Unfortunately, burns severe enough to require treatment are pretty common. Severe burn injuries can be devastating and life-threatening. They produce intense pain and scarring, and often involve lengthy periods of treatment and rehabilitation, including multiple surgeries. Both the memory of the event and the psychological effects of scarring and deformity can produce psychological problems that last for the rest of the victim’s life.
The pressure and anxiety of dealing with the injury itself is often compounded by the need to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury. That compensation is usually needed to pay for the victim’s care and support the family during the victim’s long absence from work. Obtaining the services of an experienced Texas burn injury attorney is the first step to making the family’s burden manageable.
Burn injuries do not only describe damage to the skin from contact with fire or hot objects. This only represents one type of burn. Many hazards can damage the skin’s cells and underlying tissues from contact. Each type of burn requires a unique treatment.
A physician will diagnose the type of burn injury as well as categorize its severity into one of three degrees. A first-degree burn, the most minor, can cause pain and swelling but will not blister. A second-degree burn blisters and comes with a risk of infection. They can also cause pain and swelling. A third-degree burn impacts the deepest layers of tissues and may not be painful due to nerve damage. Third-degree burns can be catastrophic or fatal.
Movies and other popular entertainment emphasize dramatic, crackling open flames in stories about burns, but these injuries occur in many other ways, too. The National Burn Repository reports that, for 2012, the following were the most common causes of burns:
These injuries can occur anywhere; many happen right in the victim’s home. The American Burn Association reports that the burn injuries for which people were admitted to burn centers from 2002-2012 occurred in:
Flames, steam, hot water, ovens, irons, electric components, dangerous chemicals and fireworks are common sources of burn injuries in Texas. No matter where or how your burn injury occurred, you may be eligible for compensation. A discussion with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights.
Burns are extremely common personal injuries. They are a leading cause of unintentional injuries and deaths in the US. In a four-year period, hospitals in the US treated approximately 486,000 burn injury victims, according to the American Burn Association. In a single year, 3,390 civilians died in fires, most of which were residential (83%). Men are more likely than women to suffer burn injuries, with the average burn unit seeing a ratio of about 2:1, respectively. In 2015, burn injuries were the third-leading cause of death in the US for children ages five to nine. It was the fifth-leading cause of death for children one to four years old.
Our senior citizens are especially vulnerable to burn injuries, especially from fires. Cognitive problems (including the effects of prescription drugs) make it more likely that seniors will cause a fire. Diminished sensory abilities (smell, hearing, vision) make it harder for many seniors to notice a fire in its early stage, and diminished mobility makes it harder for them to escape a fire.
In addition, older people with balance and/or vision problems are prone to falls, which exposes them to potential burns from scalding and contact with hot surfaces.
While most—96 percent–burn victims survive their injuries, they tend to stay in the burn unit for some time. The rule of thumb is one day for every 1 percent of the victim’s body that is burned. This gets very expensive, very quickly: burn unit costs vary from $35,000 to more than $1,000,000.
Complications most likely to occur in this time are infections, pneumonia, a serious skin infection known as cellulitis, and infections in the urinary tract.
In the longer term, victims are prone to continuing pain and psychological distress, which may qualify as PTSD. Physical function can be limited by scarring which prevents joints from moving normally.
The psychological effects of scarring are acknowledged to be more serious for women in our society.
A burn injury lawsuit in Dallas could repay you and your family for money spent on burn injury treatments. Medical care could cost thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the burns and the treatments necessary. A compensatory award in the form of a settlement or jury verdict could include an amount to cover your past and future surgeries, doctor and specialist appointments, rehabilitation, therapy, and pain medications. It could also pay for any disabilities, including lost capacity to earn wages and home or vehicle modifications.
You could also be eligible to recover noneconomic damages. The pain and suffering associated with a burn injury can be significant. The defendant may owe you for physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, lost quality of life and psychological trauma. In addition to economic and noneconomic damages, the courts in Texas could also give you a punitive award. Punitive damages aim to punish a defendant for egregious torts, gross negligence, maliciousness or intent to harm. They serve as a lesson to others in the community in the hopes of preventing future such acts of negligence or recklessness. The availability of punitive damages will depend on the actions of the defendant and the judge at your trial.
Establishing the extent of your injuries and associated losses is only a piece of all that needs to be done. First, you have to establish who is legally responsible for those damages, which means proving exactly what happened and why it happened. The first step in that process is finding and preserving the evidence related to the event that injured you. Then, that evidence needs to be pieced together into a compelling claim that starts the process of negotiating with the responsible person’s insurance company and lawyer.
With offices in Dallas, Texas, Aaron Herbert is a highly rated and Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Specialist, experienced in both establishing liability and proving damages. As an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney, he has a long history of success in handling severe injury cases, reaching a fair settlement when possible, and taking the case through the trial process when necessary. In fact, he’s a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. His firm accepts cases throughout the state of Texas.
If you or a family member is suffering the consequences of a burn injury, call today. If the legal deadline for filing expires, you’ll lose your right to recover compensation. The first consultation is free, and because we accept cases on contingency, you’ll have no out-of-pocket expenses during the time we’re preparing and negotiating your case. You will incur no attorney fees, court, or legal expenses unless you recover.