Liability for Injuries – Who can be held responsible for my injuries?Liability for your injuries, can depend on a number of different factors. Where the injury took place, how it occurred and what steps were taken to avoid injuries. With lodging or hotel fires, the establishment is generally held liable. However, depending on who or what caused the fire, their liability may be limited. When considering who is liable, it is important to know all the facts. Unfortunately, many facts will not be made known until discovery takes place. Discovery allows for your attorney to determine the pertinent facts to your case and to better get an understanding of who is at fault. Depending on the aforementioned issues, liability can be imposed on a number of parties and it is important to clearly understand your rights.
What are the degrees of a burn injury?
Burn injuries have multiple degrees. The most common degree of burn injuries are first-degree through fourth-degree burns. An explanation of each of these injuries are as follows
- First Degree Burns: 1st degree burns from barbeque accidents are common. 1st degree burns are categorized as those having the least amount of penetration through the skin. These are considered the least dangerous or hurtful. First degree burns rarely ever leave scars.
- Second Degree Burns: 2nd degree burns generally cause a greater level of discomfort. Signs of second degree burns include blistering of the skin. This usually happens when the contact with the chemical, heat or other substance penetrates through the skin. Usually those suffering from 2nd degree burns require medical attention. Barbecue defects will likely cause 2nd degree burns or greater. It is important to seek medical attention when suffering from this level of burns.
- Third Degree Burns: 3rd degree burns are those that penetrate through the skin causing serious damage. These types of burns occur from electrocution, or serious prolonged exposure to heat or fire. 3rd degree burns require extensive medical attention and can be life-threatening. These types of injuries often require cosmetic surgery to have them correct.
- Fourth Degree Burns: 4th degree burns penetrate beneath the skin and lead to muscle damage. These types of burns are often life-threatening and if not treated promptly will lead to death. Often times even those who seek timely medical attention die shortly after exposure.
- Fifth Degree Burns: 5th degree burns, are those that penetrate to the bone. These types of burns are fatal and do not leave survivors.
- Sixth Degree Burns: 6th degree burns, much like 5th degree burns are unlikely to leave survivors. Unfortunately these types of injuries are so severe that they leave the body un-identifiable
Compensation for a Burn Injury Claim
Unlike standard injury lawyer who deal with personal injuries, burn injuries are unique. When dealing with a burn injury there are a number of different factors that need to be considered. This includes psychological damage, physical damage to the body, anguish, pain and suffering and life-long injuries.
Due to the nature of burn injuries, you damage may require permanent care and treatment. This is because of the healing process which may require long-term treatment.
It is important to ask your attorney his intentions. Whether he is going to file against the wrongdoer, whether they are willing to fight for your case and what their resources are. Many personal injury attorneys do not have the resources, time, funds, experience or knowledge required to get a large settlement. Rather they are more interested in making a quick settlement. Our firm has the resources which we use to make sure that your injuries are compensated for. It is important that any firm that represents you knows the extent of your injuries and takes the steps needed to help you achieve or procure maximum recovery and treatment.
Average Settlement for Burn Injuries
- Patient in hospital awarded $1 million after their bed caught fire and were burned due to a product design.
- A woman was awarded $4 million for suffering third-degree burns and permanent scarring because she wore a highly flammable skirt.
- A person with a disability was awarded $275,000 for suffering second-degree burns at a hotel. The hotel allowed for their hot water to exceed safe temperatures.
- A man suffered second- and third-degree burns after his propane tank ignited over him. He was awarded $970,000.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit: In the State of California victims of serious injuries have two years from the date of an accident to file a civil lawsuit for monetary compensation from all at fault parties. Failure to file a claim within the statutory file limit can eliminate a victim’s right to recovery under the law.
Common Causes of Burn InjuriesIt is estimated that 500,000 burn injuries receive treatment every year in the U.S. Burn injuries are incredibly painful, and can leave permanent scarring. This scarring is physical, but it can also include mental scarring and leave the victim with emotional and psychological trauma. Below are the most common sources of burn injuries in the U.S.
- Contact with flames: 46% of all burn injuries are caused by a fire or flame. It can take seconds to damage flesh. Your nerves send pain signals to your brain, but by the time your brain registers it and reads it as pain, the damage is already done.
- Scalding injuries: Not all burn injuries require contact with fire, rather with high-energy mediums. The particles inside of boiling water or steam vibrate with a lot of energy, and that energy can burn your skin. 32% of all burn injuries come from steam, hot water, spilled coffee and other such things.
- Thermal burn injuries: Burn injuries can come from hot objects like ovens, pots, irons, and other such objects. The heat from those objects can transfer to your skin quickly and cause serious damage. 8% of burn accidents are caused by thermal objects.
