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Burn injuries can be excruciating, requiring extensive treatment. A Burn can leave permanent scars, and if it covers a large portion of your skin, it can be life-threatening. At some point, everyone will suffer a burn.
If you suffer a burn that leaves you in tremendous pain, causes significant scarring, and leads to a permanent disability, it can change the course of your life. When a severe burn was not caused by you but by a mechanical malfunction, defective product, or negligence, it can cause stress and take a physical and financial toll.
If you suffer a burn injury at work, you’re entitled to receive worker’s compensation for your injury. You're eligible for coverage of your medical bills, lost wages, and other costs even if the injury was your fault.
If the injury was caused by a defective product, chemicals, or machinery, you might have a claim against the manufacturer. If a vendor or subcontractor caused the burn, you might have a claim against their employer as well.
Burns are classified into three separate categories, each with varying degrees of seriousness.
Many types of accidents can cause a burn. When hot liquid escapes suddenly from a pan, pipe, or other location and comes in contact with your skin, you could be scalded. The electrical voltage from housing wires or overhead electrical cables can also cause burns. Thermal burns occur when you are exposed to fire, such as in a car accident or building fire. X-rays, radiation from medical treatment, or tanning beds can cause what is known as radiation burns. You can also suffer burns inside your body by inhaling smoke, steam, or toxic fumes.
Burn treatments depend on the degree of the burn. First-degree burns are treated with over-the-counter creams and medications. If the burn is severe, you may want to cover it with a dry gauze bandage to prevent infection. Second-degree burns may require prescription pain medication and additional treatments, depending on the size and location of the injury. Third-degree burns often require hospitalization.
A skin-graft requires a doctor to remove the skin from another area of the body or use synthetic skin to cover the burn. Intensive intravenous treatment, including antibiotics and pain medications, may be required to treat a severe burn. Fluids may be necessary to replace those lost after the burn. Often, severe burns must undergo painful cleansing to remove dead skin to promote healing. Pain from a burn can be intense and is often difficult to control.
The first thing to do after a burn is to seek medical attention, even if the burn seems minor. This is especially important if you are burned at work or due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness. If you suffer disfigurement or permanent scarring because of someone's negligence, you may be eligible for a personal injury claim.
Four criteria must be met before a personal injury claim can be filed. The person who caused your injury must have owed you a duty of care, and that duty must have been breached. For example, if a dangerous chemical spilled because the person handling the product forgot to put the lid on tightly, they breached their duty of care.
The next criteria require that you must have been injured due to that breach of care. If you did not suffer a burn due to the chemical spill, you might not have a case.
Finally, you must suffer financial loss, significant physical pain, or disfigurement as a result of the burn. In a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, pain, and suffering. This may include mental anguish as burns can be mentally traumatic, mainly if they cause significant disfigurement.
Burns can be severe, especially third-degree burns, and they can lead to death. If a loved one died after an injury from a burn, you might be entitled to a wrongful death claim. This claim can be filed on behalf of your loved one, claiming payment for their medical treatment, lost wages as well as pain and suffering.
A secondary claim may also be filed for those they left behind, claiming loss of consortium, loss of companionship, loss of future earnings, emotional distress, and more.
The amount of damages you may recover after a burn depends on many factors. Your burn injury attorney will review with you how severe the injury was, what your medical costs were, and how the injury will impact you in the future. Your future earnings may also be a factor in the compensation you could receive in a personal injury claim. If your burn is particularly disfiguring, it could increase the amount offered in an injury claim as well.