San Bernardino Burn Injury Attorney
One of the most overlooked types of injuries affecting people every day are injuries from burns. The skin is the human body’s largest organ, and it serves as a first line of defense against harm from the outside. It is also aesthetically apparent and can be seen by others.
Burns can be especially grievous and affect people for the rest of their lives. Our personal injury attorneys in San Bernardino help victims and their families after suffering a severe burn.
Contact our burn injury lawyers to learn how we can help.
Causes of Burn Injuries
Burns can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Not all burn injuries are caused by fire.
Burns might be the result of hot liquid spilling on the skin, or often in the case of car accidents, burns might occur from spilled fuel which has been ignited or hot chemicals such as engine coolant burning exposed skin after rupturing a radiator.
Skin is resilient, but it can only endure so much when it comes to heat. Any number of sources could result in serious injury or even death from a burn that is not treated promptly.
Some different sources of burns
- Thermal: Hot surfaces such as cooking surfaces, liquids, metal, or heaters.
- Electrical: Electricity can cause burns during electric shock or electrocution. Touching exposed wires or a short circuit are common sources, plus faulty electrical equipment and batteries.
- Chemical: Acids, bases, and other caustic substances react badly when they come into contact with skin, resulting in burns.
- Radiation: Radiological substances such as uranium isotopes and other radioactive substances can cause burns.
- Fuel or accelerant burns: Fuel such as gasoline, diesel, alcohol, and other flammable substances can ignite and damage living tissue.
As with any serious injury, burns require immediate medical attention to prevent permanent injury or even death. If you have been burned, please seek treatment immediately. A burn injury lawyer may have even more information about treatment and how burns may affect your life moving forward.
What are the Degrees of Burn Injuries?
The severity of burn injuries are calculated in “degrees.” Degrees only illustrate the severity of the area affected and not the total surface area. Minor burns with a wider surface area and concentrated areas of more serious burns do not change the “degree” of the burn.
- First degree burns: A first degree burn is usually painful, with the burn area on the skin indicated by a red mark. Since the top layer of the skin has been damaged, it may later peel as it is being replaced by healthy skin.
- Second degree burns: The heat, chemical, or radiation has burned past the top layer of skin to the layers below. Second degree burns are most easily identified with red, irritated skin and blisters. They are extremely painful and may feel warm to the touch.
- Third degree burns: The deepest burn resulting in the most damage. These types of burns are recognized by charring of the skin, broken blisters, and, surprisingly enough, very little pain as the nerve endings have been damaged and are no longer working as pain receptors. These burns have surpassed the upper layers of skin and may have even gone down into muscle and even bone.
What does the percentage of burn area mean?
The area of skin damaged in the burn is calculated by getting an approximation of the total surface area and dividing it by the area damaged. For example, second and third degree burns over 85% of a person’s body indicate very serious injuries, which may even result in death and likely permanent disfigurement.
Treatment of Burn Injuries
Minor burns might be treated by keeping the area clean and administering pain medication, or ointments to soothe the pain and aid in healing. More serious burns might be bandaged, and the bandages are changed often to prevent infection as blisters rise to the surface and break. Since the skin protects our bodies from infection, burn victims are often susceptible to infection and may require antibiotics.
What are skin grafts?
Even more serious burns, including some second degree burns and third degree burns might require treatment with skin grafts. This is when skin is taken from another place on the body and “grafted” to the damaged area in hopes that new skin can grow in its place.
The most severe burns with the most surface area on the body damaged may require amputation in order to prevent gangrene and other systemic blood poisoning, as skin may never grow there again. With larger surface area damaged comes the need for more prolonged and more extensive treatment.
How Much is a Burn Injury Settlement Worth?
Burns with large areas of displacement burns to certain areas of the body which are difficult to heal or present problems of disfigurement will impact a burn victim for the rest of their lives. Areas such as feet, hands, eyelids, and facial features may require several surgeries. Disfigurement can lead to problems of social acceptance, holding a job, and going about your daily life with the comfort you once knew before.
Here are some damages you might expect while recovering from a burn injury:
- Medical treatment: Ambulance rides, EMS, emergency room visits, surgeries, and hospitalization are all very expensive but crucial to preserve one’s life.
- Rehabilitation: Learning how to function normally again can be an uphill battle after surviving serious burn injuries.
- Pain management: Burn injuries can result in chronic pain, which requires medication to make life bearable.
- Loss of income or future income: Disfigurement, amputations, and permanent scarring might affect your ability to work or keep a job and therefore reduce your potential income significantly.
- Mental health: Burn injuries can result in post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and chronic depression, which will require therapy and even a lifetime of mental health treatment.
- Death and disabilities: Widespread burns, burns to lungs and other organs, and even death resulting from these injuries can be an event not only the victim has to endure, but their loved ones as well.
Burn Injury Settlements
Keeping all of these damages in mind, it is important that your burn injury attorney considers the expenses now, as well as the future, and how you can be compensated for these damages.
Though there is no set figure for compensation, your lawyer can argue your case and handle negotiations with insurers as well as pursue litigation in a court of law to fight for a monetary settlement. The amount of your settlement depends on factors such as negligence, a duty to keep the public safe, and whether or not your burns were the result of a corporation breaking public safety laws to make more money.
A burn injury lawyer can use what they know from investigating your case to better leverage a higher settlement amount from the other party’s insurance company.
Contact a Legal Professional About Your Burn Injury Case
With compensating burn injuries, insurance companies will always try to save their profit margins by offering the lowest amount possible in a settlement. The skills and knowledge of LA Century Law’s burn injury lawyers in San Bernardino can help you obtain what you deserve.
If you have been burned in an accident, you have limited time to file a claim against those who are responsible. Contact us to speak with an attorney and start the process of protecting your rights today.