A burn injury is one of the most complicated, painful and severe injuries one can suffer. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious burn injury due to the negligence of another party, contact Hanson & Mouri today to discuss your case. You may be eligible for significant compensation.
Recovery from even a minor burn injury can be a difficult and trying road. Skin grafting procedures are grueling and painful, and the need for amputation will have a life-long effect on an individual’s quality of life. You may need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these procedures, and may be unable to work and earn a living.
Our Riverside personal injury lawyer can assist you in negotiating a settlement that will effectively compensate you for all of the damages you have incurred. Your compensation should not cover just one year of medical expenses and lost wages, it should be a value that will manage these concerns for years, or a lifetime, based upon the extent of your burns.
To file an effective lawsuit or negotiated settlement, we will first obtain and preserve the evidence to establish that another party is responsible for your burn injury. This includes but is not limited to:
Collecting evidence is vital and necessary procedure on which your entire case outcome depends. Hiring an attorney with years of personal injury experience is a necessity when recovering from a burn injury.
The most common and preventable causes of burn injuries in Riverside are:
Millions of motor vehicle accidents happen each year, with many resulting in serious injuries, including burns. Burn injuries can occur if a crashed vehicle catches fire or when flammable liquids leak from vehicles and ignite or explode.
Any worker can suffer a severe burn on the job, for instance, when employers fail to maintain a safe working environment. Construction workers are particularly at risk since they regularly work with open flames, high voltage electricity, equipment that runs hot, and flammable or caustic chemicals.
A fire department responded to a fire on average every 24 seconds in the U.S. in 2019. These fires are often caused by cooking, defective wiring, electrical issues, smoking, and unattended indoor and outdoor fires. Property owners have a responsibility to comply with fire safety codes, including having working fire safety features, such as smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, etc.
Toxic chemicals are used every day in medicine, agriculture, industry, manufacturing, construction, and at home. Harmful exposure to toxic chemicals may be purely accidental, but too often, the exposure occurs due to deliberate or negligent industry practices.
Water causes a scalding burn when it reaches a temperature of 120 degrees or above, and at 140 degrees, it only takes five seconds to cause a third-degree burn. The longer the exposure, the more severe the burn.
Serious injuries can happen when touching a surface that you are not expecting to be hot. Business owners and employers have a duty to label any surfaces that may pose a danger to people in the area.
For burns that are deep or involve your hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, a major joint, or a large area of the body, you must seek emergency medical care from the nearest hospital. Having a doctor promptly evaluate you will prevent your injury from escalating in severity and reduce the risk of complications. After your condition is stabilized, you may require expert care that only a specialized burn injury center can offer. In Riverside, that is the Edward G. Hirschman Burn Center at Arrowhead Medical Center. This hospital provides specialized burn care to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, Inyo, and Mono. There are 14 beds in this burn unit. Over 300 people are admitted each year, and around 100 are treated as outpatients.
First degree burns – This is a burn that is only limited to the epidermis. The effects are relatively minor, such as moistening or redness of the burned surface. Minor scalding burns or typical sunburns fall into this group, and the burns usually heal within a short amount of time.
Second degree burns – These types of burns can vary in intensity, listed as either deep or superficial. Second degree burns destroy the epidermis layer and affect the dermis, or second layer of skin. A superficial second-degree burn can permanently alter the skin color and pigmentation of the burned area, while deep second-degree burns can require painful skin grafts.
Third degree burns – These types of burns destroy both the epidermis and dermis layer of skin, causing damage to all the tissue underneath. As a result of this burn, the skin becomes leathery in appearance and texture. The color of the skin can vary widely. There can be no pain involved in third degree burns due to the fact that the nerve endings in the injured skin have been completely destroyed. These burns are very disfiguring, and skin grafts are a necessary requirement.
Fourth degree burns – This is a burn that goes deeper than the subcutaneous (fat) level and destroys muscle and bone. These types of burns can be fatal and almost always require amputation.