- Electrical burn injuries: Electricity can cause burn injuries due to the high energy involved in the circuit. 4% of all burn injuries are caused by accidental contact with electricity.
- Chemical burn injuries: Corrosive materials, like acids and bases, can burn your skin if they are severe enough. 3% of injuries are caused by chemical burns.
- The remaining 7% are caused by other things like sun burn, inhalation, fireworks, and other such factors
Causes of Fires and Burn InjuriesFires can happen very suddenly, whether overnight from a spark, while you’re cooking food in the oven, or when there’s a spilled candle. More often than not, fires are caused by negligent action of the individual, such as leaving a lit cigarette out or leaving the flames lit on the stove. Some of the most common causes of fires according to home insurance companies include:
- Inattention to cooking equipment, like simmering food in pots or leaving hot plates unattended
- Portable space heaters that are kept too close to furniture, clothing, curtains, rugs, and more
- Furnaces that are faulty and have bad wiring or leaks
- Improper disposal of lit cigarettes, most often in the bedroom, or when cigarettes are thrown into garbage cans with flammable materials inside of them
- Candles that are erroneously kept near curtains, books, and more; the candle may be knocked over or hit by a child, leading to a blaze
- Defective wiring, which can indicate an electric problem in the home and can be identified by fuses blowing, lack of enough power in an outlet to supply electricity to numerous appliances, lights dimming or appliances losing power when others are in use, and more
- Improper storage of flammable liquids and materials next to heat sources
- Lamps and fittings that are too close to shades or curtains, which can cause fires if the material touches the hot bulbs
Vehicle FiresA fire in a vehicle can be extremely dangerous, especially if it happens in the motor. Vehicle fires may be caused by any number of issues or defects. Sometimes there are faulty wires or defective connections that can cause sparks, and because of all the flammable materials, a fire can erupt. The gasoline and oil can add fuel to the fire, as well. Some vehicle fires are caused by heating issues and cigarette lighters, especially older vehicles. These vehicles did not have the safety regulations that cars today have, and a small malfunction can cause a fire. Owners, too, can cause vehicle fires by not properly disposing of cigarettes while smoking in the vehicle. Many people have flung cigarettes to the ashtray but have missed, causing the carpet or materials inside the car to catch fire. They also may not have careful maintenance, which can greatly increase the chance of problems not being recognized ahead of time. Car accidents are a common cause of vehicle fires. One small spark from the metal grating against another car can be enough to cause a fire, especially in a combustible area. Cars with electric motors have been criticized as having higher rates of fires, as well. This is partially due to the fact that electric motors can be overloaded more if there are more activities going on in the car, such as a touch screen being used or different features being repeatedly toggled.
Burn Injury PreventionBurn injuries can generally be prevented with some degree of awareness. If you are handling hot materials, you should always wear gloves or mitts, for example. It is wise to purchase items that have rubber or heat-resistant handles, and to not ever complete circuit. For instance, if you have a metal refrigerator and a metal toaster, you can touch the toaster and fridge at the same time while taking out ingredients, only to suffer a shock. It is best to avoid directly touching anything that often produces heat. Your furnace and heaters should be turned off for at least an hour before doing any work on or moving them. If you wish to clean your oven, make sure it has been off for some time. You should always keep some kind of preventive materials on hand. Aloe is a very good natural treatment for burns, and you can buy a container of it at the local drug store. Applying aloe to a burn as soon as it happens will soothe the pain and promote healing. If you have already been burned, you should not do anything to aggravate it. You should keep it covered so that an infection cannot occur, especially on more severe burns that affect deeper layers of the skin. In the event of a fire, you should not touch anything with your bare hands. Use clothing where possible and keep your face covered.
Statue of Limitations for Burn InjuriesIf you suffered a burn injury as a personal injury case, you have two (2) years from the date you received the injury. This may sound like a long time, but the date can sneak up on you if you do not have a qualified and experienced lawyer on your side. However, not all burn injuries have a two-year statute of limitations. When you get a burn injury and you want to sue a government agency, your time to sue is reduced by a quarter of the original time. You have six (6) months to take legal action against a government agency from the day you received your injury.
Types of Burn and Fire Injuries We HandleOur Los Angeles Burn Injury Law Firm is dedicated to persuing justice for victims injured in
- Home Fire Burn Injuries
- Burn Injuries Due to Defective Products including defective BBQ design injuries
- Workplace Burn Injuries and Electrocution Burn Injuries
- Smoke Inhalation Injuries
- Burns in Schools
- Child Burn Injuries
- Burn Injuries From Firework and Explosives