If you have been burned due to someone else’s negligence and are considering a lawsuit, the sooner you act, the better your chances of maximizing financial recovery.
The emotional and psychological toll of a severe burn injury demands expensive long-term treatments that come with price tags no one is prepared to accommodate on their own.
A burn injury is one of the most painful and traumatic events one can suffer. The aftermath of a serious burn injury is a confusing time, one that is clouded with pain and uncertainty as to what the future holds.
Not only do these injuries cause the victim excruciating pain, they often pose lifelong effects that include scarring and skin grafting surgeries.
We understand your feeling of not knowing where to start, of being overwhelmed by possibilities and feeling a million miles behind everyone else.
Unfortunately, victims of burn injuries often don’t realize the extent of their injuries until much later, and never contact a burn injury attorney to get their proper compensation.
Those overwhelming confusion and other feelings you’re having are a result of the sheer volume of advice given, much of it contradictory. Well-meaning family and friends are not really familiar with personal injury matters, and are not burn injury specialists. They have not been through it many times, and they don’t know what to expect. A burn injury attorney does.
We thought it would help our clients and prospective clients to know exactly what to do when faced with a burn of any kind.
Kuzyk Law is here to help. Our burn injury attorneys have vast experience in this specific type of personal injury case.
This guide is intended to answer all the necessary questions you must ask to successfully carry out a burn injury lawsuit so you can recover your medical bills, the cost of future treatment, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering. Read on and we’ll tell you:
- What burn injuries can really mean
- What to expect in a lawsuit
- What to look for in a burn injury lawyer
- What you can do to help your own case
- How to get started
Keep our number on hand to make that all-important call today:
What is a Burn Injury?
According to the American Burn Association, 450,000 people are injured by burns and 3,400 die from their burn injuries every year.
This type of injury is one of the most traumatic imaginable, as victims will often live the rest of their lives treating their physical and emotional scars.
A burn is an injury occurring when the skin comes in contact either with something hot or with a corrosive substance. When this happens, skin is damaged, resulting in the death of skin cells. Burns can come from heat, chemicals, radiation, electricity or sunlight.
The severity of the injury varies with the intensity of the heat and the length of time it is in contact with the source.
The most commonplace causes of burns include scalding from hot liquids, hot steam, campfires, as well as flammable gases and liquids. Inhalation damage to the lungs, caused by inhaling smoke, is also common.
Southern California is home to numerous wildfires each year, and the smoke that you breathe in can really do a lot of damage.
A burn can cause your skin to swell, blister, scar, and, in the worst cases, cause shock or death.
Classified by depth, there are various degrees of burns:
- A first degree burn causes superficial redness with no blistering, and requires little treatment beyond ice application and creams.
- A second degree burn can lead to infections due to the extensive damage to the protective barrier of your skin.
- A third degree burn, characterized by deep tissue damage, requires advanced wound treatment that may include skin grafts and potential physical therapy.
- A fourth degree or above results in very deep damage to the skin, tendons, joints, muscle and bone.
The treatment you receive for your burn will depend on the cause, extent of damage, its depth and the proportion of your body that is covered in burns.
You should absolutely seek medical attention for second degree burns and beyond, and do so immediately for the best chances of the wound healing properly. Delaying treatment can lead to further complications or the worsening of symptoms.
And, call Kuzyk Law at 661-945-6969 for a free, no obligation consultation. We can help you determine if you have a case against another party who either deliberately or inadvertently caused your injuries. Always remember, burn injuries cost much more money than you’d expect, so don’t let the responsible party and their insurance company place the burden on you.
How Burn Injuries Affect People
The physical and emotional scars resulting from the accident can take years or even life-long treatment and counseling to properly address. Even then, victims may be permanently disfigured, all due to the negligence, oversight or outright malice of another. Victims must live with a painful and permanent reminder of the tragic accident that caused their injuries.
