Serious burn injuries come with long periods of recovery, which can be both painful and expensive. Even after your burn, you may not realize how bad the injury is and how long it will take to recover. You may even take an early settlement from the insurance company in order to move on and start paying bills. However, as is often the case, these settlements may not reflect the full and fair compensation you need. Before agreeing to a low settlement after your burn injury, read on to learn what you should know going forward. You can take the right first step by hiring a burn injury attorney.
How Burn Injury Claims Usually Work
After a burn injury, the insurance company will likely contact you by offering a preliminary settlement. This is done not out of concern for you but rather to push the claim through quickly in the hopes you will take what they offer and not file a lawsuit. They know that once you hire a lawyer, their chances drastically go down in terms of getting you to agree to a lowball offer. Taking this initial settlement offer without speaking to a burn injury lawyer could mean you won’t get the compensation necessary to adequately handle your losses from the injury.
Not all burns warrant a legal fight, mind you. However, if you have suffered a serious burn, you should always err on the side of caution and discuss your claim with a personal injury attorney specializing in burn injuries. Severe burns mean you will likely have to go through a complex rehabilitation process that could take multiple surgeries and therapy sessions over many months or years to address. Even your treating physician may not even realize the full extent of your injuries and the treatment required until they get the results of initial therapies. This all takes time. It’s wise to wait until you have as much information as possible until you decide what to accept or not accept. From recovery times to your future quality of life to your ability to return to work should all be considered before making a determination.
Choosing the Right Burn Injury Attorney
This is where the right burn injury lawyer comes in. The one you select will work to get you settlement terms that are fair and more in line with your injuries. Most personal injury cases take place outside the courtroom. From research to discovery to negotiations, many steps have to be taken before a case goes to trial. However, most don’t make it that far. This is a testament to the skill of your lawyers as they try everything in their power to get the insurance company to pay up.
Factors Impacting Burn Injury Settlements
There are many factors that affect your ability to get a higher compensation amount. In essence, there are degrees of burns and the corresponding settlement amounts they can carry. Your attorney, insurance representatives and medical providers will all help determine these factors:
- Extent of the burn injury. Third-degree burns often lead to permanent disfigurement and longer rehabilitation time, while second-degree burns can also affect the entire body as well as the victim’s quality of life and recovery period. Serious burns typically get higher settlement amounts.
- Burn location. Where the burn occurs can also affect payouts. For instance, a facial burn resulting in permanent disfigurement is considered worse than a burn on the arm that does not affect daily functionality in a significant way.
- Defendant intentions. Many burns result from excessive negligence or malicious intent, whereby juries award higher settlements in those cases where someone is to blame, either directly or indirectly. For example, they will typically award more in liability cases involving product manufacturing companies or doctors.
- In cases that involve malicious intent or serious negligence, a jury may award punitive damages on top of full compensatory damages. (Note, these cases often have to head to court in order for the victim to receive punitive compensation.)
- The plaintiff’s emotional pain. Aside from the physical symptoms of a burn injury, emotional trauma can also factor into the total compensation amount. Juries will be more sympathetic if the plaintiff has developed depression, anxiety or a severe decrease in self-confidence as a result of the injury.
Every burn injury case is different, which is why you should speak with a burn injury attorney to explore your legal rights.
Contact Kuzyk Law
If you have been the victim of a burn, it’s time to call Kuzyk Law for secure representation at 661-945-6969. We can give you a free initial consultation to discuss your case.