According to the American Burn Association, about 500,000 people each year seek medical treatment for burns, and about 40,000 of those require hospitalization. Most burns are not fatal, but those who suffer severe burns often need skin grafting and one or more corrective surgeries, which generally require extensive recovery.
Sometimes burns are so severe and painful that victims must remain in a medically induced coma while their injuries heal, making burns among the most harmful of all types of personal injuries.
If you or a loved one has sustained a burn injury, California law entitles you to seek compensation for damages in civil court from the negligent party who caused your burn. You deserve full and fair compensation for the long-term pain and permanent scarring that often follow a burn injury. Contact the San Jose burn injury lawyers at Golden State Lawyers at (408) 279-4222 for a free consultation and to discuss your case and learn how we can help after a burn injury accident.
Golden State Lawyers’s Results in Burn Injury Cases
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Golden State Lawyers have been advocating for burn victims and other accident injury victims for more than twenty years. Our commitment to professional excellence has resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars in settlements and judgments for our clients. Recent cases involving burns include a $280,000 settlement for a client who suffered a scalp burn during a salon visit and $7,500,000 for a client who suffered burns in a construction accident.
These cases only serve as examples and do not guarantee specific results in your case. Each case has distinctive characteristics that will impact the amount of compensation an injured person might be received, and the dedicated San Jose burn injury lawyers at Golden State Lawyers will diligently pursue the best outcome for your unique case.
Causes of Serious Burn Injuries
When you seek medical treatment after you or a loved one suffers a burn injury, you should share the source of your burn with the physician who treats you. Burns occur as a result of five main sources: the sun, heat, radiation, harsh chemicals, and electricity. How a doctor treats a burn and the potential long-term effects of the burn vary based on the source and the depth of the burn. Below are several common causes of burns:
- Hot liquid or steam. Dining in a restaurant, cooking at home, and taking a bath are a few activities that might cause someone to be scalded, which is a burn injury from hot liquid or steam. Young children who are left unsupervised in the kitchen or bathroom are especially at risk for encountering scalding liquids. Chefs, sous chefs, and line cooks also might sustain a scald injury when cooking in busy kitchens. Waitstaff at a coffee shop or cafe might spill hot coffee, espresso, soup, tea, or other hot liquid on a customer.
- Chemicals. Many common daily activities put people in the vicinity of chemicals that might burn the skin. These types of chemicals are dangerous to inhale, but skin exposure means painful chemical burns. Some common chemicals include ammonia, bleach, chlorine, denture cleaners, teeth whitening products, and battery acid.
- Fires. Fires can start for many different reasons. In addition to purposeful fires for arson, burning trash, or bonfires, there are many circumstances that can lead to accidental fires. Those who throw cigarette butts on the ground without extinguishing them, traffic collisions, and flammable liquids like gasoline, ammonia, butane, hydrogen, and propane, can all ignite dangerous fires. Those who are trapped in a fire in their house, their car, or another building risk severe burns that are likely to leave permanent scars.
- Medical treatment. Radiation is a common form of treatment for cancer patients who have large tumors because it can reduce the size or eliminate some tumors. Physicians also use radiation for non-cancerous tumors and to treat thyroid disease and other types of blood disorders. Radiation exposure is also a risk for those who need x-rays and other scans. Too much radiation exposure can lead to severe internal damage and burns.
- Live electrical outlets and loose wires. Most people are around electricity every minute of the day. When loose wires from deteriorating or shoddy electrical work make direct contact with the human body, electrocution is likely. Young children are especially vulnerable to electricity-related injuries when unprotected outlets are around. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are four types of electrical injuries.
- Flash injuries are superficial injuries during which an electrical current does not travel through a person’s body.
- Flame injuries refer to a situation when an electrical current throws a spark and ignites clothing.
- Lighting injuries occur when an electrical current flows quickly through the body in a short burst at high voltage; this is the same concept as a person getting struck by lightning.
- True electrocution injuries occur when a person’s body becomes part of an electrical circuit.
San Jose Burn Injury FAQ
After incurring a painful burn injury, it is common to have questions about the insurance claims process and legal process. At such times, the guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer is imperative.
