Who is liable for burn injuries from a serious accident?
A burn injury is one of the most serious types of injuries you can suffer in an accident. Along with the initial pain, the treatment and recovery period can take months of continuous work, often leaving disfiguring scars.
If you or a loved one suffered burn injuries in a serious accident, you might have a right to claim damages from the liable party. Call the Law Offices of Jason Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804 for a free consultation to discuss your rights to file an injury claim.
What types of accidents cause burn injuries and who might be liable?
Because vehicles carry highly flammable gasoline on board, there is a risk of fire and/or explosions during a car accident.
If another driver caused your accident, that person is likely your liable party.
Motorcyclists are at risk for a special type of burn called road rash, where the skin scrapes off when it meets the pavement.
Whoever caused your accident is likely the party liable for your road rash. However, you can also be liable for your own road rash if you neglected to wear proper safety gear.
Many surgeries now use radiation, lasers, and other heat sources, all of which can cause burn damage if your doctor or another member of the surgical team makes an error.
Scalding Liquids and Steam
From improperly adjusted water heaters to burst pipes, scalding liquids, and steam can cause burns just as easily as flames and hot objects.
Plumbers can be liable for improperly adjusted water heaters; landlords or tenants might be liable for burst pipes; and whoever pours hot water on another person can be liable (e.g., if you went to a diner and the server poured hot coffee on you, the restaurant will likely be liable).
Construction or Industrial Accidents
Construction workers or industrial workers are at risk for many types of burn injuries from electrical hazards, welding equipment, furnaces, and certain machinery to name just a few.
Liability in this case can be more complex. Another contractor, an employer, a manufacturer, or electrician could all be liable for your injuries.
Space heaters are notorious products for malfunctioning and causing burn and fire hazards. Other consumer products like curling irons and laptops can overheat or have poor insulation due to defective designs.
Manufacturers, designers, or sellers can all be liable.
What are the types of burn injuries?
There are three types of burn injuries, classified as follows.
First-degree burns only damage the outer layer of skin. They can cause tenderness, redness, and make the area warm to the touch. You can typically treat this type of burn with home care.
Second-degree burns damage the outer layer of skin, as well as the layer of skin underneath. This type of burn will produce more visible signs of damage, such as blistering.
You should receive treatment from a medical professional to reduce the risk of scarring and infection.
Third- and Fourth-Degree Burns
The most severe type of burn injury, third- and fourth-degree burns destroy or damage the deepest layers of skin and the tissues below.
Hospitalization is required to care for this degree of burn. Recovery can take months for large areas and patients may require skin grafts to repair the damage.
What are the short- and long-term effects of burn injuries?
Recovery time from a burn injury can range from a few days to several months for third- and fourth-degree burns. Over the long-term, patients with severe burns can face the risk of permanent nerve damage, disfigurement, and infection. Many burn victims develop depression or lower quality of life due to disfigurement and trauma from the accident.
Fortunately, a personal injury claim can compensate you for the medical treatments and long-term effects of a burn injury. Before you file a claim, you should have your Atlanta personal injury lawyer evaluate the circumstances surrounding your accident to determine the damages you may be entitled to claim.
What types of damages might apply to a burn injury claim?
The damages you are entitled to include any expenses or losses you incurred due to the accident. Some common damages for burn injury claims include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Long-term medical care
If your burns prevent you from ever returning to work or have a significant impact on your quality of life, your lawyer can argue for a higher settlement to compensate for those damages.
What do I need to establish a burn injury claim?
To pursue damages after a burn injury in Georgia, you will have to file a claim with the responsible insurer. Before filing your claim, you should gather evidence that helps prove the injuries you have suffered. You can do this by taking photographs of your burn injury, keeping a pain journal, and saving bills and receipts that document any medical care, necessary medical devices, and other expenses related to your injury.
Once you file your injury claim, an insurance adjuster will estimate the value of the damages. Oftentimes, an adjuster will underestimate the value of a claim.
If an insurance adjuster underestimates the value of your claim, Jason Schultz can and will negotiate with the insurer. If these negotiations fail, and your insurer refuses to give you the money that you deserve, then you may choose to pursue damages in a formal court of law.
If you choose to take your case to court, our team will represent you and ensure the legal system upholds your best interests.
In order to win your case in court, your attorney must:
- Show that you were the victim of someone else's negligence
- Show that you suffered damages as a result of that negligence
- Show the value of the damages that you suffered in the accident
To show these things, Jason will interview witnesses, submit the testimonies of experts, and present any evidence that supports your burn injury claim.
Find the Legal Help You Need after a Burn Injury
A burn injury can leave a victim with tremendous medical expenses. If another party caused your injury, you have the right to hold him/her accountable.
But you should not do it alone. Jason Schultz will help you navigate through the claims process and represent you each step of the way. Call today to schedule a free consultation: 404-474-0804.