Burn Injury Lawyer
Second- or third-degree burns are some of the most traumatic or severe injuries you could suffer. To make it more difficult, recovering from a burn injury can have many physical, mental, and financial costs attached. No matter how large or small, burns can easily change your life. Second- or third-degree burns typically require extended periods in the hospital, rehabilitation, skin grafts, and extensive counseling to help you get through the mental trauma that comes with burn injuries.
The American Burn Association estimates that there are over 450,000 severe burn injuries in the United States each year, many of which are accidental. Even though it was negligence on someone else’s part that caused your burn injuries, your case may require a complex investigation. You should contact our personal injury lawyers to help get the best resolution possible for your case.
The Four Classifications of Burns
When looking at burn severity levels, you’ll notice many potential classifications. Generally, burns get broken down into four main categories, depending on how severely they penetrate the skin and how deep they are. These four classifications are:
First-Degree Burns (Superficial)
First-degree burns are the least severe classification you can get. This burn only impacts the outer layer of skin or the epidermis. The burn site will turn red, dry, and painful, but it won’t form blisters. One example of a first-degree burn is a sunburn. It’s very rare to have long-term damage to your tissue, but you may see a decrease or increase in your skin color at the burn site.
Second-Degree Burns (Partial Thickness)
Second-degree burns go slightly deeper and impact the epidermis and a small part of your dermis skin layer. The burn site will look blistered and red and can be painful and swollen.
Third-Degree Burn (Full Thickness)
This burn is more severe and will destroy both the epidermis and dermis layers of your skin. In addition, third-degree burns can be severe enough to negatively impact the underlying muscles, bones, and tendons at the burn site.
Fourth-Degree Burn (Thermal or Scalding)
When you have a burn that is so severe that it burns your tendons, muscles, or bones, this is a fourth-degree burn injury. The burn site will be charred or white. With the nerve endings destroyed, you won’t have any feeling in this area.
Burns that are more extensive or severe require specialized treatment regimens. To determine the outlook of a burn injury, you have to factor in how vast the burned area is and the victim’s age. Many people end up in a specialized burn center for treatment if they meet the following criteria:
- Burn patients who have existing chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis
- Burns to the feet, hands, face, genital area, or groin, or any burns that wrap around a portion of the body
- Burns with an inhalation injury that impacts the lungs or airway
- Chemical burns or electrical injuries
- Second-degree burns over 10% or more of their body surface area
- Suspected elder or child abuse
- Third-degree burns at any age
Were Your Burns the Result of Someone Else’s Negligence?
Did you do something to cause your burns while working at your home in Glastonbury, or was it someone else’s negligence? There are many causes for burn injuries, and if someone else was at fault, you want to retain a burn injury lawyer to help build your case. According to the National Library of Medicine A few common burn causes include but are not limited to:
- Fire or flame contact. Roughly 43% of all burns in the United States come from contact with fire or flames.
- Scalding from hot liquids or steam. Scald-type burns make up the second largest category, with 34% of all burns falling into this category.
- Touching hot objects. Accidentally touching hot objects and burning yourself or being burned causes 9% of all burn injuries.
- Electrical burns. Electrical burns are less common, and they make up 4% of all reported burn injuries in the United States.
- Chemical burns. Finally, chemical burns round out the list and are responsible for 3% of the burns reported in a year.
Do I Have a Burn Injury Lawsuit?
For various reasons, you can file a lawsuit with a personal injury attorney in Simsbury and Hartford, CT. In legal speak, you’ll hear this called grounds to file. Grounds for a case can be anything from intellectual property rights disagreements to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Usually, you file a lawsuit for damage, which could be financial or physical. For example, you could file a lawsuit against a property owner if you were hurt while on the property, or you can sue to recoup your money if you were the victim of a scam. However, if you are a burn victim and want compensation, it can be challenging to figure out the grounds for filing a lawsuit. Depending on how and where you got your burns, your foundations to file a case could be one of the following:
Assault Lawsuits and Burns
Maybe someone meant to hurt you, and they burned you. In the civil court system, you can file a lawsuit against anyone who tries to hurt you for tort. In Connecticut, you can win the case if you can prove to the judge that there was a minimum of a 51% chance that the defendant meant to hurt you.
Premises Liability and Burns
You can file a liability premises liability lawsuit when you are on someone else’s property and hurt. Slip and fall lawsuits are a great example of premises liability cases where the plaintiff will sue the defendant for creating an unsafe environment. The key to building this case is dangerous environments.
So, to file this lawsuit in Hartford County, the property owner’s negligence had to cause your burn injury directly. So, for example, if you were in a store and exposed to a hot plate, you could sue the manager or owner for any burns sustained by contact with this hot plate.
Inside a private residence, you can file a lawsuit against the homeowner for a burn injury. This is slightly more complicated because homeowners don’t have to take meticulous care of visitors. However, they are responsible for informing you of any home dangers. For example, if you got burned on the stove but you were cooking and reached for the wrong item and burned yourself, you’d have a hard time claiming that the homeowner’s negligence caused the burn. However, if the same stove spit flames and burned you and the homeowner didn’t warn you, they could be the reason for your injuries.
