The American Burn Association (ABA) estimates that 486,000 patients seek treatment for burn injuries in U.S. hospitals each year. Severe burns not only require expensive medical treatment, such as skin grafts, but they can also cause permanent disfigurement or loss of limb. Many burn victims also experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety.
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Am I Entitled to Compensation For My Burn Injury?
For people with severe burn injuries, these secondary complications make it difficult or impossible to earn a living. However, if someone else’s negligence caused your burn injuries, then you may be entitled to compensation that can help cover the costs associated with the physical and emotional trauma. A Washington, DC burn injury lawyer from our firm can help determine if you have legal options to recover compensation.
As a personal injury law firm in Washington, DC, Regan Zambri Long PLLC has more than 100 years of combined experience in personal injury law, including claims involving severe burns. We can investigate the accident or product defect that caused your injuries and determine all responsible parties. Our law firm has a reputation for success in complex personal injury claims involving burns. For example, in one product liability claim, we recovered a $3.8 million settlement for a five-year-old child who suffered burn injuries caused by a defective home appliance.
Are There Different Types of Burn Injuries?
Serious burn injuries may result from exposure to chemicals, electricity, radiation, or heat. Such exposure can damage soft tissue, including the skin, muscles, and nerves. Generally, burn injuries are classified based on severity. The four main types of burn injuries are:
First-degree burns. These types of burns damage only the outer layer of skin. First-degree burns are mild and may heal quickly without any secondary complications.
Second-degree burns. Second-degree burns damage both the outer and middle layers of skin, often causing blistering and infection. These types of burns are often treated in the emergency room, but, in some cases, they may require inpatient hospitalization.
Third–degree burns. Third-degree burns involve damage to the outer and inner layers of skin. These burns often cause serious secondary health complications for survivors and may necessitate amputation of severely burned fingers, toes, or limbs. Treatment may involve skin grafts and prolonged hospitalization. In many cases, permanent disfigurement results.
Fourth-degree burns. This is the most serious type of burn and involves damage to the muscle, tendons, and bones. Depending on the circumstances, fourth-degree burns can result in loss of limb, extensive disfigurement, disability, and/or wrongful death.
The severity of a burn injury has a direct impact on the financial and psychological costs to victims and their families. Second, third, and fourth-degree burns are more likely to cause disfigurement, amputations, and other complications. These may severely reduce the quality of life and require extensive medical care.
What Are the Effects of a Burn Injury?
Burn injuries are financially and emotionally costly because they can lead to multiple secondary complications. Many individuals with severe burns will require skin grafts, psychological therapy, and rehabilitation.
Common secondary complications may include:
Disfigurement. Disfigurement is one of the most common complications caused by severe burn injuries. In many cases, victims may struggle with self-esteem, making it difficult to maintain a professional or social life. They may require cosmetic surgeries to repair the damage caused by the injury.
Psychological trauma. It is not uncommon for accident survivors to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the pain and trauma of burns. PTSD may cause or intensify depression, anxiety, and insomnia. People with this disorder may have flashbacks and panic attacks. Thus, the burn injury treatment process often includes mental health services.
Loss of limb. Burn injury treatment may involve the amputation of one or more limbs. These individuals then may require prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, or home modifications.
Joint and mobility issues. Burn injuries can damage the elasticity of the skin and impair movement. As a result, burn injury survivors may have difficulty moving fingers or limbs, causing permanent disability.
What Types of Accidents Can Cause a Burn Injury?
Although exposure to fire is a common reason people suffer burn injuries, there are many other causes. According to the Mayo Clinic, burn injuries can result from contact with hot liquids, metal, and glass. Electrical currents, steam, smoke, and chemicals may also cause severe burns. Some of the most common causes of burn injuries include:
Motor vehicle accidents. Car crashes and truck accidents are major cause of vehicle fires and burn injuries. Usually, crash survivors may file injury claims against the at-fault driver responsible for the accident.
Work accidents. Unsafe work conditions may lead to burn injuries. Workers can be burned by exposure to fire, molten materials, chemicals, and electricity. Deep fryers in fast food restaurants can also cause severe burn injuries. In cases where third parties cause work accidents, injured workers may be able to file a third party lawsuit in addition to a workers compensation claim.
Defective products. Defective appliances, consumer electronics, and vehicles may cause burn injuries. For example, defective lithium-ion batteries in smartphones and electronic cigarettes may explode and cause burn injuries. Defective cars and auto parts can cause fires and severe burns. In these cases, it may be possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, retailer, and/or wholesaler.
Structural fires. Landlords who ignore fire safety regulations or allow unsafe conditions may put tenants at risk for burn injuries. For instance, a landlord may neglect to install smoke alarms, which could cause a resident to become trapped in the event of a fire. Tenants may then be able to file premises liability lawsuits.
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Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in the Washington DC area or the surrounding counties? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.