Burns are one of the most painful and long-lasting injuries that a personal injury victim can experience. They can require many expensive and difficult surgeries over years. In the meantime, the victim may never be the same again, dealing with permanent scars and pain. If your burn injury happened because of someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to significant financial compensation.

Burns are one of the most painful and long-lasting injuries that a personal injury victim can experience. They can require many expensive and difficult surgeries over years. In the meantime, the victim may never be the same again, dealing with permanent scars and pain. If your burn injury happened because of someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to significant financial compensation.

Serious burns can happen in many ways. They can occur from a fire over which you had no control or from an incident that involved only you. The result is the same; a burn can be a catastrophic injury that is a life-changing experience. Between the constant pain and grueling rehabilitation, your daily existence can be extremely unpleasant.

The legal team at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers helps individuals with serious burn injuries obtain the financial recovery they need and deserve. Contact our office to learn more about how a Tucson burn injury attorney can help.

Statistics of Burn Injuries

The American Burn Association reports that 450,000 Americans suffer burn injuries where medical treatment is necessary. Over 3,000 Americans die each year from burns. Three hundred of these fatalities are children.

Children are particularly vulnerable to burns. They do not know what is extremely hot and can hurt them. Each year, 200,000 children under the age of four suffer scalding injuries. They also suffer severe injuries from spilled hot liquids and drinks. When children suffer burns, they may live a lifetime with disfigured and discolored skin.

Some Ways That Serious Burns Happen

Here are some ways that accident victims can suffer serious burns:

  • Injuries from defective products and appliances
  • Apartment building fires
  • Electrocutions
  • Car and truck accidents
  • Contact with hot liquids

The Different Degrees of Burns

Burns can range in severity from mild to serious. The different types of burns are:

  • First degree – this affects only the first layer of skin, which becomes reddened. These do not usually need medical treatment (unless you have a severe allergic reaction)
  • Second degree – these burns go beyond the first level of the skin and affect several layers. You may experience some blistering. These burns may need minor medical care and treatment.
  • Third-degree – these are the most serious types of burns. If you are reading this page, the chances are that this is the type of burn that you or a loved one suffered. They go below the epidermis and dermis and reach into the fat. A third-degree burn will change the appearance of your skin, and it is extremely dangerous.

There are burns that the medical field categorizes as fourth-degree and higher. These burns are usually fatal in a very short time. When a loved one has died from a burn, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. You can also file a survival claim to recover for their pain and suffering before dying (which can be considerable, given that burn deaths are extremely painful and agonizing.

What Happens with a Third Degree Burn?

Third-degree burns damage the skin and tissue. They will require long-term treatment. Before the burn victim even reaches that point, a medical professional must stabilize them.

In the short term, the life-threatening risks of third-degree burns are:

  • The body may go into shock
  • Tissues and organs may not receive enough oxygen, causing severe damage
  • The burn itself may become severely infected, and the victim can develop sepsis

Third-Degree Burns Require Numerous Skin Grafts

Even when the victim has been stabilized and is out of immediate danger, they have a long road to recovery. They may never fully recover. The primary way to treat burns, in the long run, is through skin grafts. The burn usually cannot be treated with one skin graft. The number of skin grafts depends on how extensive the burns are. Skin grafts involve removing skin from one part of the body and implanting it in the affected area. Each skin graft can cost up to $30,000. They also require days or weeks of recovery that can keep you from working or doing anything else.

Burns Can Be Very Expensive to Treat

It is no wonder that the costs of treating burns can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. One study found that moderate-intensity burn treatments can top $200,000. Another study found that the victim will require a two-day hospital stay for each one percent of the body covered by burns. The costs of medical care have increased dramatically in the past ten years, including hospital stays and plastic surgeries.

Damages for Burn Victims

Medical costs are just part of the damages that a serious burn victim will face throughout their lifetime. Burns are known to be intensely painful. In addition, they may cause the victim to lose some bodily function when they lose flexibility and dexterity in the affected area.

Here are some of the other costs associated with burns:

  • Pain and suffering (this is often the highest cost associated with serious burns since the victim is in constant pain)
  • Lost wages when the burn keeps the victim from being able to work
  • Disfigurement
  • Anxiety and depression from changed appearance.

While the medical care costs can be prohibitively expensive, lost wages can even outweigh these, especially when the burn victim can never work again. One study reported that lost wages were more than three times the costs of medical care. Disfigurement and scars can lower the value of your skills and career.

