The American Burn Association estimates more than 480,000 people suffer burn injuries which need treatment each year. Among those injured, approximately 40,000 need to be hospitalized. Most burns are not fatal, but victims face long recovery times, permanent scars, and excessive pain. If you, your child, or another loved one has suffered a burn injury because of another party’s negligence, Georgia law permits you to seek compensation for damages in civil court.
Many scenarios might lead to a burn injury, but when another party’s carelessness causes you harm, you deserve compensation for your losses, pain, and any scars.
Contact the experienced Atlanta burn injury lawyers at Brauns Law at (404) 418-8244 for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your burn injury and learn how we might be able to assist you during this difficult time.
Brauns Law: Holding Negligent Parties Accountable for Injury
The Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Brauns Law remain dedicated to providing exceptional client service, seeking justice, and holding negligent parties liable for the injuries they cause. The team’s experience includes the negotiation, settlement, and litigation of varied types of personal injury claims, including those involving burn injuries. This experience coupled with personalized service has resulted in recovering millions of dollars in damages from settlements and verdicts for clients.
Examples of past results do not guarantee an outcome for any case, but our committed legal team will diligently pursue the maximum payout for your case. We understand the difficulties and challenges which accompany recovering from a burn injury, and we are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Burn Injuries Come From Many Sources
Five different broad sources can lead to burn injuries: heat, sunlight, radiation, chemicals, and electricity. Burn victims who seek medical treatment must be able to tell doctors the source of their burn. Different burns require different treatment approaches. Some more specific causes of burns include:
- Scalds. Hot liquids and steam can lead to serious burns. Hot beverages might cause a burn, as well as water in a kitchen sink or bathtub which is too hot.
- Fires. Those who cannot safely escape a house fire, wildfire, or fire from a traffic collision risk severe burns.
- Flammable liquids. Gasoline, propane, hydrogen, ethanol, ammonia, and other liquids can cause dangerous explosions and fires.
- Harsh chemicals. Contact with bleach, chlorine, battery acid, and other chemicals can lead to painful chemical burns
- Cancer treatment. Cancer patients who undergo radiation treatment risk burns.
- Live electrical wires and outlets. Those who come in contact with live electricity might suffer severe burns as a result of electrocution.
Degrees of Burn Injuries
Burn specialists, doctors, and other medical professionals separate burns by degrees, specifically the extent to which a burn penetrates one’s body. You’ve most likely heard people discuss first, second, and third-degree burns, but you might not know exactly what that means. Here is an overview of each degree of burn:
- First-degree burns are the least severe burns which only cause injury to the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. Often, first-degree burns don’t require medical treatment and will heal on their own with basic first aid. Yet, when a first-degree burn covers a large part of the body, victims need to see a doctor.
- Second-degree burns extend into the dermis, the next layer of skin below the epidermis. They have longer recovery time and sometimes require a skin graft for full recovery. Doctors treat second-degree burns based on its source and the extent to which it covers the body.
- Third-degree burns permeate through both of the top layers of skin and always require skin grafting to heal. Those who suffer third-degree burns experience immense amounts of pains and need to be hospitalized to manage pain until they have recovered.
- Catastrophic burnsinclude fourth, fifth, and sixth-degree burns. These severe burns extend through the body’s layers of fat and/or muscle. In the most severe cases, the burn might reach bone. Those who suffer catastrophic burn often go into shock and doctors might medically induce a coma to aid in recovery. These burns can be fatal.
Atlanta Burn Injury Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
Burn injuries are often extremely painful and may require intensive medical treatment with a long recovery time, not to mention permanent scarring. These injuries may also require costly surgeries and other medical procedures to help the body truly heal. The lives of many burn injury victims are never the same after they sustain their injury, given the intensive financial, physical, and emotional burdens.
Individuals can sustain a serious burn injury in many different types of accidents. Some people receive a burn injury due to a workplace accident at their place of employment, while others suffer burns in a terrible motor vehicle collision, just to name a couple.
If you or someone you care about has suffered a burn injury in an accident that was not your fault—or if you suffered the injury at your place of work—you may be entitled to monetary compensation. In any case, retain an experienced Atlanta burn injury attorney to review your case, make a claim, file a lawsuit on your behalf, and assist you with pursuing the monetary damages you need to reclaim your life.
How long do I have to file a claim or lawsuit arising from a burn injury?
