Child Burn Injuries: Proving Liability & Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Burn injuries are expensive. The average child burn injury that requires admission to a burn unit costs over $22,000 in medical bills. Add to this the cost of multiple surgeries and skin grafts and the damages can be astronomical. Few parents have the financial wherewithal to pay these expenses out of pocket. If someone else was at fault in causing the child's burn injury, the parents should be able to recover damages from the negligent person.
Getting fair compensation for medical bills and other damages is important, especially in cases of child injuries. Burns can permanently damage extensive areas of skin, as well as muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and internal organs. When a child experiences a severe burn, it can be even worse than in an adult. Since the child has not achieved his full adult size, burns covering five percent of a child's body could end up covering a larger area by the time the child is done growing.
Because scar tissue is tough and inflexible, it may not stretch well as the child grows, unlike healthy skin and tissue. As a result, the child may require scar revision treatment or skin grafts.
Thus, ensuring you recover fair and adequate compensation to pay for treatment and account for various financial, physical, and emotional damages is vital. First, you must identify the liable party or parties, which attorney Jason Schultz can help you do. To speak with our legal team, call 404-474-0804.
Who Is Liable for a Child’s Burn Injury?
We will explore three issues when investigating whether another party’s liability insurance will pay for the burn injuries your child suffered.
1. Was the party negligent?
Did the party do something negligent that caused the injury to your child? Negligence requires that someone fails to exercise due care for the circumstances. For example, if your child attends a summer camp that offers hands-on science demonstrations, the summer camp has a duty to exercise due care with the equipment to protect the children from harm.
If a staff member accidentally left a flame burner on with unsupervised children nearby and a child suffers a burn, the summer camp may be responsible for the damages. On the other hand, if the staff member was exercising proper vigilance, but some defective equipment burned a child, the manufacturer and seller of the equipment may be liable.
2. Did the party owe your child a duty of care?
For a party to be liable for your child’s injuries, the party must owe your child a duty of care. For example, the summer camp owes children who attend a duty to exercise diligence in supervising the children and should not expose them to harm.
3. Does the party have insurance that will cover your child's damages?
If your child suffered burns as a direct result of a defective appliance, and the manufacturer and seller of that item went out of business 20 years ago, your child may have a valid claim but no way to collect on it.
It pays to be creative when thinking of sources for compensation for your child's injuries. For example, if your child suffers burns in a car accident, you might be able to get compensation from:
- The at-fault driver’s automobile insurance.
- The car manufacturer or a parts manufacturer, if the vehicle was defective and caused the accident.
- An agency responsible for upkeep of a road, if the road was defective and caused the accident.
- Optional coverage on your automobile insurance policy, such as medical payments coverage and uninsured or underinsured coverage.
- Your health insurance might also provide some coverage, although many policies specifically exclude coverage for automobile accidents.
Parents whose child suffered serious burn injuries should consult a lawyer who can review the circumstances of the accident and explore all avenues through which they may collect compensation for damages.
Where Do Child Burns Happen and Who Is Liable?
The vast majority of burns suffered by children happen in residential home fires. This does not mean that you necessarily have to bear the entire expense of your child's treatments on your own shoulders. Even though your child may have been burned at home, other parties may be liable for your child's damages if the cause of the child's burdens was:
- A defective product
- An electrical device malfunction
- Improper wiring
- Multifamily housing that failed to contain working smoke detectors and satisfactory means of exiting the building
Children spend a lot of time at school, at daycare, and at community events. When a child suffers a severe burn at one of these or other locations, your lawyer can analyze the case to identify liable parties.
Children can suffer chemical burns from explosions, fireworks, and caustic materials. When a child suffers chemical burns, we first consider how and where your child came in contact with those substances to identify liability.
If your child suffered burns because of an explosion, who caused the explosion? If your child experienced injuries from fireworks at a community event, we will explore whether the fireworks company followed all safety rules.
What Damages Can a Child Recover for Severe Burns?
Your child's damages may include medical expenses, including hospitalization, burn unit, rehabilitation center, medications, treatment for infections, skin grafts, other surgeries, compression garments, splints, dressings, and specialized garments. Also, your child's damages should take into account the expenses, trauma, and pain and suffering of future medical treatments and surgeries.
Since burn injuries are painful, it is appropriate for your child to receive damages for pain and suffering. If your child has any long-term physical impairment or disabilities as a result of the burn injuries, your claim may also account for these damages. Your child may also recover compensation for the psychological trauma and emotional distress of experiencing a severe burn and enduring the lifelong aftermath of scarring and disfigurement.
The claim may also seek punitive damages if the actions of the negligent party were egregious or if the party acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others.
If your child suffered burn injuries due to another party’s negligence, please let us help your family. Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, today at 404-474-0804, and we will set up your no-obligation consultation at no charge to you.