The Components of Burn Injury Medical Costs

In addition, medical costs can break down into:

  • Short-term care to stabilize the patient
  • Treatment in an acute burn center
  • The cost of skin grafts and other rehabilitative surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Long-term care for severely injured patients

Burn Injuries Can Be Very Serious

Many people fail to understand the seriousness of burn injuries. Those who were around in the early 1990s remember a case where a woman was awarded over $3 million after being burned by McDonald’s coffee that was scalding hot. At the time, people looked at the case as an example of a legal system that was out of control. However, the media failed to consider the severity of the woman’s injury. The fact is that burn injury victims may never have the same life as they knew before.

The hot coffee that spilled in the plaintiff’s lap caused third-degree burns. This is the most serious type of burn, and it can even be life-threatening. The plaintiff required multiple skin grafts on her inner thighs from her injuries. McDonald’s knew that its coffee was dangerously hot because it received over 700 complaints about it, but it did nothing. All it offered the woman was $800. In fact, hot foods and liquids cause a large percentage of contact burns. These are every bit as dangerous as burns caused by fire or flame.

The point here is that treating burns is a very expensive and time-consuming process. These are not injuries to be taken lightly. If the insurance company thinks that your burn injury is a minor thing, they do not understand the severity. More likely, they know exactly how bad burns are, but they are trying to avoid paying you what you legally deserve. Your lawyer must remind them and demonstrate the severity of your injuries. If they still do not take you seriously, you should consider a lawsuit.

The Party Responsible for Your Burn Must Pay for It

The person or company who is responsible for your burn injuries must pay for them. The key is that you can prove that they were negligent. This means that they owed you a duty of care and breached it by acting unreasonably under the circumstances.

Here are some ways that defendants can act negligently in serious burn cases:

  • Manufacturing or designing a defective product such as a kitchen appliance that causes serious burn
  • Defective wiring that causes a severe electrical burn
  • Causing a car crash that results in a fire that burns a driver or passenger
  • Improperly maintaining an apartment building in a manner that causes a fire
  • Carelessly storing chemicals that cause a burn
  • Producing a needlessly and dangerously hot product that scalds or burns a customer
  • Failing to provide ways for orderly evacuation in the event of a fire

It is crucial to get enough compensation for your burn injury to pay you now and in the future. You have several options for obtaining financial compensation for your burn injuries.

When You Suffer Burns on the Job

How you receive compensation depends on where you were injured. If you suffered a burn on the job, you might file a workers’ compensation claim for your injuries. Ideally, the best thing is to file a personal injury lawsuit, but you cannot sue your employer in a negligence-based lawsuit. You will need to find a third party who is responsible for your injuries.

This can happen if:

  • You were burned in a car crash when driving the company car or truck
  • The injury occurred on a construction site when another contractor or subcontractor was to blame
  • You suffered burns from electrocution when someone else was responsible for faulty wiring
  • You suffered severe burns due to defective work equipment or tools

If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you can receive payment for part of your lost wages and your medical bills. However, you cannot receive payment for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and disfigurement. Nonetheless, you do not need to prove negligence with a workers’ compensation claim. All you need to show is that your burn was job-related. If your injury is serious enough where you need to negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement with the insurance company, Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can help you.

Filing an Insurance Claim for Burn Injuries

You may try to file an insurance claim when a person or company with an insurance policy causes your burns. Here, you will need to show that someone else was responsible for the insurance company to make you a settlement offer. However, you should prepare for that settlement offer to be for far less than you legally deserve. This is just the way that insurance companies do business. Your attorney will need to stand up for you when the settlement offer is low. You can always reject a settlement offer and file your own demand letter for more money.

Filing a Lawsuit for Negligence that Causes Burn Injuries

You can also file a lawsuit in court against the responsible party. The court process will take some time, but this is often the way to either motivate the other party to settle or get your case in front of a jury. You need enough money to pay for your injuries in the most reasonable time frame possible. However, you should not settle your case for far less than it is worth just to get some money. Then, you will find yourself needing medical procedures in the future for which you cannot pay.

Burn victims need an experienced attorney who knows how to value burn injury claims. There are some unique factors about burn claims that include the care that you may need in the future. You should have a lawyer who has handled burn cases before. At Zanes Law Injury Lawyers, we have worked with numerous burn victims and have a track record of obtaining results for our injured clients. We know when the insurance company is not on the level, and we know exactly how to handle them.