If you suffer burn trauma or another serious injury in Atlanta due to another person’s recklessness, carelessness, or negligence, you typically have two years from the date of the occurrence in which to bring a claim or file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault person or persons. If you fail to bring your claim within the proper time period, you effectively waive your right to monetary compensation for the burn injury—or for any other injury you received in the accident.
Therefore, if you or a loved one suffers a burn injury, retain an attorney to represent you in your case as soon as possible after the accident. An Atlanta burn injury lawyer can review and investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine what kind of claim should be filed on your behalf. A lawyer can then assist you with filing your claim and pursuing monetary damages for your injuries.
What are the most common causes and types of burn injuries?
Burn injuries can occur in a variety of different circumstances when individuals behave in a careless or reckless manner. Whenever someone else’s negligence causes an individual to suffer a burn injury, that individual is entitled to compensation for his or her medical treatment, emotional distress, psychological trauma, lost earnings, and physical damage.
Some of the most common causes and types of burn injuries in Atlanta include the following:
- Burn injuries that result from serious motor vehicle accidents -When a serious motor vehicle accident occurs, gas, oil, and other flammable materials can cause explosions and fires—which in turn can lead to burn injuries for the accident victim(s). In many cases, motor vehicle accidents occur because of negligent or distracted driving, speeding, and/or drunk driving. If the accident victim can demonstrate that he or she suffered a burn injury in an accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, then the accident victim may be entitled to monetary compensation for a burn injury.
- Burn injuries that result from dangerous chemicals – Chemical burn injuries can occur when a strongly acidic or basic material touches a person’s skin—in some cases, the burn goes all the way down to the bone. Although chemical burn injuries may result from a serious car accident, they are more common in factory and other workplace settings where caustic chemicals are likely to be on the premises. In cases where the necessary safety precautions are not made available to workplace employees, then a business owner may be deemed responsible for any burn injuries that a worker suffers.
- Electrical burn injuries -Working around electricity can be extremely dangerous, and an electric shock or a short circuit that is not properly controlled can lead to an electrical burn. In addition to causing damage to the surface of the accident victim’s skin, an electrical burn may also cause a worker to suffer internal damage. In some instances, a strong electrical shock may lead to cardiac arrest. Electrical burn injuries are more common in some workplaces than in others, but they are especially common in professions involved in factory work, electrical work, and construction work.
- Burn injuries that result from scalding – Scalding occurs when some type of hot liquid, such as water, comes into contact with an accident victim’s skin, causing a severe burn injury.
How can I recover after a burn injury?
There are several types of claims that you may file after suffering a burn injury—either as a result of someone else’s negligence or while working on the job and within the scope of your employment. The type of claim or claims you are eligible to file following a burn injury depends largely upon how the burn injury occurred and the exact circumstances involved.
Some potential claims that an accident victim may file following a burn injury include the following:
- Claim for premises liability – An individual may file a premises liability claim or lawsuit if he or she suffered a burn injury while on someone else’s premises. The property owner’s liability depends upon whether the burn injury victim was a business invitee on the premises, a social guest, or a trespasser. Generally speaking, business invitees and social guests are owed the highest duty of care, while trespassers are owed little or no duty of care by the premises owner. If a shopper in a store suffered a burn injury because of the store owner or property manager’s negligence, then the shopper may file a claim or lawsuit for negligence against the store and/or the store owner.
- Claim for products liability – When consumers purchase a product, they expect that the product will work properly, and in the manner for which it was intended. All too often, however, products malfunction and cause the consumer injuries, including burn injuries in some cases. When a consumer suffers a burn injury because of an improperly manufactured or defectively designed product, then he or she may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the product manufacturer—or against anyone else who is involved in the product’s chain of distribution.
- Claim for workers’ compensation benefits – Workers’ compensation benefits are available to individuals who are injured while they are working on the job—and while working within the scope of their employment. When workers spend their days around electrical components and construction equipment, for example, they are more prone to electrocution and burn injuries than other workers. If a worker suffers a burn injury during the course of his or her employment, the worker may seek monetary benefits through the Georgia workers’ compensation program. After filing a claim, the injured worker may be eligible to recover a portion of his or her lost earnings, benefits for a temporary or permanent disability, and in some cases, vocational rehabilitation.
