According to the CDC, 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention every year in the United States. In addition to chronic pain, disfigurement, and scarring, burn victims often suffer psychological trauma. When someone is burned because of another party’s negligence, they deserve maximum legal compensation. Hale & Monico fights for the rights of burn injury victims. If you or a loved one were burned because of someone else’s negligence, we can help.
Common Causes Of Burn Injuries
Burns can result from contact with numerous household and workplace substances and items. Some of the most common causes of burns are:
- Fires in homes, offices, and businesses
- Appliance, water heater, and gas grill explosions and fires
- Defective consumer products
- Scalding from excessively hot liquids
- Hot metal, glass, and other objects
- Electric shock from exposed wiring
- Chemical burns from acids and other corrosive substances
What Are The Different Degrees Of Burns?
To understand how serious your burn is, and therefore the medical attention you will need, you should know the different degrees of burns:
- First-degree. These burns damage the top layer of the skin, with sunburn being a good example. Blistering, redness, swelling, sensitive skin, and mild to moderate pain are common. First-degree burns usually do not require anything more than first aid and home care.
- Second-degree. Second-degree burns affect the first two layers of skin. Deep reddening, blisters, and intense pain are all common signs. These burns often cause significant scarring and may require skin grafts. Professional medical treatment is required.
- Third-degree. A third-degree burn will penetrate all layers of skin and destroy tissue. Commons signs are permanent scarring and dry, leathery skin. Third-degree burns themselves are sometimes painless, although surrounding first- and second-degree burns may be painful. These burns require skin grafts and are susceptible to infection.
If you or someone else has suffered a second- or third-degree burn, seek immediate medical attention to prevent further life-threatening complications.
Health Consequences Of Burn Injuries
Burn victims must usually undergo hospitalization and painful recovery. The healing process typically requires skin grafts and reconstructive surgery, and these can leave permanent scars. For many victims, the real threat comes from infection and sepsis, which may require more time in the hospital and can potentially lead to death. Treatment may not end after the victim leaves the hospital, since plastic surgery, physical therapy, and follow-up doctor appointments are often necessary.
But burn injuries are not just physical. They often happen in serious, sometimes near-death incidents like fires and explosions. These may leave the victim with severe mental and emotional trauma. It’s not uncommon for victims to need psychiatric treatment to handle the intense circumstances surrounding their burns. As with physical injuries, the psychological impact of a burn may last a lifetime.
Financial Consequences Of Burn Injuries
The medical expenses required to treat burns can be significant. Hospital bills, plastic surgery, skin grafts, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and follow-up medical appointments are expensive. These costs are compounded if the victim suffers infection, sepsis, or other complications.
If you are hospitalized to treat a burn injury, you will lose time from work. You may also experience down time to recover from surgeries and skin grafts. Even routine medical appointments to assess the progress of your recovery will take time and, therefore, result in lost wages.
Some victims will never recover the ability to work at the same level of productivity as before their burn injuries. A serious burn can therefore affect your career prospects and long-term earning potential, costing potentially significant sums of money over the course of your working life.
The amount of compensation to which you may be entitled must take financial damages like these into account. That’s where having a knowledgeable attorney is essential.
What Are My Legal Rights After A Burn Injury?
Burn injuries are often the result of another party’s negligence. Negligence means that someone breached a duty of care that was owed to the victim, resulting in injury and damages. In other words, someone failed to behave as a reasonably prudent person would, given the circumstances.
Some specific examples of negligence that can lead to burn injuries are:
- Leaving electrical wiring exposed on a construction site
- Blocking a fire exit at a bar
- Poor electrical wiring in a house or commercial building
- Negligent supervision at a daycare facility, allowing children to touch hot stoves
- Causing a car accident that results in a fire
Defective products are a major source of burn injuries. Product defects generally fall into one of three categories:
- Defective design: the way the product is designed makes it inherently unsafe
- Defective manufacturing: the product is normally safe, but was put together in an unsafe manner
- Failure to warn: lack of adequate safety instructions or warnings on the product
Manufacturers, retailers, and other parties may be held liable for producing or selling a defective product that causes injury to a consumer.
How Can Hale & Monico Help With My Burn Injury?
You need a personal injury attorney who is specifically experienced with burn injury claims. As mentioned above, the financial damages caused by these injuries can be extensive. Expert witnesses are usually necessary to provide a reasonable forecast of how much money the injury will cost the victim. We have a network of these professionals who we rely on for fair assessments of the value of burn injury claims.
Our firm also knows how to make sure all potentially liable defendants are brought into the case. There may be multiple parties who bear responsibility for your burn injury and who may be compelled to provide financial compensation. We will work to ensure they are held accountable.
Contact a Chicago Burn Injury Attorney
Don’t wait to demand the justice you deserve after a burn injury. There may be time deadlines to file your claim, and the earlier you take legal action, the better. Trust the experienced personal injury attorneys of Hale & Monico. Give us a call today.