Defective Products and Burns
Sometimes, it’s a product that causes your burns instead of another person. When a product malfunction causes your burns, you could have grounds to file a product defect lawsuit. However, you have to prove one of the three following:
- Design defect
- Improper labeling
- Manufacturer error
A design defect directly results from the product’s engineering and development processes. Every product in the line will have the same defect because the design was incorrect. It works as the company claims, but there was an oversight regarding how the design flaw could cause an injury. For example, a motorcycle has an engine that protrudes too far, and this can cause the riders to burn their legs as they ride it.
When any consumer buys a product, they have the reasonable expectation that the product won’t cause injuries. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure no improper labeling. For example, there is a lighter brand that gets far too hot when you use it for a longer period. The consumers wouldn’t expect to burn themselves by holding on to it, so the company has to label that handle to warn users that it heats up with prolonged use. If they don’t, you have grounds for a product defect lawsuit.
Finally, manufacturer error is when the company doesn’t make the product correctly. They may have put the pieces together poorly or had a product that didn’t work. For example, last year, electric cars outfitted with LG Chem batteries caught fire, sparking a recall. There was a defect with the batteries that caused overheating. This is an excellent example of an error on the manufacturer’s part. While no one meant for them to overheat and catch fire, the company built them incorrectly.
Examples of Burn Injury Cases
One example of a product liability burn injury case involved a 19-year-old man. He filed charges against the clothing manufacturer after the clothing he was wearing caught fire in a dirt bike accident, resulting in extensive burns. The plaintiff claimed that the clothing wasn’t fire-retardant, and he won his case, and the manufacturer awarded him $41.5 million.
For negligence, a woman filed a lawsuit against Starbucks when a scalding cup of coffee fell on her foot, causing burns. She won her case, and Starbucks paid her $310,000 in damages.
In another burn injury case, a man filed a lawsuit against AAA after an accident involving a tow truck AAA commissioned. The tow truck crashed into the plaintiff’s vehicle, which burst into flames. As a result, the man ended up with burns on 58% of his body and won $31.25 million for damages.
Liability and Proving Negligence in a Burn Injury Claim
With lawsuits regarding personal injuries, like burns, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant is responsible for the injuries. To do so, your burn injury lawsuit has to show the following negligence elements:
The Connecticut catastrophic injury lawyer has to prove that the defendant has an obligation or legal duty to the plaintiff. For example, an inspector is responsible for ensuring that a piece of equipment meets state or municipality safety standards.
Defendant Breached Their Legal Duty
The lawsuit has to show how the defendant breached their legal duty to the plaintiff through inaction or negligent actions. For example, let’s say that the inspector didn’t check that a piece of equipment met safety standards, and you got hurt. This means that they breached their legal duty.
Breach of Duty Caused the Accident
You have to prove that the breach of duty was the leading cause of the accident and your burns. For example, the inspector skipping the equipment and claiming it met safety standards when it fell short led to the accident. In turn, this caused your burns.
For the courts to award you compensation, you have to prove that you suffered harm in one way or another. The accident must have caused this harm, and you must prove that you had losses. So, if the accident caused your burns, this demonstrates harm.
In many cases, neither side can agree on who caused the accident and how much. Connecticut’s modified comparative fault rule follows the 51% bar rule. So, you won’t be entitled to compensation if you’re at or above 51% at fault for the accident. If the defendant is at greater fault, any payment will get reduced by the percentage the court finds the plaintiff at fault for the accident. For example, say the court awards you $100,000 in damages for your burn injuries, but they also find you 30% at fault for the accident. You’ll get $70,000 as a result.
I Was Seriously Burned. What Type of Settlement Can I Expect?
Filing a burn injury claim can be daunting. You may wonder how much compensation you can get, but there isn’t a simple answer to this question. Generally, there are two main losses that the legal system can award you:
- Punitive damages. These damages work to penalize the defendant for negligent behavior. In a burn case, these damages can be severe because someone’s negligence caused it.
- Compensatory damages. These damages work to compensate you as the burn victim for medical bills, pain and suffering, or permanent disability.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is an injury that results in the loss of a limb, paralysis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, brain injury, or total disability. Any accident victim who sustained severe injuries that changed their lives permanently usually has significant medical bills, lost wages, and financial instability. If you sustain a burn injury that is severe enough to negatively impact how you function daily, it’s catastrophic.
If you sustained a catastrophic injury, it’s best to enlist the help of a catastrophic injury lawyer to help win your case and get you the compensation you deserve. They have the experience to help you navigate the legal system with the least stress possible.
Hartford County Burn Injury Law Firm
If you’re looking for a dedicated and experienced burn injury attorney in Glastonbury, Simsbury, and Hartford, CT, contact our Hartford County injury law firm for help. Our clients have trusted our team for years to help them achieve the best outcomes possible for their burn injury lawsuits.