- Claim for personal injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident – If an individual suffers a burn injury in a motor vehicle collision, he or she may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver. Drivers owe a duty to operate their vehicles on the roadway in a reasonably prudent manner at all times. This means that they must operate their vehicles within the posted speed limit, follow all traffic laws and regulations, and obey all traffic control devices which are present on the roadway. Moreover, drivers must refrain from distracted driving, such as talking on a cellular phone that is not equipped with a Bluetooth or other hands-free device. If the victim of a car or truck accident can demonstrate, by a preponderance of evidence (i.e. making it is more likely than not) that the negligent driver caused the motor vehicle collision—and that the burn injury resulted from the collision—then the accident victim may be eligible to recover monetary damages from the negligent driver (and indirectly from the negligent driver’s insurance company).
What burn kinds of burn injury damages are available?
If you suffer a burn injury within the scope of your employment, you may be entitled to a variety of workers’ compensation benefits. For example, you may file a claim for lost wage benefits, permanent disability benefits (i.e. following a permanency rating by a healthcare provider), and/or vocational rehabilitation benefits, depending upon the extent of your burn injury.
If you sustain a burn injury that resulted from an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, such as a motor vehicle collision, you may pursue damages from the negligent person or persons—and indirectly from the at-fault person or entity’s insurance company.
The first step to pursuing damages for a burn injury arising from someone else’s claim is to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault person or entity. The claim begins by notifying the insurance company and submitting a demand package containing all of your medical records and bills. In many instances, insurance companies will not make a fair offer—even for serious burn injuries that a victim suffers in an accident. When that happens, the accident victim’s lawyer may need to file a personal injury lawsuit in the Georgia court system.
Throughout the process, the accident victim’s attorney will continue to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company, to try and reach a favorable monetary settlement for the burn injury. In the event the insurance company still refuses to offer the accident victim fair and full compensation for his or her burn injury, then the accident victim’s lawyer may take the case to court in the Georgia court system.
When an accident victim’s lawyer files a claim for monetary damages, he or she will likely be requesting some or all of the following:
- Economic damages – Economic damages cover financial losses, like the costs associated with medical treatment and physical therapy, as well as medical procedures such as injections or surgeries. These damages are also used to reimburse a burn injury victim for lost earnings that resulted from the accident. Finally, economic damages encompass other out-of-pocket costs that the burn injury victim had to incur following his or her accident.
- Non-economic damages– Non-economic damages include monetary compensation for all of the pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and mental distress that the accident victim suffered because of his or her burn injuries and other injuries sustained in the accident. Burn injuries can also lead to severe scarring which causes the accident victim extreme shame and embarrassment. This is also compensable, and a burn injury accident victim may file a claim for disfigurement.
- Punitive damages – Punitive damages exist to punish the at-fault party or parties for their grossly negligent or reckless behavior. Punitive damages, for example, may be available in cases where the at-fault party’s drinking and driving led to an accident in which the accident victim suffered a burn injury that left him or her disfigured.
Burn injuries are extremely serious and can impact the life of an accident victim and his or her loved ones forever. If you or someone you love has suffered a burn injury in an accident that was not your fault, or if you suffered a burn injury while you were on the job, you need experienced legal representation in your corner.
Our Atlanta burn injury attorneys can help you assemble the necessary medical documentation and pursue the benefits and damages that you deserve for your burn injury.
Recovering Damages After a Burn Injury
If you, with the help of your qualified attorney, sue another party for damages because their negligence caused your burn injury, you might receive compensation for a wide variety of losses related to your injury. Damages commonly recovered in burn injury lawsuits include:
- Medical costs such as ambulance and emergency services, hospital stay, surgery, X-rays, follow up visits, and pain medication
- Future medical treatment especially when severe burns require multiple skin grafting surgeries and extensive recovery
- Lost wages for missing work due to the burn injury, hospitalization, and recovery
- Lost earning capacity when a burn injury is so severe it caused permanent disability which prevents a victim from returning to their job
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Punitive damages when a burn is a result of intentional harm or gross negligence
Brauns Law Provides the Legal Help You Need After a Burn Injury
If you or one you love have sustained a burn injury as a result of another party’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your injury, pain, and loss. It’s likely you are still recovering, and might need more surgeries.
Contact Brauns Law online or at (404) 418-8244 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can assist you after a burn injury. Our Atlanta burn injury lawyers understand the physical and emotional pain you might be experiencing and realize travel might be difficult for you. We will gladly meet you in the hospital or at your home to help you find the best course of legal action to hold the parties who caused you harm accountable.