What should I do if I didn’t see a doctor right after the accident?
One of the critical pieces of information that insurance companies will look at when evaluating your burn injury claim is documentation from your medical provider. Many people who do not initially believe that their burn is serious opt to skip going to the doctor for a medical evaluation after they are injured. If you did not initially seek medical attention directly after your burn injury, it is advisable to go to see a doctor as soon as possible.
What type of documentation should I collect to show the extent of my injury?
There are many types of documents that help support your claim.
Some of the information that insurance companies typically looks at include:
- Medical documentation, doctor’s evaluation notes, and prescriptions
- Medical bills
- The police report regarding your burn injury (in auto accident cases)
- Testimony from anyone who witnessed the accident
- Photos and video of the accident
- Proof of lost wages and/or a change of earnings
Benefits of working with our experienced burn injury attorneys in San Jose include assistance collecting the right documentation to support your claim, the attorney communicating and negotiating with the insurance company so you can rest and focus on recovering from your injuries, and assistance calculating the full value of your case.
Should I pay my medical bills if I sustained a burn injury by no fault of my own?
Following a burn injury, and many other types of cases, it can take a long time to reach the point that an insurance company is prepared to settle a case. In the meantime, you will start receiving medical bills in the mail for the various hospital visits, medication, and therapy you have received in treatment for your burn injury. These bills can quickly add up, adding both financial and mental stress to an already challenging situation.
While it can be confusing to determine who is responsible for your medical bills following an accident, make sure you submit your bills to your insurance company so that they can see the cost of your medical expenses. Keep in mind that the insurance company will not pay for your bills directly. As bills arrive, you will be responsible for paying them. The insurance companies are looking for the total cost of your burn injury, and this is something that your attorney can help to track and communicate.
Who can be held responsible for my burn injury?
One of the first steps that your attorney can assist you with is building a case establishing liability of the at-fault party responsible for your burn injury. Depending on how and where you were injured, the liable party could be your employer, a company, a property owner or perhaps another individual.
Establishing liability will determine which party is held responsible for causing your injury.
What are my options if my insurance claim was denied?
Learning that a responsible party’s insurance carrier has denied or undervalued your claim can be frustrating and stressful. While this might seem like an unhappy end of the road, remember that the insurance company’s decision is not final. There are many different reasons that a claim might be initially denied, and your burn injury attorney can guide you through the process of taking your case to court if a fair settlement offer is not made.
What type of compensation could I possibly receive from a burn injury claim?
A serious burn injury can be incredibly disruptive to your life. From emotional distress to financial loss, there are a lot of additional stresses involved with a burn injury. These injuries can also result substantial expenses. Between visits to the doctor and missing time at work as you recover, a burn injury can have a large impact on your life.
Some of the different damages that you might receive after a burn injury include, but are not limited to:
- Lost wages due to time off work
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Outpatient and physical therapy
- Reconstructive surgery
- Lost commissions, bonuses, and future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Your attorney will put together a full list of damages when working on your case. Once the documentation is collected and submitted to the insurance company, the insurance company will evaluate the claim. If it seems that the settlement offer will not cover the losses resulting from a burn injury, your attorney can help to negotiate a better settlement offer or file your case in court.
If you have experienced a serious burn injury and believe that another party is at-fault for causing the accident in which you sustained the injury, talk with our skilled San Jose burn injury lawyers as soon as possible.
Contact Golden State Lawyers Today if You Suffered a Severe Burn Injury
A severe burn can be a life-changing event, which may include a long, painful recovery. If another party’s actions caused your burn injury, you deserve compensation for the economic and non-economic damages that you’ve sustained. This includes current and future costs for medical treatment, current and future lost wages, pain and suffering, and scarring and disfigurement.
Let the compassionate and skilled legal team at Golden State Lawyers handle your case, while you focus on healing and coping with the pain of recovering from a burn. We can help you through this difficult time, investigate the cause of your burn, uncover relevant facts to support your case against the defense, and advocate for you each step of the way. If you live in San Jose or the surrounding area, contact Golden State Lawyers online or at (408) 279-4222 for a free consultation and to learn how we can help after a burn injury accident.