Are you suffering from a burn injury that someone else’s negligence has caused? Does it seem that your recovery will be costly, lengthy, and painful? You should not have to forge ahead on your own dollar and without the utmost comfort possible. If you have been badly injured and it was not your fault, contact a Charleston burn injury lawyer today for legal counsel backed by 150+ years of collective experience.
DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC offers contingency fees to our clients, which means we do not get paid unless you are handed a settlement through negotiations or courtroom litigation. If and when we do get paid, we only receive a percentage of your settlement amount so you never have to worry about paying us more than you get. When you pair up our contingency fee agreements with our free case evaluations, you can meet with our team for nothing upfront and nothing out of pocket.
Having a lawyer at your side gives your claim the best chance of success. We’re here to represent your rights. When we look into your case, we’ll gather evidence to find out how your injury occurred, who was negligent, and what the accident cost you. Your settlement should reflect the damages you suffered so you can get back on your feet.
Burn Injury Statistics
These injuries are not only painful and can cause disfigurement, but in serious cases, they can also result in fatality. Although statistics show that approximately 96 percent of burn victims survive, death is still a real possibility.
According to the American Burn Association, around 486,000 people need to receive medical treatment for burn injuries each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that burn injuries are more deadly for women and children.
On top of that, socioeconomic status greatly impacts who suffers from burn injuries. Some factors of socioeconomic status that contribute to burn injuries are industrial jobs where workers are exposed to fires, poverty, ignored safety measures, inability to pay for safer housing or safety repairs, young children having to cook for themselves and other children, and alcohol abuse and smoking. These aren’t the only factors that create an environment where fires and burns are possible, but they are some of the leading situations.
The situation that caused your accident might not have been your fault. A burn injury attorney from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can help determine who caused your burn, if negligence was involved, and what damages you’re eligible to receive compensation for. Our legal team will guide you through the process with the care and strength that you need.
Causes of Burn Injuries
When people act negligently around hazardous areas or dangerous devices, or if they do not follow proper safety protocols, a scorch injury can cause serious harm in a split second and without warning.
Accidents or incidents that may result in a burn injury include:
However, one does not have to necessarily work in environments where burn injuries have a higher chance of occurring for them to happen. Some burn accidents can happen in your house. There are various types of burn injuries that one can get. Let’s look into the types of burns and what causes them.
- Thermal. A thermal burn happens when your skin touches a hot substance. This could be a hot metal surface, scalding liquids, or open flames.
- Chemical. Those who work around dangerous chemicals may be exposed to acids or other toxic substances that can cause serious chemical burns.
- Electrical. If electrical wiring is frayed or someone touches anything conducting an electrical current, you could get electrical burns. Electricians are at risk for these types of injuries. If you have an appliance or something that plugs in and you see fraying wires or something begins to smoke when it’s plugged in, immediately unplug the cord as it’s no longer safe to use.
- Friction. A common injury for motorcyclists, friction burns occur when an object rubs against your skin, causing the skin to break. The injury could look like a scrape or it could be much more severe.
- Radiation. Everyone is familiar with sunburn. It’s a common form of a radiation burn. However, if long term exposure occurs, the sunburn can become more severe.
- Cold. In some cases, extremely cold temperatures can freeze your skin and cause cold burns. This is known as “frostbite.”
In addition to knowing how the types above occur, it’s also important to reduce the risk of them from happening. Let’s take a look at other risks that can result in a burn injury.
Top Fire Hazards in the Home
Fire hazards that can result in terrible injuries may seem harmless until there’s an issue. Make sure to be alert when you’re lighting candles, match plugs with the correct electrical outlet, using portable space heaters and regularly cleaning woodstoves.
The kitchen can be a place where scalds occur. When you’re cooking over the stove, watch out for hot oil and water. If these splash and get on your skin, you can get a scald injury. Also wear close-fitting clothing so nothing can catch fire. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove. You may not think you need to, but leaving a stovetop unattended could result in a fire.
Additionally, if you’re cooking outside and using a grill, set the grill at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings. You should also make sure you’re not grilling with anything above you. If the eaves of the house or branches are above you, reposition the grill so you’re clear.
When you’re using electrical outlets, don’t overload the outlet. The same goes for extension cords. You should also look into using surge protectors. This is an extra layer of protection when there’s a surge in power. Without one, the power surge can fry the appliance’s wire and it may not work or be safe to use anymore. The surge protector diverts this so your appliances are safe.
While you can take safety precautions to reduce the chances of an accident occurring, someone’s negligent actions may still harm you. This is where you can seek experienced representation for help.
Your lawyer will listen to your account of the injury as well as review your medical records to find the source of what harmed you. Your medical records will also reflect the severity of your injury, which can be used to get you the compensation you deserve.
Causes of Fires in Apartments
Sometimes, a fire can start when a negligent landlord isn’t keeping the building up to code and maintaining fire safety measures so tenants can get to safety in case there’s a fire. For example, landlords should make sure the apartments have:
- Smoke Alarms. These alarms need to be in the rooms and in working order. A common issue with some cheaper smoke alarms is that some do not immediately detect more smoke in the air. Seeing as apartment fires typically start small and can grow, the smoke alarm may not go off until the fire is much more dangerous.
- Fire Escapes. The building’s fire escapes need to be accessible and provide people with a way to exit the building and get to a safe area.
- Fire Extinguishers. The floor should have a working fire extinguisher that tenants can use in case of emergency. If there isn’t one to be found, then tenants may suffer severe injuries.
- Clear Escape Routes. The exits to the building should be clearly marked so those getting out of the building know where to go immediately.
There are many ways that tenants can suffer harm because of their landlord. The apartment could have overloaded electrical circuits, frayed wires, and poor appliances. Also, they could fail to maintain the building’s boiler and furnace.
They should make sure the laundry room is kept safe as well. Laundry rooms can be a hazard if the dryers aren’t vented properly. When a dryer runs, it accumulates lint. This lint needs to be cleaned regularly. If there is a build-up, this can easily become a fire hazard. The vent should be cleared about every three months.
If you have your washer and dryer in-unit, then make sure to clean the lint filter after each use of the dryer. Lint may also collect in the dryer. Clear it out and dispose of the lint—don’t keep it near the dryer. Before using the dryer you should make sure it’s connected properly. If your dryer seems to be not working as well as it usually does, there could be a blockage in the vent. In this situation, contacting professionals is the safest route to deal with the issue.
While each state has different laws that landlords need to follow, our lawyers will examine the cause of the fire and how the landlord failed to comply with the law. There are also federal regulations they need to adhere to. When a fire starts, people need to be able to get out as quickly as possible. In a large building when people are leaving at the same time, the panic can make exiting difficult. When everyone can see where they need to go, there is less cause for confusion that can cause panic.
However, just because there was a fire in the building doesn’t mean it was automatically the landlord’s fault. Another tenant could have caused the fire. They may have left a space heater on for too long, forgot about a candle that they left near drapes, or left something plugged in for too long. If another tenant’s negligence led to the start of a fire and resulted in you sustaining injuries, then your lawyer will go over your options with you.
If you’ve been injured because of a locked or blocked fire exit, faulty smoke detectors, or because another tenant acted negligently, you may have grounds for a claim. You deserve the opportunity to seek justice when you were wrongfully injured.
When we’re fighting for you, our attorneys will take the degree of your injuries into account, as they can range from minor to deadly. Let’s look into how dangerous burn injuries can get.
Degrees of Severity for Burn Injuries
The worse your burn injury, the longer it will likely take for you to recover. The longer it takes to recover, if a full recovery is even possible, the costlier the medical treatments become. If you have been hurt, understanding the severity of your injury can help you determine how much compensation you should pursue from the liable party.
The classification of burns ranges from the following:
- First-degree: Reddening of the skin with irritation; normally only requires first aid.
- Second-degree: Blistering of the skin accompanied by lingering pain if not treated properly.
- Third-degree: Flesh whitens, and pain is severe; requires immediate medical attention.
- Fourth-degree: Skin will blacken, and nerves, muscle, and bone may be destroyed; full recovery is not guaranteed, even with emergency medical care.
- Fifth-and sixth-degree: Widespread or deep burns that are not considered to be survivable.
Burns can cause health complications for the rest of your life. If the injury damages nerves, you may not fully recover the use of the affected area. For example, a burn on your arm could prevent you from being able to use its full range of motion. This can limit you in completing everyday tasks like reaching up to get something off a high shelf or even writing a note.
If your injury prevents you from returning to work, our lawyers will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Choosing between paying a past medical bill or getting necessary ongoing treatment isn’t a choice you should have to make.
Burn Injury Treatments
Treatments depends on the severity and degree of the injury. It’s important to know the different types of treatments that you might be given for your burn injury so you better understand what is happening to and in your body. In general, these are the common ways that burns are treated, from mild to severe:
- First aid. When you suffer from a burn, first aid is an essential start to your healing process. Run the burn under cool water, but don’t apply ice, oil, or cotton to the area.
- Aloe vera gel. For mild wounds, like sunburn, aloe vera gel will help cool and heal the wound.
- Antibiotic cream. Thermal burns, however, require medicated and antibiotic creams to help heal them. These can be covered with gauze after the cream is applied.
- Antibiotics. As burns get more severe on the degree grade, patients might be administered antibiotics to help heal and fight infection in the wound from the inside of their body, rather than a topical solution.
- Pain medications. Burns are extremely painful. Pain medication, whether it’s over the counter or prescription level, can help the patient manage the pain through their healing process.
- Skin grafts. In extreme cases, patients might need skin grafts to heal. A skin graft is a section of skin taken from a healthy portion of skin from the patient, or in some cases a donor, that is used to cover the damaged skin to help it heal.
All of these treatments have the opportunity to become costly, which can be hard to deal with, especially when you are missing work and losing wages from your injury. The injury could cause hospitalization for days or weeks. When your recovery time is lengthy, you shouldn’t have to worry about the work you’re missing or the other financial responsibilities you have. That’s where we step in.
A burn injury attorney from our firm can help you figure out what damages you’re able to recover from your injury, and how we can hold the negligent party responsible for all you’ve suffered from. We’ll consult medical records to see the extent of your injuries in addition to the other losses from the incident. Let’s look into how our attorneys can help.
What Damages Can Your Lawyer Fight for You to Recover?
Suffering from severe burns can completely change your life in many ways—your physical appearance, emotional state, and finances can be greatly affected by this type of injury. Healing physically and emotionally can further hurt your finances and can make it impossible to support yourself or your family because of your surmounting costs, bills, and lack of wages from missing work due to your injury.
When someone else’s negligence caused you to suffer injuries and losses, you shouldn’t be responsible for the costs for treating and recovering from your injury. A lawyer can help you recover damages so you don’t have to worry about paying for your bills or supporting yourself. Let’s take a look at the different types of damages that a Charleston burn injury lawyer can help you recover in your case.
One category of damages that you can recover is economic damages. These are comprised of the physical damage and calculable costs that you incurred. Your lawyer will compile your medical expenses, treatment costs, medication costs, projected costs for future care, lost wages, and projected lost income for the future. These documents and bills give a specific number for the financial losses that you suffered as a result of your injury.
Another category of damages that you can recover is non-economic damages. These are comprised of the emotional damages that you suffered and the impact they had on your life. Some non-economic damages that your lawyer can recover for you are pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. Your lawyer will carefully consider the pain you’ve endured and fight to get you fair compensation for that pain.
The last category of damages that you can recover is punitive damages, which are rarer than the other two, but are possible in a burn injury claim. When a person or company’s gross negligence or malice was what caused your accident, you could recover damages to further punish them for their actions. In West Virginia, victims can recover the greater value of up to four times the amount of the compensatory damages or $500,000.
You might not know what damages you are eligible to receive in compensation, but our law firm will investigate. A Charleston burn injury lawyer has experience with these cases and knows what costs you can recover and how to go about getting you full and fair compensation.
Contact DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we make a point to work together as a team for each case that comes our way. By using the know-how and knowledge of all our Charleston burn accident attorneys, we are able to successfully approach each case from every angle, never missing a crucial bit of evidence to use to your advantage. Get in touch with us today for a free case evaluation to get you started in the right direction.