Burn injuries can be very severe, painful, and debilitating to the soul. Survivors not only must cope with the pain of their injuries and the resulting suffering and immense physical discomfort, but also the psychological and emotional scars that are associated with the subsequent disability and disfigurement. Catastrophic burn survivors can also incur heavy and burdensome medical expenses that can persist for years. All of these issues result in extreme stress for not only the victims, but their loved ones as well.
There are several categories of how people get burned:
- Non accidental/Assault/Abuse
They can occur in:
- Residential and commercial fires
- Plant explosions
- Open Flames
- Household chemicals
Burn victims, if a case is valid, can receive 3 types of damages:
- Economic Damages: related to work missed, medical expenses, and potentially lost wages.
- Non-Economic Damages: In many burn injury lawsuits, victims are awarded damages for pain and suffering if the defendant is found to be liable.
- Punitive Damages: In certain cases where there is evidence of particularly reckless conduct, the court may award punitive damages to a burn injury victim. Punitive damages can range in the millions of dollars and are usually designed by the US court system to punish the wrongdoer, and make it too expensive (in the case of major corporations) to discourage the creation of future victims.
How We Can Help
Legally, a person may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. Such an action seeks to hold the person or entity responsible for the injury liable. Again, this may include fires and explosions, or chemical burns. An example of this would be somebody who negligently left candles burning while sleeping, resulting in a fire and third-degree burns for the person living with them. Another example would be of a person neglecting to put the cap on a bottle of household chemicals, resulting in the chemicals being spilled on an individual.
For fire related cases, one interesting thing to consider is that, when it comes to “traditional” house fires, much of the determination of liability can depend on forensics, and the ability to reconstruct the fire and ultimately find its cause. The abilities and technology of investigators have improved so much over the last thirty years (and are continuing to do so), that those found responsible for fires previously have now been exonerated due to bad or inconclusive evidence. This is pertinent in the case of burn injury, because a thorough investigation is needed to determine who is ultimately responsible for the fire, and thus, the burns, and this is something that our attorneys will work diligently to uncover so as to ensure that we have the needed forensic evidence to be victorious in your case.
In Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants, also known as the “McDonald’s coffee case,” a New Mexico civil jury awarded $2.86 million to Stella Liebeck, a 79 year-old woman who suffered third-degree burns in her pelvic region when she accidentally spilled hot McDonald’s coffee on her lap after purchasing it. Liebeck was hospitalized for eight days and underwent extensive and excruciating skin grafts, followed by two years of medical treatment. While some held the case up as the ultimate example for frivolous litigation, the courts ultimately sided with Liebeck and reasoned that McDonald’s essentially “should have known better.”
Much like wrongful death lawsuits, in burn injury lawsuits, a variety of individuals and entities can be found to be responsible for caused burns. Damages sought can include compensation for medical bills, wages lost, and emotional distress. For some, the injuries will be life-long and the compensation argued for them ought to match the horrors of the injuries as best as possible. We will do our best to see that this is exactly what happens.