Can I Sue for a Burn Injury?

Not all burn injury lawsuits are the same. Burn injuries are categorized into various different types. Usually, medical providers will categorize burn injuries into one of three categories. These different categories are:

  • First degree burns: these are burns affect to the outer layer of the skin and would cause some level of discomfort. Usually, over-the-counter medication and treatments could usually treat the first degree burn injury. First degree burn injuries could result in temporary disability; however, the patient will normally be able to return back to normal life.
  • Second-degree burns: these burns typically affect the first layer of the skin, and could cause swelling and fluid buildup. Second-degree burns need urgent medical treatment, and oftentimes extensive medical treatment could restore the patient back to their normal life. However, second-degree burns may cause some long-term scarring.
  • Third-degree burns: the most severe kind of burn injuries. This occurs when there is a burn at the tissue of the skin, and causes dryness and severe scarring. This requires urgent medical attention and could potentially cause permanent disability. Constant medical attention may be needed.

Some of the most common types of lawsuits following a burn injury include premises liability claims, product liability claims, motor vehicle accidents, and construction accidents. 

No matter what the circumstances of your burn injury, you should talk with a legal professional following the incident.  Our law firm has extensive experience in handling burn injury cases arising from a wide variety of circumstances.  For example, our firm was able to obtain a $19.2 million settlement in a case where a natural gas explosion in a home caused severe burn injuries to several of our clients.  This is believed to be the largest settlement for a burn injury in New Jersey history.

What to Do After a Burn Injury

According to the National Fire Protection Association, someone in the U.S. is burned seriously enough to require treatment roughly every 60 seconds. Burn injuries are one of the leading causes of accidental injury and death in the country, especially among children. In fact, burns are the fifth leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 5, and the third leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 10.

Because burns are so unfortunately common, it’s important to know what to do when they happen.  First, you or a loved one may require immediate medical assistance to minimize the long-term impact of your burn injury. However, no matter how severe your injury, you should seek medical attention. This is the only way to help ensure your health issues are being dealt with the right way. Seeking medical attention right away can also help link the accident and your injury, which is a critical element in an personal injury action.

If possible, photograph the area where the fire or injury occurred. While getting medical treatment, photograph and videotape all injuries and ongoing treatment – especially when bandages are being changed.  Write down the names of all major caregivers during the hospitalization that can testify about your pain and suffering. Keep a copy of all medical bills and reports. 

If you have been burnt in any type of accident, it is important that you contact a lawyer immediately. Because evidence often disappears or diminishes over time, the scene of the accident or the cause of the injury must be reviewed as soon as possible by an attorney. The more quickly an attorney can record the scene of the accident, the stronger your case gets. Our firm has a well-established track record at handling burn injury cases, regardless of the circumstances that caused such injuries.  For instance, we were able to obtain a $10 million jury verdict on behalf of a young child who was severely burned by a Molotov Cocktail explosive device that was thrown into the bedroom of his family’s apartment by an un-apprehended perpetrator.  The jury found that the police broke their promise to the victim’s family to put surveillance on their home on the night of the attack in order to catch the perpetrator in light of prior similar incidents and pending threats against a family member. 

What Do I Need for a Burn Injury Lawsuit?

The evidence and proofs necessary to successfully litigate a burn injury case will depend on the circumstances giving rise to the injury.  For example, if you were burned as the result of a dangerous environment or condition on someone’s property, it would constitute a premise liability claim.  In such a case, you or a loved one’s burn injuries must be the direct result of the property owner’s negligence. For example, you or a loved one was burned at a restaurant, could sue the owner or manager for your burns because business owners are legally expected to take the highest degree of care for their customers.  

In other cases, your or a loved one’s burn injuries are not the fault of another person, but the fault of a product. In those cases, you or a loved one may have grounds for a product defect lawsuit. For product defect suits to be successful, you must prove at least one of these three claims: manufacturer error, design defect, or improper labeling. A manufacturer error is when a product was made incorrectly. Recently, many electric cars with LG Chem batteries were recalled for catching fire. There was an imperfection in the batteries that caused them to overheat. This is a clear example of a manufacturer error. A design defect is the result of a product’s development and engineering. All products in the line will have the same problem because it was designed incorrectly. Imagine a motorcycle where the engine protrudes too far, and many riders burn their legs on it. This is a design flaw. Finally, product defects can be the result of improper labeling. When consumers have a reasonable expectation that the product will not cause them harm, the manufacturer has a responsibility to label the product correctly. Perhaps there is a brand of butane lighters that overheats when used for too long. Users of this lighter would not expect to burn themselves on the handle, so it is the company’s responsibility to label the handle, making the user aware. 

Regardless of the circumstances of your case, it is important that you contact a seasoned personal injury attorney. Our firm has the experience to assist you or a loved one following a burn injury.  In 2011, we obtained a $4.7 million settlement in a case where the defendants sold and marketed a defective product. Specifically, the defendants’ light was inappropriate for sale to a commercial automotive repair shop, and the defective product ignited gasoline which caused extensive injuries to our client.  

Looking to Sue for a Burn Injury? Contact Mazie Slater

Thermal, chemical, electrical, and radiation burn injuries hospitalize and kill thousands of people annually. Severely injured patients often require specialized care, as well as long-term physical and psychological treatment. Our attorneys at Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, LLC have extensive experience in representing victims who have suffered severe burns. We have successfully represented numerous victims in burn injury lawsuits, including several family members severely burned in a gas explosion that resulted in a $19.2 million settlement, a $4.7 million product liability settlement on behalf of a mechanic who was severely disfigured in a fire caused by a defective product, and a $3.69 million construction accident settlement on behalf of a burn injury client who was severely burned while working as an electrician’s assistant at a construction site. Having an aggressive, experienced law firm at your side is vital when dealing with the aftermath of a burn accident that resulted in a fire or explosion and has caused severe burns. Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.