Burn Injuries: When to Hire a Lawyer

Burn Injuries: When to Hire a Lawyer

Burns are something we all experience: Everyone has touched a hot pan or scalded themselves with water at some point in their lives. But serious burns may not cross our minds – until they happen to us or someone we love. It’s more common than you realize: The American Burn Association estimates that more than 480,000 burn injuries per year require medical treatment. In cases where a serious burn might have been caused by someone else, it’s worth it to ask yourself: Does this qualify as a personal injury claim? Let’s dive in.

What Are the Different Types of Burn Injuries?

Burns can happen anywhere, in many different situations – in the home, at work, during a car accident, and when you might least expect it.

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns are caused by strong acids, industrial detergents, solvents, and other chemical agents when they contact the skin or eyes. These agents can be either liquid or powder, and can cause burns when spilled or splashed, or when pressure builds up inside a container and causes the contents to explode. Chemical burns are very common in the workplace, but can also happen at home from household products.

Electrical Burns

These burns are caused when the skin comes in contact with an electrical current. The human body conducts electricity, so the person is typically left with an entry and exit wound indicating where the current went. Electrical burns are common on construction and industrial sites when wires are left exposed, but can also happen at home from electrical outlets and appliances.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns are caused by an external heat source other than electricity. When the heat source touches the skin, it damages the tissues and causes cell death and charring. Thermal burns are caused by hot metals, hot liquids, steam, and open flames. Some of the most common situations that cause thermal burns are car accidents, truck accidents, cooking, and home fires. They’re also common in workers who work around steam and hot liquids.

Radiation Burns

This is a type of burn involving prolonged exposure to radiation, causing redness, blistering, and cancer in high doses. In fact, the most common type of radiation burn is a sunburn from exposure to UV rays. You probably won’t hire a lawyer for a sunburn. However, if you suffered burns from overexposure during X-rays or radiation therapy, you may have a personal injury claim.

Can You Sue for a Burn Injury?

Yes – if your burn injury was caused by the negligence of another person, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. “Negligence” means the other party had a duty to protect you and failed to do so, resulting in your burn injury. Some examples might be if a manufacturer failed to put an appropriate warning on a chemical, a property owner didn’t warn you about exposed electrical wires, or an employer didn’t provide proper training or protective equipment.

If you were injured by a faulty appliance or other product, the manufacturer could be at fault under “strict liability” laws. Under these laws, they can be held responsible for your burn injury even if they didn’t know the product was defective. A good burn injury lawyer in Oklahoma can help you determine if you have a claim.

How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Burn Injury?

There is no fixed amount of compensation as each case is unique. The damages you can be awarded for a burn injury vary greatly, depending on:

  • The severity of the burn and extent of the treatment required
  • Any permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • The amount of pain and suffering you experienced

You can file a burn injury claim for both monetary and nonmonetary damages. Monetary damages includes things like medical costs and lost wages, which can be calculated by adding up bills and lost time at work. If you totally lost the ability to work and you were the primary breadwinner, compensation should cover the cost of providing for your family, as well.

In addition to higher medical bills and lost work, extensive treatment can result in greater pain and suffering. This is a nonmonetary damage that includes emotional and mental problems like depression and self-esteem issues.

Can You Get Workers Compensation for Burn Injuries?

Yes – if your burn injury happened at work, you can pursue a workers compensation claim. Workers comp is a mandatory type of insurance that helps cover the costs of medical bills, rehabilitation, and lost wages for those injured on the job. Unlike a personal injury claim, you should be eligible for workers comp regardless of how your injury happened or whether it was caused by someone else’s negligence.

If your injury was caused by someone else, you can receive both workers compensation and also file a lawsuit. And you might be surprised to learn that fire injury attorneys in Oklahoma can help navigate a workers compensation claim in addition to your lawsuit.

When to Hire a Burn Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma

Not all burn victims can get compensation for their injuries, but some people may not even know they can benefit from hiring a burn injury lawyer. You should hire one when:

The Burns Are Severe

Burn injuries range from first-degree, which is the least severe, to fourth-degree, which is extremely severe. First-degree burns only damage the outer layer of the skin – this causes redness, swelling, and pain, but they can usually be treated at home and you’ll recover quickly. Second-degree burns and higher, on the other hand, can result in medical bills.

Third- and fourth-degree burns are the most severe. They typically require painful, expensive, and lengthy treatments like debridement and skin grafting. They can also leave you with permanent damage, scarring, and disfigurement. If your burns are this severe, you have a good chance of receiving compensation.

Someone Else’s Negligence Caused Your Burn

As mentioned, to file a personal injury claim in Oklahoma, your burn must be the result of someone else’s negligence. You need to be able to prove the following:

  • The defendant was either directly responsible for causing the burn, they knew their actions could cause harm, or their negligence led to the situation in which the burn occurred.
  • Their failure to protect you from that situation resulted in your burn injury, and it would not have occurred otherwise.
  • You suffered personal harm from the burn injury, for example, you needed extensive medical attention or lost the ability to work.

Keep in mind that even if you suffered a burn as a result of something you did, the actual cause of the burn could be someone else’s fault. For example, if you used a household cleaner without gloves on, but there was no warning on the bottle, the manufacturer could be liable for your burns. If you accidentally touched an exposed wire in a store, the property owner could be liable.

The Bottom Line

The negligence of employers, property owners, product manufacturers, and irresponsible drivers results in thousands of burns every year, and you might not even know you can get compensation for these injuries. If you’ve suffered a serious injury, you should have an experienced burn injury lawyer in Oklahoma evaluate your case.

Oklahoma Injury Guy has years of experience with burn injuries resulting from a variety of accidents and other situations. We can help you determine if someone else’s negligence caused your injury – and what you can do about it. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.