Whether your burn came as the result of a workplace accident, car accident or explosion, you are entitled to compensation. That compensation is not limited to hospital bills and scars; you could be entitled to compensation for hospital treatments, ongoing rehabilitation, surgeries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Damaging effects of burns include:
- Permanent scarring due to skin tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Disfigurement and cosmetic deformities
- Multiple reconstructive and restorative surgeries
- Loss of limbs due to injury-related amputation
- Inability to grow new skin
- Oversensitivity to heat, cold or sunlight
- Lifelong emotional and psychological trauma
- Debilitating fear and emotional suffering
- Large, ongoing medical expenses
All of these effects carry grave consequences that go beyond the physical and emotional realm and into the financial. On top of trying to heal properly, victims often have to contend with huge medical and therapy bills that keep showing up in the mailbox for years.
Burns are among the most expensive to treat, costing nearly twice that of a standard hospital stay. Average costs can start at a few thousand dollars for the best case scenarios, and skyrocket up to tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for the worst.
Losing your job due to your injuries compounds the stress of trying to manage your family’s regular bills, let alone all those medical bills coming in. The numbers add up – much more quickly than you’d imagine.
Fighting for the proper compensation (and by “proper” we mean more than the insurance company is willing to appease you with) now rather than later is of paramount importance. The longer the delay, the greater the chance evidence will disappear, witness will become unavailable or other factors will occur that adversely affect your case.
One more thing to keep in mind: not all burn injuries and their affects are immediately apparent. You may assume the burn will be fine if you just keep it covered or slather it with ointment. However, as time goes on, symptoms often worsen. All too quickly, what you initially perceived as a mild injury takes on a more serious tone, requiring visits to specialists for care. Infection often results from attempted self-care, which in itself can be extremely serious if left alone.
Make that call right away, even if the full extent of the injury is not immediately obvious.
Click to Call Kuzyk Law: (661) 945-6969
Time is also of the essence because the statute of limitations doesn’t last forever (more on that later…)
What to Expect with a Burn Injury Lawsuit
As you contemplate filing a lawsuit, you may wonder how long the process will take and how much you can claim. The short answer is: it depends on the extent and type of your injury, prognosis, and future medical needs predicted by your team of doctors.
The outcome of your case will also depend heavily on how quickly you sought medical attention, and how well documented your injury is. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention right after the injury, no matter how mild you think it is at first.
Make sure quality photos are taken of your injuries, and that you obtain and preserve all physical evidence relating to your injury.
In addition, take detailed notes about the accident itself, and be sure to follow your doctor’s orders for treatment and recovery. Make sure you have the names and contact information of any potential witnesses, and if there is any chance that video evidence may exist from video cameras near the scene of the incident or accident, it is critical that you have a lawyer contact them to preserve that critical evidence.
Your cooperation and dedication to your own case will help move things along more promptly. It also helps if you have a team of lawyers behind you that specializes in burn injuries and knows how to properly handle such a case effectively and as quickly as possible. You can expect Kuzyk Law to fight for monetary damages to cover your hospital bills and other economic losses, payment of legal fees and court costs, and injunctions that require a defendant to switch methods and enforce standards.
In a typical burn injury lawsuit, there are a number of factors that can impact how long your case will take, including:
- The willingness of the defendants and their insurance companies to negotiate for a reasonable and fair settlement.
- The rules and procedures as part of the litigation process regarding filing dates, etc.
- The amount of discovery and depositions that must take place.
- The recovery status of the victim.
In general, it’s all the red tape that takes so long, often delaying the successful conclusion to a case. It typically takes up to a year or two—or more when a courtroom battle is concerned.
Further adding to the delay is a defendant that denies all liability at the outset, which is frequently the case. If, however, the evidence becomes clear and points to the liability of the defendant early on, that defendant may be advised by his or her attorney to settle. The time it takes to enter into a meaningful settlement negotiation can take months or even a year or more to come to fruition.
It may seem like a long and convoluted process at first, but trust us: we know how to expedite all phases of this process to ensure a prompt resolution as best we can.
How much you can claim will depend greatly on the manner and extent of your injuries.
For a free consultation and a ballpark estimate of what kind of claim you could expect, call Kuzyk Law today at 661-945-6969!
Hiring a Burn Injury Attorney: What Should You Look For?
Finding a personal injury lawyer can seem daunting at first. After all, there are a lot of us out there.
