Burn injuries are some of the most serious and terrifying injuries an accident victim can endure, and the recovery process is as protracted as it is painful. Serious burns leave the victim especially vulnerable to serious infections that can prove life-threatening in and of themselves. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious burn as the result of someone else’s negligence, don’t put off consulting with an experienced burn victim attorney in Southern Florida.
The American Burn Association
The American Burn Association (ABA) shares that, every year in the United States, more than 450,000 people suffer serious burn injuries that require medical treatment. Consider the following two sobering statistics that the ABA reported during National Burn Awareness Week 2020:
- Nearly 3,300 people died in 2014 alone from injuries related to fire and smoke inhalation.
- The total cost of treating burn injuries in 2010 was $1.5 billion.
Contact burns; burns from flames, scalds, or steam; flash burns (such as those caused by explosions); electrical burns; chemical burns; and burns caused by inhalation are those burns that are most closely associated with personal injury claims. Such burns are common to traffic accidents of all kinds, to some premises liability claims (such as fires on commercial properties), to many kinds of construction accidents, and to other work-related accidents (including factory work).
Burn Injuries and Liability
Serious burn injuries are often caused by the negligence of others, whether this means a negligent motorist or a negligent commercial property owner. There are four basic elements that must be present in order to bring a successful burn claim.
Duty of Care
The at-fault party must have owed you a duty of care, to begin with. If the accident that leaves you with a burn injury is a traffic accident, this duty of care is generally quite easy to establish. Every motorist owes everyone else on the road the duty of driving safely and responsibly, which includes following the rules of the road and accommodating the safe travel of others. Similarly, when you enter a commercial property as a customer, client, or another kind of guest, the property owner or manager owes you a duty of care that translates to maintaining the property in the reasonably safe condition that other reasonably safe property owners and managers maintain in similar situations.
Breach of Duty
The next element is that the at-fault party must have breached the duty of care owed to you. For example, if you suffered a burn in a traffic accident, the at-fault driver must have neglected the duty of care owed to you in order to fulfill this element. There are many forms of driver negligence that can ultimately lead to a fiery car crash – or to a dangerous accident that generates enough heat to cause serious burn injuries. Such negligence can include:
- Failure to follow the rules of the road
- Excess speed (whether in excess of the speed limit or too fast for the road’s condition)
If, on the other hand, you suffered a serious burn in a commercial property, such as in a hotel or restaurant fire, the commercial property owner’s failure to maintain the smoke alarm system in good working order, to keep the sprinkler system running properly, to keep escape routes clear, or to do anything else reasonably necessary to protect quests from burn injuries qualifies as a breach of the responsibility owed.
The third element of your burn injury claim is that the at-fault party’s breach of the duty of care owed to you caused the accident that left you burned. Therefore, if a distracted driver plowed through a red light and t-boned your vehicle as it passed through the intersection – causing a fiery crash – that driver’s negligence will likely be found directly responsible for the accident that caused you to be burned.
Finally, your burn injuries must lead to covered damages (or losses). Because even a relatively minor burn injury can lead to fairly serious physical, financial, and emotional damages, this element is not difficult to satisfy when burn injuries are involved.
If you are burned on the job, the matter is a bit different. Work-related accidents are covered by workers’ compensation, which represents something of a compromise between you as the employee and your employer (as the potentially at-fault party). Negligence doesn’t play a role in this equation, and the intention here is to expedite the process – allowing you to bring your claim, allowing the workers’ comp insurance to cover your related damages, and allowing your employer to continue operating his or her business without fear of frequent lawsuits instigated by injured employees (especially in dangerous occupations such as construction and factory work). The damages you can seek in a workers’ compensation claim include only your medical expenses, your lost income (at a specific percentage of your regular pay for a specific amount of time), and rehabilitation (as applicable).
If your burn injury is the result of a traffic accident or a premises liability incident, the damages you can recover on are more robust, including:
- The full array of your medical expenses, including your ongoing healthcare needs
- Your lost income, including any lost earning potential into the future
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering, which is likely to be immense if you are the victim of a serious burn injury
An important component of your burn claim is ensuring that it carefully represents your full range of damages – in their entirety.
An Experienced Burn Victim Attorney in Southern Florida Is on Your Side
The resourceful burn victim attorneys at Iscoe Law Firm in Southern Florida recognize the serious nature of burn claims and focus their practice on skillfully advocating for the rights of their clients who are burn victims – and for their rightful compensation. We take your case seriously, and as a result, we are available to take your call 24 hours a day – every day of the year. To learn more about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 800-800-6500 today.