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According to the American Burn Association, around 40,000 people are hospitalized due to burn injuries each year in the United States.
Approximately 3,275 people die from fire or smoke inhalation. While the provision of burn centers, where the staff specializes specifically in treating this type of injury, has resulted in a decline of deaths, burn injuries are still serious and can lead to a lifetime of medical complications.
If you’ve suffered burn injuries due to a defective product or an accident, you may be able to recover the compensation you need to pay for your injury-related expenses through a personal injury lawsuit.
A Seattle burn injury attorney can help you understand your legal options.
A burn is tissue damage that results from heat, overexposure to the sun, radiation, chemical, or electrical contact.
The Mayo Clinic explains that there are three degrees of burn severity. Here is a look at each:
Burns of particular concern include those that are deep or cover a wide area of the body. The reason for concern is the increased risk of complications, including:
When seeking medical treatment for burns, the person suffering the burn is often transferred to a burn center if the burn covers more than 10 percent of the body, is deep, or occurs in a problematic area such as the feet, groin, or face. The focus on burn treatment is controlling pain, removing dead skin, preventing infection and scarring risk, and regaining function of the area.
Those with severe burns may also face skin grafts to cover large wounds, and physical therapy. Other treatments may include:
There are three phases of burn care management for those with severe wounds:
Negligence is a breach in the duty of care that a person or entity owes to those around them or those who are using their products or visiting their business.
Accidents that are caused by someone else’s negligence may result in severe burn injuries in numerous scenarios, including:
Those suffering burns from motor vehicle accidents, premises liability accidents, and injuries resulting from defective products may file a lawsuit against the at-fault party within three years of the date of the accident.
Washington does not place a cap on compensation in personal injury lawsuits. Some of the potential damages that you may seek compensation for include:
If you’ve lost a loved one due to severe burns caused by negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages such as:
Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed on behalf of the decedent’s family members, including spouses, registered domestic partners, children, or stepchildren. If none of these family relationships exist with the decedent, then other family members are allowed to file the suit, including parents, sisters, or brothers who depended on the decedent for support.
In cases involving the death of a child, parents who regularly contribute to the support of a child may participate in a wrongful death action. Like personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death suits in Washington must be filed within three years. Those who suffered their burns due to a workplace accident will likely seek compensation through the state’s workers’ compensation program.
Workers’ compensation benefits include compensation for approved medical, hospital, and related services as well as compensation for those who are unable to work due to the severity of their injuries.
A Seattle burn lawyer can help you understand the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim and may be able to help you with appealing a workers’ compensation claim denial or other problems you encounter in the process.
According to an article from the Seattle Times, Madigan Army Medical Center has been ordered to pay $12.3 million for an operating room fire that severely disfigured a 13-month-old child in 2015.
The accident occurred when a surgeon activated an electrocautery device while an anesthesiologist administered oxygen to the child with a face mask. The fireball that resulted from the electrical device and the oxygen engulfed the child’s face, leaving the boy with severe burns. The child spent 22 days in intensive care and the burn unit at Harborview Medical Center and will require numerous future facial reconstruction surgeries.
The judge found both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist liable in that they negligently failed to communicate with one another about the risk of a fire before beginning the procedure, which had been scheduled to remove a small, benign cyst from the child’s forehead.
The Army admitted that it was negligent and responsible for the fire. USA Today reported that nearly $60 million was awarded to a former high school student who was brutally burned in a failed chemistry experiment at school. The accident occurred when a chemistry teacher at Beacon High School in Manhattan conducted an experiment involving a gallon jug of methanol. A fireball erupted, causing burns to 31 percent of the 16-year-old student’s body.
The student was hospitalized for five months after the accident, and had to endure painful skin graft surgeries to burns he suffered on his face, neck, arms, and hands. The school district stated after the verdict that it plans to explore its legal options to attempt to reduce the verdict to an amount more consistent with the damage awards received in similar cases, and also stated that it is no longer allowing that particular chemistry experiment to be conducted in its science classes.
WHYY reported that a lawyer has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against three U.S. manufacturers whose products allegedly played a central role in a fire at a high rise in London in 2017. The fire started with a faulty refrigerator in a fourth floor apartment, but quickly spread and engulfed the entire 24-story building in flames. The blaze killed 72 people and injured 100 more, in addition to destroying 151 homes in and around the tower.
The companies named as defendants in the lawsuit include a Whirlpool subsidiary that built the refrigerator that started the fire, a company who manufactures insulation that is not only highly flammable but also produces toxic gas when burned, and a company that supplies exterior cladding that features a highly flammable core. The complaint has 247 plaintiffs, including 69 families who lost a loved one in the fire and 177 people who suffered serious, life-altering injuries.
It could be more than two years before the lawsuit sees the inside of a courtroom, at which point the lawyer estimates that there will be many more plaintiffs.
Thermal burns, caused by heat or fire, represent the most substantial subset of burn injuries in the United States.
Steam, hot metals, open flames, and scalding liquids may all result in thermal burns. Other types of burns include:
Other than sunburns, thermal burns are the most commonly suffered by Seattle residents.
Sources of thermal burns include:
The length of skin exposure and the actual temperature of the thermal element dictate a burn injury’s degree and severity. For instance, someone caught in a car fire or scalded with boiling liquid may suffer third or fourth-degree burns. Poor ventilation in industrial areas may result in chemical burns to the throat.
Breathing in smoke, steam, or scorching air might also result in painful internal burns. Open flames, such as car and house fires, typically cause higher-degree burns than minor kitchen or space heater accidents.
If you suffered a burn injury due to another person’s reckless or negligent conduct, you may be entitled to compensation.
Medical professionals classify burn injuries based on the depth of skin damage. Three main layers of skin cover your muscles and bones, which correlate to the following four-degrees of burn injuries:
First and second-degree burns usually heal with time, despite causing severe pain and possible scarring. However, third and fourth-degree burns frequently result in the permanent destruction of the affected area, leading to multiple surgeries, skin grafts, infections, amputations, and other painful conditions.
Speak with an experienced Seattle burn injury lawyer at Boohoff Law immediately after suffering from negligently inflicted burns.
Injured claimants and physicians agree that burns are one of the most painful medical conditions a person can face. Even minor burns often cause blisters, uncomfortable scarring, nerve pain, swelling, redness, peeling, itching, bleeding, and oozing during the healing process.
Third and fourth-degree burns regularly destroy blood vessels and nerves, from which a body cannot ever recover. In these cases, doctors must remove the dead skin to avoid necrosis and potentially fatal infections, and then cover the area with new skin. Infections ordinarily occur when burns expose the flesh over large areas of the body.
Victims often require antibiotics and in-patient care to avoid sepsis and fatal diseases. Skin grafts may protect injured claimants from infections, but immune systems frequently reject certain grafts. Claimants might require powerful anti-rejection drugs in addition to antibiotics after suffering from third-degree burns in Seattle. A single severe burn wound could result in widespread damage.
If you or a loved one developed an infection due to burn trauma in Seattle, discuss your recovery options with a burn injury attorney at Boohoff Law today.
Treating a simple burn injury may cost thousands of dollars, while in-patient care for a severe burn injury could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
High-degree burn patients often suffer from lost wages and difficulties with daily activities, such as driving, cleaning, and cooking, necessitating immediate financial relief. You might file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company if you were burned in a Seattle motor vehicle accident, including motorcycle and bicycle accidents.
Claimants burned in house fires, industrial fires, or on school property may also recover medical compensation from a liability insurance policy.
Speak with an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer to discuss applying for insurance benefits without waiving your claims.
Malfunctioning space heaters, boilers, and industrial machines regularly cause thermal burns. Claimants might hold the designers, manufacturers, installers, and sellers of defective heating equipment liable for burns in product liability cases.