Tucson Burn Injury FAQs

 

Will I Fully Recover from My Burn Injuries?

This depends on the severity of your burn injuries. First-degree burns will heal within a couple of weeks with minimal treatment. Second-degree burns will require much more treatment, although they may not need surgery. You can expect that your skin will mostly heal within 12-18 months.

Third-degree burns are the ones that may leave a permanent injury. When the burn injury reaches the tissue and bone, it is far more challenging to recover. You may expect permanent scarring and disfigurement. Even recovering as much as possible can require years of continuous skin grafts and reconstructive procedures.

Are Burn Injuries Painful?

Absolutely. Anything that damages the skin will cause discomfort. Even minor first-degree burns can cause significant pain until they heal. Those who suffer more severe burns feel a continuous sensation of tightness as if something is pulling their skin. Burn victims will experience both acute pain in the days after their injury and chronic pain for many months afterward.

In fact, pain and suffering can be some of the most significant parts of your burn injury settlements. Beyond physical pain, burn injury victims may also experience depression and anxiety from their physical situation and the continuous amount of surgeries and treatment they need.

What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Settlement?

You should look long and hard at any offer that you receive. Just getting an offer in itself is not necessarily a victory because it can be for pennies on the dollar. Much of the fight with insurance companies comes when you are trying to get fair compensation for your claim. The first thing that you should do is have your attorney carefully examine the offer to see whether it is reasonable. If it is not, they should understand what parts of the offer are low.

You should never run to accept the first offer. In most cases, the insurance company has additional room to pay you more, and they are just trying to see what you will take. The point is that you need to be deliberate because you must sign a release when you accept a settlement that promises that you will not come back to the insurance company for more money. Always consult with an experienced lawyer before you make any decisions about accepting a settlement.

What if a Person Working for a Company Was Responsible for My Burns?

When an employee of another company caused your burns (and not your own – you cannot sue for injuries caused by a fellow employee), you can hold their employer legally responsible. There is a legal doctrine called respondeat superior. This is Latin for “let the master answer.”

This is exactly as it sounds. The employer is obligated to answer for the employee’s acts as long as their employee committed them when they were within the scope of their job.

A worker is an agent of their employer, and what they do on the job is considered the act of their employer. This means that you can file a lawsuit against a company. For your purposes, you will have access to a larger insurance policy. If your injuries exceed the amount of the company’s insurance policy, you can begin to go after their assets. While your damages are the same no matter who is responsible, there is more money to pay for your injuries when you file a claim or lawsuit against a company.

What Happens if My Loved One Died from Their Burn Injuries?

Families of someone who died from their burn injuries can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. This is the same as a negligence lawsuit, but with a death involved. You still need to show that the defendant acted unreasonably under the circumstances. In Arizona, the wrongful death law states that the surviving spouse has the first right to file a lawsuit. The children can join the lawsuit, although a family can file only one claim. The plaintiffs will usually agree on how to divide the proceeds. If they cannot agree, there will be a further court proceeding to figure out how to split the money.

If there is no surviving spouse, the children will jointly file a lawsuit. If a child died from burn injuries, the parents need to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

How Will I Receive My Burn Injury Settlement?

You have two options of how to receive the money from your lawsuit settlement:

  1. A lump-sum payment
  2. A structured settlement

You should discuss with your attorney which option works best for you. If you anticipate a lifetime of necessary care, you should consider a structured settlement because this will make sure that the money is there for you when you need it. This works like an annuity that pays you money gradually over time, and it flattens the amount of money available to you.

At Zanes Law Injury Lawyers, we work with our clients on different types of settlements, and we can find a solution that works best for you. Clients have completely different financial situations that require their own analysis. If you are receiving a large amount of money, you will need to do some upfront planning because you will only get one settlement. There are financial issues to consider beforehand.

When Should I Seek Medical Attention After a Burn?

The sooner that you seek medical attention after a burn, the quicker you can stabilize. Third-degree burns can be life-threatening. The bacteria can cause a severe infection, which is commonly a cause of death. Generally, most injured people will know that they need immediate help for third-degree burns. The issue is that many people will delay in seeking doctor’s treatment for second-degree burns. These can still be serious burns that can result in permanent disfigurement. You should always err on the side of getting medical help. If you delay in seeking medical help, an insurance company may claim that you made your situation worse, and they can try to cut your recovery.

When Should I Hire a Lawyer After My Burn Injury?

