Burn injuries are the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Severe burn injuries affect more than just the outer layer of skin (the dermis); in addition, burns can affect nerves, tendons, and muscles. Severely burned hands and limbs may never be the same, and may leave a burn victim with limited mobility.
The psychological damages associated with significant burns can leave emotional damage that is just as severe as the physical damage. Burn victims may struggle through multiple surgeries, and tragically, in some cases may never look or be the same as they were before their injury.
What Types of Compensation are Available for Burn Injury Victims?
Our firm seeks full compensation and damages for our clients injured and burned in fires and explosions. The following is a list of some of the types of compensation that may be available for those who have been injured by burns:
- Pain and Suffering. Pain and suffering is usually the largest component of compensation in a burn injury case. Pain and suffering can include compensation for the following:
- The physical pain suffered from the initial burn, as well as from ongoing treatment, future surgeries, skin grafts, other procedures and rehabilitation.
Unlike many injury cases, the physical pain and suffering from severe burns does not usually end soon. Instead, those injured often must go through months and sometimes years of painful surgeries and treatment. Each surgery will involve its own painful procedures. Skin grafts, for instance, involve treating the burn location and removal of healthy skin from another location on a patient’s body; thus there are two areas that must heal.Each surgery will also require difficult rehabilitation, as well as risks such as the risk of infection. Typically in such procedures, painful compression bandages must be worn for months or even more than a year while such surgeries are healing. Many burn injury victims report that the rehabilitation process for burn surgeries is as painful as the initial burn itself.
- Mental and emotional anguish. Mental and emotional anguish can be a significant part of pain and suffering in a burn injury case. A burn victim may be scarred for life. Depending upon the severity of the burn and the location, the mental and emotional anguish can lead to lifelong trauma, from being the focus of stares in shopping malls and grocery stores, to difficulty in dating and relationships.Those suffering severe burns often require intensive and ongoing psychological treatment. The unfortunate fact is that burns can turn a healthy and outgoing person into a person who may develop an entirely different self-perception. Severe depression is a significant problem for burn victims, as well as other related psychological problems.
- Loss of Consortium. Often, “loss of consortium” is taken to refer to the intimacy and relationship between spouses. While this is part of the term “loss of consortium,” such term actually takes into account much more, including the ability of a parent to enjoy their children, and vice-versa (different jurisdictions may use a term other than “consortium” to describe these relationships).In most states, in severe burn injuries spouses and children are entitled to recover for the loss of spousal and parenting functions that can arise. For instance, if a father was heavily involved in sports activities with his children prior to suffering a severe burn, the father and the children may both be entitled to recover for the loss of this enjoyment if these activities are no longer possible.
- Economic Damages and Loss of Wages. Loss of wages can include not only time missed from work for the initial injury, but also future time that may be missed due to future surgeries, medical treatment, and rehabilitation. In cases involving severe burns, even if a person is able to physically return to his or her job, such return may not be possible, or the realistic earning expectation may have been severely diminished.As an example, a model or actress may no longer be able to obtain work after a severe burn. Severe burns may also limit the number of years that a person is likely to work due to the increased stress on the body from the burn injuries. Burn victims are entitled to receive the present value of all lost wages which are likely to be sustained.
- Property Damage and Property Rehabilitation Costs.
Burn injuries often result in the loss of property, such as vehicles or dwellings, such as homes. Victims of burn injuries are entitled to recover for any property that has been destroyed, as well as any modifications that may need to be made to their property to accommodate rehabilitation needs or their needs arising out of their injuries.
You Will Have Only One Chance to Obtain Full Compensation for Your Injuries
In a trial or settlement for a burn injury, the plaintiff (the person burned) will only have one opportunity to seek full compensation. As a result, it is critical for the lawyer for the person burned to present a full and complete picture to the defendant, their insurance company, or a jury for both the injuries that have been suffered in the past, as well as damages that are likely to be suffered in the future, including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and economic damages. Only then will the negligent parties, their insurance company, or the jurors be in the position to be able to award full compensation.
Our firm is experienced at seeking full compensation for injured clients. We retain economic experts, physicians and medical experts, psychologists, and other professionals as necessary to explain the future medical treatment likely required, the amount of physical pain and suffering that our clients have endured and will be likely to endure, the impact that their injuries will have on their life and social functioning, and the effect that their injuries are likely to have on their ability to work.
Call Us to Learn About Your Options for Recovery
We will meet with you for a free-no obligation consultation. If we are retained, unless otherwise agreed, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not owe us any fees unless we are successful in recovering damages for you.