Disfigurement can be defined as a permanent physical alteration that impacts an individual’s appearance. Disfiguring scars are visible to others, on arms, legs, face, or neck, permanently altering appearance. Disfiguring burn scars have a terrible impact upon a person’s self-esteem and confidence. Both children and adults can suffer extreme emotional anguish due to an altered appearance.
One of the difficulties surrounding scarring and disfigurement is that it is highly problematic and, in most cases, incurable. Scar tissue becomes easily infected and amputated limbs can result in a host of problems including phantom pains, slow wound healing, pneumonia and heart complications. Cosmetic procedures, in some cases, will improve scar appearance, but in many cases, it is impossible to restore a natural appearance after a serious burn.
When scarring and disfigurement affect appearance, it has a heavy emotional impact. It is important that the final value of the compensation take into account psychological and physiological trauma. This may include social embarrassment, depression, alienation and grief.
To file a burn injury claim, the first thing to do is contact a Riverside burn injury lawyer. They will help you understand your rights, determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit, an estimate of the amount of compensation you are entitled to and whether your case will benefit from legal representation. From there, they can handle the burn injury claims process on your behalf.
Once your attorney confirms which parties are liable and that you have grounds for a claim, they will typically send a demand letter to the defendant’s (at-fault party’s) lawyer or insurance company. Most burn injury claims settle through negotiations before a lawsuit is ever filed. However, if the defendant or their insurer refuses to settle for a fair amount, your attorney will file the appropriate paperwork with the civil court in your county. After filing, you or a hired professional must serve the papers on the defendant. The defendant will then have an opportunity to respond to your claim by either accepting and offering a settlement or denying liability. If the defendant denies liability, it will be up to you and your attorney to prove the defendant is responsible for your burn injury and related damages.
Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, burn injury victims have two years to file a lawsuit from the date the accident occurred. Unless your claim is against a California state or local government employee or agency, then you must file a burn injury claim within six months.
It is usually in your best interests to begin the claims process soon after your burn injury. However, if you can, an attorney will advise you to wait on sending a demand letter to the defendant or their insurer until you reach “maximum medical improvement” (MMI) or understand the total value of your case. If your burn is severe, it is not wise to settle your claim until you fully recover and know the long-term financial and physical implications of your injury.
Establishing and assigning liability is critical in burn injury cases. Once a party is found liable, they are responsible for paying damages (compensation) to the injured party. However, multiple parties can be considered responsible for a burn injury in California. Assigning liability to each party will hinge on evidence of negligence. The majority of burn injury claims are a result of one or more parties who acted negligently. In a legal context, negligence is defined as the failure to act with the same level of caution that another reasonable person would have demonstrated in the same situation.
To prove a party was negligent and therefore liable for your burn injury, the following four elements must be demonstrated:
Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be other methods of assigning liability. For example, in product liability cases, a manufacturer of a defective product that causes a burn injury can be held strictly liable. That means the victim does not have to prove negligence but that the product was defective in a way that made it unreasonably dangerous and that the defect caused their injury.
California follows the rule of “pure comparative negligence.” This law allows multiple parties to be liable and can limit your compensation if you are partially to blame for your burn injury. Here’s an example, if you are awarded $20,000 and found 40 percent at fault for your accident, you will only receive 60 percent or $12,000. Having an attorney on your side is crucial to ensure liability falls on the appropriate party and that you obtain the compensation you are entitled to.
Burn injury victims have the right to obtain compensation for their losses in the form of damages. The common types of recoverable damages in a burn injury case include:
If negligence played a role in your injury, the defendant might be required to pay punitive damages. This type of compensation is designed to punish the defendant for outrageous or malicious conduct.
Hanson & Mouri Riverside personal injury attorneys has a successful track record of securing fair and just settlements for those who have been injured due to no fault of their own. We have extensive experience in dealing with insurance adjusters and have proudly secured high dollar settlements for burn victims. If you need a burn injury, Riverside car accident lawyer, or medical malpractice lawyer, call today for your free consultation.