason.
Wrongful death because of a burn injury
If you have lost a loved one because of a catastrophic burn injury, there might be the option of filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of that person’s estate.
Wrongful death claims are brought in civil court and resolved through monetary means. Depending on the state where the accident took place, there might be caps on damages here as well. Damages include, but are not limited to:
Funeral and medical expenses
Loss of the decedent’s income and services
Pain and suffering
Emotional loss and the loss of companionship
If a defendant’s actions were considered reckless or wanton, the court might consider punitive damages as well.
The other consideration in a wrongful death claim is whether the defendant has an insurance policy or access to money. If not, there might be no way to make them pay for what they did in a burn injury claim. This would be a question for a lawyer.
Talking to a burn injury attorney
Burns are terrible injuries that require the utmost care; dealing with the legal aspect on top of that can be exhausting. If you need some assistance through this process, read some of the resources below and speak with burn injury attorneys who are experienced in this area. You can start with attorneys in the Enjuris directory. They will be able to help.
Resources to help you hire the best burn injury lawyer: