Burn Injuries, Negligence, and Your Rights
Burn injuries can be dangerous, terrifying, and may lead to permanent disfigurement or disability. In Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia, if someone else’s negligence is the reason you have sustained a burn injury, contact a Bethesda burn injury attorney as quickly as possible.
If you continue reading, you will learn what steps to take if you become the victim of a burn injury. You will learn what your legal rights and options are as an injured victim of negligence, and you will also learn where to turn for the legal help you will need.
If you suffer a burn injury because another person was negligent or careless, you are probably eligible to file and pursue a personal injury claim with help from the right Bethesda personal injury attorney.
To succeed with a lawsuit arising from a burn injury, the victim (or “plaintiff”) and his or her lawyer must prove that the other party (the “defendant”) was negligent, that the negligence was a direct cause of the injury, and that the victim should be compensated for his or her damages.
Who May Be Held Liable for Burn Injuries?
The law requires property owners, including landlords, to keep properties maintained in a way that reasonably ensures safety. For some owners, this means installing and maintaining smoke alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers, and it may also mean posting exit instructions in plain view.
Product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are required by the laws in every state to make sure that the products they manufacture, distribute, and sell, when used as intended, don’t cause consumers to suffer burn injuries.
What Are the Important Statistics Regarding Burn Injuries?
Consumers have suffered burn injuries in incidents involving vehicles, exploding cigarette lighters and cell phones, and all varieties of electrical appliances and devices. In fact, the American Burn Association has reported that:
- In the U.S., over 450,000 burn injuries requiring medical care are reported each year.
- Children under age 15 suffer nearly a quarter of all burn injuries in the U.S.
- Children under age 5 are 2.4 times more likely than adults to need burn injury treatment.
What Causes Burn Injuries?
A burn injury can happen accidentally and abruptly in virtually any scenario, but in the United States, the most common burn injuries are caused by:
- ovens and stove-top burners
- steam, hot water, and other hot liquid
- direct contact with a flame
- exposure to toxic or dangerous substances or chemicals
- aged, frayed, or improperly installed wiring
In all of these cases, however, human error and negligence are the underlying causes of almost all burn injuries, and almost all of these injuries are preventable, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Can the Number of Burn Injuries Be Reduced?
For both the workplace and the home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these recommendations for preventing burn injuries:
- Employers need to develop escape plans for their employees, and families should develop escape plans for their homes. Determine how you would escape from each room, and designate a location for family members to meet.
- At home, have a smoke alarm on every floor and near any rooms where people sleep. Replace your batteries twice every year. Smoke alarms should be tested once a month.
- You can buy a fire extinguisher for home or office use at any hardware store. Keep one near the rooms where fires are most likely: the kitchen and the garage.
- Do not store hazardous chemicals under a sink or anywhere within the reach of a child.
- Never leave the kitchen unattended when you’re cooking.
- Set your hot water heater at or under 120 degrees to avoid scalds.
- Frayed or damaged electrical wiring must be replaced immediately.
After a Burn Injury, What Steps Should You Take?
If a burn injury happens to you or to a member of your family, these are your priorities:
- Obtain medical treatment immediately. This is the first and paramount priority.
- If someone else’s carelessness or negligence caused a burn injury, contact a Bethesda burn injury attorney at once to discuss your case. Your attorney will identify the liable party or parties, add up your damages, and advocate for the justice you deserve.
- Learn more, and consider joining a support group. A number of groups in the Bethesda and D.C. areas offer support and resources to the victims of burn injuries and their loved ones.
How Will a Bethesda Burn Injury Attorney Help You?
Burn injuries are costly. Victims may require skin grafts, psychological counseling, and at-home care. Burn injuries sometimes never heal entirely, and some victims must deal with the effects for the remainder of their lives.
If you suffer a burn injury, do not take a first settlement offer from the liable party’s insurance company. A first offer is almost always going to be a “low-ball” offer. Instead, take the case directly to a Bethesda burn injury attorney and let that attorney do the negotiating on your behalf.
If you are the victim of a burn injury that happened because someone else was negligent, the law entitles you to recover full compensation for current and projected future medical expenses, lost wages and projected future lost earnings, personal pain and suffering, and all related damages.
What If You Suffer a Burn Injury at Work?
If you suffer a burn injury at work, you are probably eligible to receive workers’ compensation payments, so you will be barred from bringing a lawsuit against the employer. Workers’ comp provides only minimal benefits and offers no reimbursement for personal pain and suffering.
A Bethesda personal injury attorney can determine whether a third party – that is, a party other than your employer – may have any responsibility for your work-related burn injury. If so, you can probably bring a personal injury lawsuit against that third party with your attorney’s help.
What Will It Cost to Begin the Legal Process?
It costs you nothing to find out more about your rights after a burn injury. Your first legal consultation with a Bethesda burn injury lawyer is free, and you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers compensation on your behalf.
After a burn injury – or any severe injury caused by negligence – take advantage of the no-cost, no-obligation first meeting offered by a personal injury lawyer. You’ll receive the personalized advice you need, and you’ll have an aggressive injury attorney who will fight on your behalf.