One of the most tragic facts about burn injuries is that not only are these injuries painful and debilitating, but more serious burns can also be disfiguring. Classified as a catastrophic injury type, if you have suffered a burn injury, you may be facing serious financial losses, as well as psychological and emotional trauma. At The Masters Law Firm, our burn injury lawyers recognize the tragic nature of your situation and want to help you recover compensation for your losses. We are committed to working hard for you.
Causes of Burn Injuries
While most people think of fire or hot surfaces when they think of burns, burn injuries can be caused by sunlight, electricity, radiation, chemicals, or heat (e.g. fire or hot steam). The U.S. National Library of Medicine also classifies the inhalation of smoke as a type of inhalation injury burn.
Burns can happen outside (i.e. touching a downed power line), at the hospital (radiation burn), at home due to a home fire or accident, or in the workplace, where a workplace fire, explosion, electrocution injury, or chemical exposure incident may occur.
Most people think of burns to the skin, but burns can also damage your eyes and your lungs. Chemical burns can be very severe, and have lasting effects on your vision and breathing.
Degrees of Burn Injuries
Touching a hot surface for a split second or getting a bad sunburn type burn can be painful, but usually doesn’t result in serious burns that require medical attention and which can be expensive, disabling, or even life-threatening. Instead, these types of burn injuries are classified as minor first-degree burns, where only the outer layer of the skin is damaged. Most first-degree burn injuries can be treated at home and do not require any intensive medical care.
Second-degree burns, on the other hand, are slightly more serious. When a person suffers a second-degree burn injury, both the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and the layer of skin directly under the epidermis (dermis) are damaged. The result can be splotchy skin and blistering, as well as significant amounts of pain.
Third-degree burns are even more serious than second-degree burns, resulting in damage to the layers of skin and the layer of fat beneath the skin. Third-degree burns can actually be less painful than second-degree burns because the nerve endings may be destroyed, resulting in a sensation of numbness. Third-degree burn injuries are very serious, leading to permanent disfigurement and scarring. These types of burns can be life-threatening in some cases, and cause permanent disability.
Some medical professionals also recognize fourth-degree burns. These burns are rare, and are so severe that they go through all of the layers of skin, the layer of fat beneath the skin, and deeper, possibly damaging bone and muscle. There will often be no feeling in the affected area due to the complete destruction of nerve endings. The burns are often life threatening and can lead to multi-system organ failure.
Treatment for Burn Injuries
The treatment that’s necessary for a burn injury depends primarily on the type of burn and the degree of burn. As stated above, most first-degree burn injuries will only require at-home treatment; however, second, third, and fourth-degree burns will demand professional medical intervention.
Types of treatment might include the use of pain management medications, skin grafts and plastic surgery, medications to reduce the risk of infection, physical therapy, and more. Those with severe burn injuries may require the use of feeding tubes and breathing assistance. Third- and fourth-degree burn injuries will likely be treated in a specialized burn treatment center. Healing can take months, be extremely expensive and unbearably painful, and leave the affected person with permanent disability and disfigurement. Severe burn injuries also put patients at risk of infection and other serious and life-threatening complications. Often the skin that is left behind is fragile and subject to tears with the slightest bump and is extremely sensitive. At times, the skin loses the ability to properly regulate functions like sweating or skin temperature.
Liability for a Burn Injury
Suffering a burn injury is one of the most painful and serious injury types that a person can incur. When a person is severely burned, the losses they suffer will be significant, including medical expenses, lost wages and earning capacity, and pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and loss of quality of life. Our lawyers at The Masters Law Firm firmly believe that a person who has suffered these losses should be compensated in full for them.
Liability for a burn injury is based on negligence in many cases, which is the failure to exercise the required and expected degree of care. Those who might be held liable for a burn injury and related losses include:
A power company that does not maintain its lines;
A property owner or landlord who failed to maintain working fire alarms or who otherwise failed to reasonably prevent against fire;
The manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment (i.e. an exploding e-cigarette);
A third-party whose negligence caused a fire, such as a person who lit an outdoor fire illegally or a company who failed to maintain safe electricity/power lines;
The party responsible for an accident, such as defective motorist whose negligence led to a crash that involved an explosion or fire;
A gas well explosion caused by having equipment that is not properly fire rated for use the area; or
Any other party who started a fire, caused it to get out of control, or otherwise breached their duty of care to mitigate harm to the injured person.
If your burn injury happened at work, you may be able to bring a workers’ compensation claim and, in certain circumstances, a civil suit against your employer, or/and a third-party liability claim for harm. When you hire our law firm, our lawyers will work with experts and other professionals to investigate your case and determine the precise cause of the fire and identify potentially liable parties. We will also work hard to calculate the value of your claim, including future losses and noneconomic damages. Our goal is to help you recover compensation for every cent you have lost, which means that we will aggressively negotiate your settlement and turn to litigation if necessary.
Call Our Experienced West Virginia Burn Injury Lawyers
A burn injury is a catastrophic injury, and one that will undoubtedly change the course of an affected person’s life for the long term. While we know that nothing can change what has happened to you, holding the responsible party liable can provide a sense of justice, and recovering financial compensation can help you to provide for yourself and your family moving into the future. Our lawyers have three decades of experience advocating for people like you, and we are ready to start working on your case today. Please reach out to us online or by phone at 304-342-3106 or toll free at 1-800-342-3106 to schedule your free consultation.