Product liability claims also apply to car, truck, and motorcycle fires caused by negligently designed motor vehicles or faulty fire safety equipment. Claimants burned while using items in a reasonably foreseeable way might sue for product liability.
Failure to warn of exposed heating elements or flammability, design defects, manufacturing flaws, and the lack of safety features could sustain these Seattle burn injury claims.
Liability for life-altering burn injuries depends on several factors, including how and where the burn occurred, as well as the victim’s age.
A Seattle burn accident lawyer might help you hold the following persons or entities accountable if their careless acts or omissions proximately caused burns:
Multiple liable parties may owe burn victims compensation in Seattle. Schedule a free burn injury case analysis with the knowledgeable Seattle plaintiff’s attorneys at Boohoff Law.
Personal injury claimants could recover for past and future losses reasonably related to a burn injury. Compensation may include direct economic damages, such as actual financial losses, and the value assigned to non-economic damages, such as pain and disfigurement.
An award or settlement might encompass reimbursement for the following direct expenses:
Because burns often cause pain, lasting nerve damage, and permanent disfigurement, successful claimants could obtain compensation for the following non-economic damages:
Typically, expert doctors and economists assist burn injury lawyers in calculating the value of these damages. Evidence may include your testimony, affidavits from friends and family, medical bills, pay stubs, and expert evaluations speculating as to future losses.
These damages form the ultimate demand for compensation in burn injury cases. Seattle legal professionals often make an overall demand early in burn injury litigation and then reform this demand as necessary.
Parties that intentionally, recklessly, or negligently contributed to a fire must generally compensate burn victims for all resulting damages. These include direct losses, such as the treatment for the initial burns and any subsequent medical developments.
However, once a burn victim settles a claim with a liable party and/or insurer, he or she waives any entitlement to compensation for future complications. Third and fourth-degree burns often require continuous treatment and monitoring throughout a claimant’s lifetime.
Experienced Seattle burn injury lawyers at Boohoff Law might work with burn experts to calculate the likelihood of skin graft rejection and infection before accepting a settlement offer. A team of qualified doctors and economists may submit a report to the insurer or court that outlines your anticipated medical needs and approximate expenses.
Because a burn victim may require continuous treatment and surgeries as he or she ages, the victim should not settle a claim before discussing future needs with a personal injury attorney. Burn victims must generally file litigation within four years of the accident, under Washington state’s statute of limitations for negligence and product liability.
Future anticipated treatment can be determined with the help of qualified medical, economic, and burn treatment experts.
You may recover for future anticipated needs as testified to by expert witnesses. Most law firms with experience handling burn injury cases front the initial expert witness costs to assist you in recovering damages.
Many Seattle burn victims find it impossible to describe their pain and suffering in words. Burns often cause significant physical pain and lasting emotional damage. Some claimants develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and/or severe anxiety. They may struggle to socialize, go outside, drive, or otherwise enjoy life as they once did.
Many severe burns even result in amputations and job loss. The burn injury lawyers at Boohoff Law know that most claimants find these intangible damages more serious than their actual economic losses.
Medical and disability insurance may compensate claimants for lost wages or medical bills, and our experienced Seattle attorneys for burn victims might help you recover for your pain and suffering. Victims may take the stand and tell their stories to a jury or testify before insurers as to how their burns impacted their lives.
Taking detailed notes about your daily pain and how your life changed after suffering traumatic burns may help a jury quantify these non-economic losses. Insurers settling burn injury claims often consider all economic and non-economic damages and make a lump sum settlement offer without distinguishing between these damages.
Judges and juries often consider claimants’ direct losses and requested compensation before awarding successful plaintiffs with pain and suffering damages.
If you suffered burn injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you likely have a lot of questions about your right to compensation.
We’d like to give you some answers to those questions in a free consultation and case review.
Call our personal injury lawyers at (877) 999-9999 or contact us at Boohoff Law online.
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