When you have suffered a serious injury, you cannot afford to be without legal representation for any real length of time. Everything you do after an injury needs to be with an eye towards the claims process. You cannot have any random dealings with the insurance company because they are always taking notes, ready to use whatever they can against you. In addition, you need to begin preparing a claim, even if you will wait a while to file it,

Most people do not understand the legal process on their own. It can be complicated, especially for people who have no prior knowledge and are dealing with serious injuries. At the same time, the insurance company will not do any favors for people who are representing themselves. Quite the contrary, these are the people who the insurance company will take advantage of the most. If you cannot call a lawyer on your own, your family member should make the call. It is best to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have an experienced professional in your corner.

What Are Some of the Side Effects of Serious Burns?

There are numerous short-term complications from burns that require immediate medical attention.

They include:

  • Bacterial infections that can lead to sepsis
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Loss of bodily fluids (including blood)
  • Breathing problems when a fire caused the burn

The body can have a severe inflammatory response to a burn. This can impact the major bodily organs and can cause very low blood pressure when the body goes into shock.

In addition, burn injuries will cause excruciating pain. The victim will often feel like their skin is extremely tight. They can also suffer long-term problems with bones and joints when the skin tightens around them.

How Much Is My Burn Injury Claim Worth?

The most important factor in deciding how much your claim is worth is the particular injuries that you have suffered. Even if two people suffer identical injuries, the amounts they can recover may differ based on unique situations. For example, workers with a higher salary will have a larger claim because their lost wages are higher.

In addition, how much your claim is worth may differ from what you get, depending on how hard you negotiate with the insurance company. People are very focused on the value of their claim without realizing that the insurance company will never readily offer you that value.

At Zanes Law Injury Lawyers, we know how much claims are worth from our extensive experience. This takes away one of the natural advantages that insurance companies have when they have better information than you. Our clients are protected from insurance company overreach because we know exactly when they are trying to save money at your expense.

How Long Will My Burn Injury Case Take?

Every burn injury victim wants to get their money as soon as they can. This is understandable because the costs of an injury can add up fast. However, accident victims will need some patience because the personal injury process can take time to complete. The insurance company does not want it to happen fast because they want to put up as many roadblocks as possible to make it hard for you.

A quick settlement check may not be a good thing for you (unless it is for the policy limits) because it means that you may be leaving money on the table. The insurance company is more than happy to get a low settlement offer on the table just to test what you may be willing to accept. You should view that more as the start of the process rather than the end.

Preparing yourself for the prospect that the settlement process can take time will help you get the best possible offer. If your case must go to court, you can expect even more time to be added to the process. This is why you need to look at your legal options at the first possible opportunity after your injury.

Will My Burn Injury Case Settle?

Most personal injury cases do not end up in front of a jury. They will settle at some point beforehand. Whether that is through the insurance company claims process or after an attorney files a lawsuit depends on the case. However, jury trials are very rare. From your perspective, you may not want to go through the ordeal of a trial.

In addition, it can take longer for you to get your money. From the insurance company’s perspective, they may not want to incur the expense of defending against your case and the risk that a jury can award you far more money than you would receive in a settlement. Usually, it is in both party’s interests to settle, but the insurance company can force you to go to trial by denying your claim or not negotiating reasonably.

How Much Does a Burn Injury Lawyer Cost?

If money is a reason why you will not hire an attorney, you should understand exactly how personal injury attorneys are paid (or are not paid). Many other attorneys will require you to pay them a retainer upfront, and they will send you bills for each hour of their time. This is not the case at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers.

We do not require any money upfront out of your pocket, and we will not send you any bills. We work on a contingency basis. This means that our payment is contingent on your receiving money from your claim. If you do, we receive a percentage of your settlement. If you do not, we receive nothing for our time and effort. This reduces the risk to you.

Money concerns should never get in the way of getting the legal help that you need from a Tucson burn injury lawyer.

Experienced and Aggressive Tucson Burn Injury Lawyers

Doug Zanes

Doug Zanes, Tucson Burn Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one have suffered burn injuries, you can call Zanes Law Injury Lawyers and leave the hard work of your legal claim to us. We will speak with you and learn the facts of your case. Then, we will evaluate your case and let you know of your legal options.

You can count on us to fight for your legal rights when the insurance company wants to get away without paying you or offering you less than you deserve.

Call us today at (602) 999-9999 or contact us online to learn how we can help you.

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