From hot water scalds to full-fledged fires caused by faulty manufacturing, the threat of injury from burns exists daily. While adhering to burn safety strategies and preventative measures may keep us safe from some burn injuries, many accidents that result in burn injury occur as the result of forces beyond our control. In honor of Burn Injury Awareness Week, we are sharing some Frequently Asked Questions about burn injuries:
FAQ’s Burn Injuries:
What is a burn injury?
A burn injury is defined as damage made to the muscle, tissue, bones, and skin. Burn injuries are typically caused by thermal burns, chemical burns, light burns, or radiation. Thermal burns include those burns caused by scalding water, exposure to flames, and intense heat. Chemical burns refer to injuries caused by contact with harmful chemical substances such as acids and alkaline. Light burns are caused by sunlight or ultraviolet light, and radiation burns are caused by exposure to nuclear radiation.
What do the degrees associated with burn injuries mean?
The severity of the burn injury is measured by degrees with three distinct classifications. First-degree burns, characterized by reddened or peeling skin, are the least severe and can heal quickly in just a few weeks. Second-degree burns denote damage on both the epidermis and dermis of the skin, such as blisters. Finally, the most severe degree of burn injuries are third-degree burns, which includes damage to all layers of the skin and are long-term, even causing nerve damage and permanent disfigurement.
Who can be sued for a burn injury?
This depends upon the facts of the particular accident. Sometimes the manufacturers of products are responsible for faulty designs that cause the injury. A person who misuses chemical substances resulting in a burn injury may also be sued. Determining liability for your burn injury actually depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Once all the details surrounding the accident are presented in court, a judge or jury is tasked with deciding if the burn injury was foreseeable and could have been prevented with a different course of action.
How is a settlement determined in the case of a burn injury?
As a specific type of personal injury, burn injury settlements are most frequently impacted by the severity of the injury, the intentions of the person who caused the burn (the defendant), and the extent to which the person responsible for causing the injury can pay a settlement. With immense pain and permanent scarring, the most typical results of burn injuries, these cases tend to warrant higher settlement values.
How do punitive damages figure in to burn injury cases?
If the defendant acted intentionally or with extreme negligence (referred to as “gross negligence” in legal terms), the burn victim (the plaintiff) may also be able to receive punitive damages.
Punitive damages exist to punish a defendant that acted in a reprehensible manner. Essentially, these types of damages come into play when the jury determines that the defendant needs to feel an additional “sting” by having to pay higher amounts. A defendant that intentionally burned a plaintiff is almost guaranteed to pay punitive damages.
Gross negligence may also result in punitive damages. An example of gross negligence is a product manufacturer not conducting any flammability testing on a product, even though the product was sold to be used in situations that could involve exposure to flame.
What about compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering?
Because burn injuries in particular can be excruciatingly painful and can lead to permanent, severe disfigurement, additional compensation for physical/emotional pain and suffering are often awarded to plaintiffs suffering these types of grievances.
The personal injury attorneys at Heninger Garrison Davis understand that burn injuries can come with a litany of both physical and emotional complications—ranging from embarrassment to the inability to work, severe bodily pain to daily discomfort, and various responses in between. Our team of skilled, compassionate lawyers seek to help you achieve retribution for the injuries you’ve suffered and are willing to assist you in the process of bringing those responsible for your pain and suffering to justice. We offer FREE case evaluations and never receive any payment unless you win your case. Click here now for more information.