Burns are some of the most painful injuries a person can sustain. Not only do they hurt in the moment, they cause pain for weeks, months, years or even a lifetime afterwards. The most severe burns require skin grafts which can take multiple surgeries over many years.
Burns can stem from many different origins. Some are thermal in nature, while others are chemical or electrical. Pain associated with burn trauma is of considerable significance to victims long after the initial injury, with associated hospitalizations, surgeries and rehab visits required in the worst cases.
From ongoing inflammation to tissue damage, the effects of such a devastating injury can be overwhelming, far-reaching and progressive. This is why it’s so difficult to predict with any certainty the length of treatment. Thus, burn injuries are the most uncertain, posing long-term physical and emotional scars that demand compensation.
Getting the right legal representation from a trusted burn injury attorney is essential in securing fair compensation. How much you will get will depend on many factors.
Right after the injury, your first thoughts are not likely going to center around documenting the incident. However, thinking ahead about what you will need to provide in terms of sufficient proof to win your claim is wise. The plaintiff will have to show that the defendant owes them a legal duty due to the defendant failing to provide a reasonable standard of care, such as when an employer fails to repair an electrical hazard that later led to an accidental injury. Then the plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent.
To determine the burden of proof, you need to:
Determine duty owed: A person injured by a faulty piece of equipment can claim that the manufacturer of the product owes a duty to consumers to keep them safe. In the event that the equipment leaks or gets too hot, the plaintiff may be able to claim the maker failed to honor the duty owed.
Determine if the accident is direct cause or proximate: Evidence of negligence only goes so far unless the plaintiff can prove the oversight was a direct cause of the injuries received. The defense must show, for example, that the person’s injury was directly caused by a faulty piece of equipment that they should have addressed beforehand.
Look at the injury itself: In order to file a claim, you must have definitive proof there was an injury, and that the injury caused damage. Evidence can include anything from security tapes and photographs to medical records and healthcare bills. If the plaintiff can’t offer up the required evidence, they may not be able to receive compensation. No one will just take your word for it, so always keep detailed records of every encounter.
The Losses You Can Claim
Let’s go over what you can reasonably claim in the event of a burn injury.
These include both current and upcoming, such as surgeries, hospital stays, physical therapy, mental health care and prescriptions.
Emotional Injury, Disfigurement, Loss of Quality of Life
This compensation is designed to cover lifelong issues like disfigurement, depression and chronic pain caused by the injury. You may be compensated for cosmetic surgery and therapy, for example.
If your injury hinders your ability to work, your claim could cover a loss of income. For example, you could be eligible for retraining yourself for entry into a brand new occupation if you can’t fulfill the duties of your former position.
Spouse or Familial Losses
This is awarded when a burn injury is bad enough that it interferes with the relationship you have with your spouse or other family members. One example is if the plaintiff is disabled, requires full-time care or can no longer can work.
How Much Will a Burn Injury Lawyer Get for You?
There is no cut and dried answer across the board, unfortunately. The amount you receive depends on a variety of factors, from the burn severity to the level of documentation about the incident you can provide.
Burns comes with a rating of first, second or third degree. Third is the worst. The burn rating you are assigned will act as the baseline for your claim. Your claim is basically comprised of two parts: general damages (which involves a lump sum for your injury and suffering), and special damages (which covers loss of income, medical expenses, etc.).
It’s wise to:
- Report all accidents immediately to your human resources department or safety officer, 911, etc.
- Make sure this information is in the company’s records. Don’t assume a verbal acknowledgment is enough.
- Go to the doctor right away, even if you don’t feel the injury is serious enough. Remember, a minor burn could cause more problems later. Plus, a doctor’s records could help you corroborate your story down the line.
- Keep your own detailed records, noting any pain and visible symptoms, activities you can no longer take part in, or factors like stress, insomnia or cosmetic issues.
- Keep a record of lost income, taxi or Uber fare for lost ability to drive, and expenses such as hired help you didn’t require before the accident.
Contact Kuzyk Law
Here at Kuzyk Law, our burn injury lawyers will evaluate your case, identify the parties responsible, fully investigate the injury, gather evidence that helps prove your case and file all insurance-related paperwork. In addition, we will handle all depositions, discoveries, motions and a trial if it comes to that. Call us now for your free no-obligation consultation at 661-945-6969.