However, when you start to drill down into the experience of each law firm you’re considering, you’ll soon see what separates the good from the exceptional. There are certain attributes that give clients the highest chances of success. Let’s take a deeper look into each of them:
- Experience: Experience is what forms the foundation of success. Someone with a year or two in business as opposed to someone with decades in the industry can make all the difference. Founded in 1971, Kuzyk Law certainly has experience on our side.
- Client satisfaction: Client testimonials are critical in deciding whether a particular law firm is right for you. A law firm with a good track record of pleasing clients, not just with verdicts and settlements but with friendly, 24/7 service, is desirable.
- Efficiency of processes: Choose a lawyer who knows the process backwards and forwards. Here at Kuzyk Law, we know how to investigate claims, challenge witness statements, collaborate with your doctors and make determinations as to who is liable. We keep pushing to ensure a quick resolution to your case to the best of our ability.
- History of court/settlement victories: Look at the firm’s track record of success both in the courtroom and in settlements. You want someone who will work hard to obtain the maximum recovery for their clients. Kuzyk Law has settled more than 100,000 cases successfully and has helped recover more than $900 million on behalf of our injured clients since 1971.
- Areas of focus: Look not only for a personal injury lawyer but one who specializes in burn injuries. Ideally, you want an attorney who deals with burn injury cases every day for the most focused attention and experience.
How Can I Help my Case?
As we mentioned before, seeking immediate medical attention and gathering all necessary evidence to prove your case is essential. Did you know you can help your own case? You can do so by staying involved in the progress while helping your burn injury lawyer obtain crucial documentation that can affect the outcome.
Here are some tips:
- Take photos of the scene (if applicable) as well as your burn injury. Take video if you can.
- Gather witness contact information, and take note of any businesses that may have video cameras that captured critical video evidence of the incident.
- Save all medication bottles, casts, braces and any other items from your doctor.
- Save all receipts that show expenses as a result of your burn. File by date.
- Call Kuzyk Law immediately to get the facts down on paper.
- Inform us of anything you think bears weight on your case, including any medical treatment or hospitalization, or anything that causes pain. Don’t assume that pain or injury was or was not caused by the accident…that is your doctor’s job.
- Save any and all documents you receive pertaining to your accident.
- Save bills you receive for medical treatment pertaining to your accident.
Anything that you think can be beneficial to your case…save it!
When to Start a Burn Injury Lawsuit
The short answer is: immediately. As soon as possible.
The statute of limitations in California is two years from the date of the incident, which is not nearly as much time as it sounds like. When dealing with this kind of stressful affair, time flies fast. So when the required deadline passes, you no longer have a viable legal claim for compensation for your burn injuries. By that time, the bills are already piling up and you have no way to pay them. In addition, evidence and witnesses can disappear with time; it is critical to have an attorney evaluate evidence and potential witnesses, and preserve this evidence.
That’s why you need to cover all your bases – call Kuzyk Law right away!
Remember, get medical attention as soon as possible following a burn. Injuries from electrical burns and workplace accidents to explosions and chemical burns require immediate treatment.
If your loved one is a victim and doesn’t think they need medical attention, be the one to urge them to seek out a doctor right away. The old adage “it’s better to be safe than sorry” rings true here – not just for your peace of mind, but for your financial future.
Don’t be swayed by the empty promises of the insurance companies who claim they have your best interests at heart. They absolutely do not; they want to preserve their profits by paying out as little as possible for any claim. By contrast, we do have your best interests at heart, and will fight for every dime you are entitled to.
No one should be left responsible for paying out thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for an incident that was not their fault. No one should be literally forced into bankruptcy and lose their home and assets due to huge unpaid medical bills, when it is not their fault. By forging ahead swiftly and comprehensively, together we can ensure you and your family are taken care of financially for the years ahead.
Call Kuzyk Law now for a free initial consultation to discuss your burn injury case at 661-945-6969. With offices in Lancaster and all over Southern California, our personal injury law firm is here for you 24/7 with a staff of more than 40, many of whom are bilingual for your convenience.
Can’t come to us? We’ll come to you! The main objective here is to get your case documented quickly and accurately.