Burn injuries are some of the most painful injuries a person can suffer. However, with the tremendous advances in medicine, the proper medical care can provide victims with recoveries that were not heard of in the past. The only obstacle is that medical care for burn injuries is very involved, requires highly skilled physicians, and therefore is very expensive.
The reason I enjoy working on burn injury cases is because I know the work I do to help my client recover money will be used to pay for these very expensive, but very helpful medical procedures. Burn injuries can occur through a number of different settings with each requiring a very specific approach by the lawyer heading up the investigation of the case.
Examples of Events Leading to Burn Injuries
- Vehicle collisions and crashes resulting in the car catching on fire or exploding
- Chemical contact such as acid and bases
- Encountering destructive explosives
- Contacting water or stream at a temperature exceeding 120 degree centigrade
- Residential fires breakout from electrical wires, appliances, consumer goods, etc
Evaluating a Burn Injury Case
The most important element of evaluating a burn injury case is examining the source of the injury. So, for example, if the burn injury occurred in a residential fire, then I would want to gain access to that residence with my team of investigators and fire experts as soon as possible in order to evaluate the cause of the fire.
Another example that better communicates the urgency with which you must get your lawyer and their investigative team out to the scene of the incident is a burn injury caused by scolding water. One of the most common burn injuries due to scolding water occurs to residents living in apartment complexes where the hot water heater is shared between several residents. If I am not able to get my investigative team out to the apartment complex immediately, critical evidence may be lost forever – evidence that is absolutely necessary to proving your case.
In addition to investigating and evaluating the source of the injury, the filing of a lawsuit, and the value of the compensation claim associated with the case, will also depend upon the degree of burns and the medical report of the victim after the incident. The degree of burn and the necessity of future medical treatment is essential in evaluating the burn injury case.
Degree of Burns
There are varying levels of burns ranging from first degree to third degree. Most first degree burns will not result in any lawsuit because the injuries are along usually significant enough to warrant the cost of litigation. However, that is not a bright-line rule, and there are always cases that are exceptions. Having suffered a burn injury, I am sure you are well aware of the varying levels, but below is a simplistic explanation and video of the first, second and third degree burns.
First Degree Burn Injuries
First degree burns pertain to the burns on the outer layer of the skin and is sustainable by the victim. In most of the cases, medical treatment is not necessary. Because medical treatment is not usually necessary, the likelihood of litigation is minimal.
Second Degree Burn Injuries
Second degree burns describe the effect of the burn reaching the second layer of the skin. The pain and swelling will be persistent and will require medical treatment and periodical monitoring. These cases are more likely to result in a lawsuit than first degree burns because they often require emergency medical care, ongoing medical care, and they can result in permanent scarring.
Third Degree Burn Injuries
This is the most extensive burning stage where all the layers of the skin are burn, and the injury penetrates deep into the body damaging internal tissues and delicate organs. The outer skin appears completely charred and the treatment procedures may continue for years. This type of burn injury will almost always result in lawsuit because the cost of the medical care, both past and future, is often so high that pre-lawsuit negotiations would be a waste of time.