Most people interact with fire, chemicals, and hot surfaces regularly, some more than others. In the course of an ordinary day, you might be surprised at how many opportunities there are to suffer from a burn injury. The parts in your vehicle could malfunction, or you might be in an auto accident which results in fires, explosions, or other exposure to burn-inducing objects or substances.
You might cook a meal or two. You might simply have candles in your home or visit the home of someone else who does. Then, there are those who use space heaters and faulty appliances. Finally, you might know exactly how at risk for a burn injury you are if you work in an environment that involves the use of dangerous chemicals, heat, or open flames. Cooks, electricians, welders, and various machine operators, for example, are at risk for burn injuries.
If you work in such an environment, you may have a standard procedure for responding to burn injuries or special equipment to prevent them. Yet, all of this might not be enough. If you are just the everyday appliance, stove, car, and candle user, then your burn injuries may come as a surprise, and you might not know what to do. If your burn injuries occur on someone else’s property or through someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.
Burn Injuries Are Among the Most Severe Personal Injury Cases
Because the skin is the largest organ of the human body, and protects you from the elements, while also presenting your best face to the world, burn injuries can be extremely severe. Many are minor and can be addressed with ointment and careful treatment at home. Yet, others can completely destroy your appearance and your ability to fight infections. The worst can result in long term disability or death. In most personal injury cases involving burns, the victims are facing permanent scarring, serious pain and trauma, and long term medical treatment and expense.
If you have suffered a burn that was caused by someone else’s negligence, on someone else’s property, or through someone else’s maliciousness, you need to know about the different factors that will impact your personal injury claim settlement. You also need an attorney. Call the Bader Law Firm to discuss the unique circumstances of your claim and the potential value of your settlement.
The Value of Your Claim Will Depend on the Severity of the Burn Injury
As a general rule, more severe burns lead to higher settlements in personal injury claims. There are different types of burns, including those caused by open flame, by chemical exposure, or by electricity. There are also different degrees of burn injuries, ranging from first through third, with first being the least severe. In fact, first degree burns are typically superficial and will require no medical treatment or long term care. You can usually handle a minor first degree burn at home, and you aren’t likely to have a personal injury claim worth enough to pursue if you faced no further injuries.
Second degree burns are a bit more serious, and they do come up in personal injury claims, though they still involve less than 10% of your body. Then, there are the third degree burns, which are the most severe, and often cover more than 10% of the body, depending on the situation. These burns damage every layer of the skin and usually involve long term hospitalization to treat and leave lasting scars.
The Value of Your Claim Will Depend on The Expense of Treating and Recovering from Burn Injuries
Serious burn injuries often involve lengthy, painful, and expensive hospital stays. You may require surgery, physiotherapy, emotional counseling, and occupational therapy to return to work. In other cases, you’ll completely lose your source of income and will be unable to return to work. This all comes with the expense of lost wages, medical bills, surgical bills, counseling bills, and rehabilitation bills, along with any damaged property that was associated with the burn injury.
Punitive Damages May Be Available in Your Personal Injury Claim for a Burn Injury
In cases where your burn injury was caused by egregious negligence or malicious intent, you may be awarded punitive damages. These are damages that are included in personal injury claims where punishment for the defendant is warranted. If the negligence was far beyond what a normal person might manage as a mistake, then it may be bad enough to warrant punitive damages. This is especially so in cases where children are involved and the negligence of a caretaker, such as leaving the house with candles burning or lighters accessible, or even leaving the children alone at all, could be seen as egregious negligence where punitive damages are warranted. In cases of malicious intent, where someone intentionally caused your burns, punitive damages are very likely to be awarded.
What To Do When You’ve Been Burned
If you have sustained burn injuries, it is important to respond quickly and appropriately to minimize the damage, including the potential for long term scarring and even death. For a minor burn, you can respond by cooling that burn with cool running water, but not cold water, for about ten minutes or so. You should also remove any jewelry in the area, because your skin might swell around the jewelry.
Further, you should avoid breaking any blisters that you see. If they do break, you’ll want to clean them carefully with a gentle soap and use antibiotic ointment and a non-stick bandage. You can also treat the burn with a moisturizer, such as a lotion with aloe. For pain, over the counter pain relievers should do the trick. For larger blisters, or any oozing wounds (or other signs of infection), you’ll want to see a doctor. You may even need a tetanus shot, depending on the situation.
If your burns are more serious, then you need to call for emergency medical care. Do not remove any burned clothing that is stuck to your skin, as this could cause more damage. If you can remove jewelry, you should do so, for the same reason – the burned area is going to swell very quickly, and the jewelry could cause more problems. You should not try to put the burned area under water, because, at this point, you are in danger of losing body heat and blood pressure, and even going into shock. If you can elevate the part that is burned above your heart, that is the best thing to do. You may also be able to cover the burn area with a clean, cool, dampened cloth.
Contact an Attorney to Discuss Your Personal Injury Claim
Call Bader Law Firm’s skilled Georgia personal injury attorneys to learn more about what you can do to pursue compensation for a burn injury. We’ll help you to evaluate the value of your claim, to prove negligence, and to determine who the at-fault party is. Don’t face your burn injuries and your personal injury claim alone. We are here to help you every step of the way.