A burn victim injured by a fire that was caused by the negligence of another has legal rights in Washington state. Although laws are different from state to state, and legal rights may vary by jurisdiction, burn victims can generally make a claim for damages against a negligent person or company and may recover financial compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, other economic damages and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.
Not every burn accident victim needs the assistance of a lawyer. For those that choose to hire an attorney, a lawsuit is not always necessary. More often than not attorneys are able to negotiate settlements for their burn injury clients without ever litigating the case.
Burn injury lawsuits can help facilitate change in awareness, behavior and the law which may help prevent future accidents, injuries and deaths. Litigation not only serves the purpose of compensating a burn victim, but also holds negligent persons and companies that caused the accident accountable for their actions. Lawsuits can help change the law. Litigation often serves to force changes in the safety of products; corporate policies; safety procedures and the personal conduct of individuals. These changes can prevent others from suffering similar accidents and injuries in the future.
For more information, contact Davis Law Group today to talk about your burn injury case. Call (206) 727-4000.
Type and Severity of Burn Injuries
When a burn injury occurs, the severity of the injury is based on how deeply the burn penetrates. Burns are classified into different degrees of severity:
- First degree burns. These are the most minor burns. Only the top layer of skin is affected and only swelling, redness and pain is experienced. There is no scarring from first degree burns. Usually medical treatment is not necessary for these burns.
- Second degree burns. More severe than first degree burns, second degree burns mean the skin and penetrated. Victims usually suffer red skin and blistering, and may even require a trip to the hospital or doctor. These injuries are very painful and should be closely monitored.
- Third degree burns. These are when the skin is penetrated and the nerves are affected. The wound may feel numb due to nerve death, but the surrounding area is often extremely painful. Victims often go into shock and need immediate medical attention. Scarring is likely and skin grafts may be necessary.
- Fourth degree burns. These go beyond the skin and nerves and impact the muscles and bones. These are an extreme medical emergency and often cause death and permanent damage requiring extensive skin grafts.
- Fifth and sixth degree burns. These destroy everything from the skin to the bone. Unfortunately these burns are almost always diagnosed during the autopsy of the deceased.
Burn injuries can be caused by a number of different potential sources. Some of the most common types of burn injuries include:
- Thermal burns. These are burns that result from direct contact with fire. These burns do damage to various layers of the skin, and the severity depends on the type, temperature and duration of contact with the heat source.
- Hot liquid burns. Most often suffered by children, hot liquid burns or scalding burns can be either minor or life-threatening. Additionally, steam from hot liquids can also cause burns.
- Electrical burns. These occur when a victim is shocked by live electricity. Unlike other types of burns, electrical burns do significant damage under the skin — the damage is done to the tissue deep below the skin, and the wound is not apparent by looking at the body.
- Chemical burns. These burns result when a misuse of industrial chemicals or household products comes in contact with the skin. When a strong acid or base in a chemical hits the skin, it either coagulates or liquefies the cells almost immediately.
- Radiation burns. These occur when a victim typically works around radiation. A radiation burn occurs when the ionizing radiation interacts with cells within the body, damaging them.
If you have any questions about the above information as it relates to your burn injury, contact an experienced burn injury attorney at Davis Law Group. Call (206) 727-4000.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Each year there are more than 450,000 burn injury victims receiving some kind of treatment and about 40,000 people are hospitalized due to burn injuries. Over 60 percent of long-term hospitalizations related to burn injuries are at special burn centers or burn units. There are approximately 3,400 deaths each year due to fire, burns and smoke inhalation.
Many burn injuries are accidental, however a significant number of burn injuries are the result of negligent actions of others or from products that pose an unreasonable risk of burn injuries. Many burn injuries are caused by:
- Car accidents and semi-truck accidents. The gasoline or fuel in a vehicle can ignite, causing cars and trucks to burst into flames and burn occupants. Vehicle fires cause an average of 490 deaths and 1,275 injuries each year.
- Faulty or defective products. Dangerous products can overheat and cause a burn, or they can start a fire that leads to burn injuries.
- Gas explosions. These can occur at worksites, as a result of propane tanks for grills, in gas furnaces and water heaters or a gas fireplace in the home.
- Electrical accidents. High voltage can spell disaster and cause burn injuries.
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Leaking gas lines
- Poor building maintenance
- Scalding water and pipes
Settlement Value of a Burn Injury Claim
Anyone who is injured due to negligent acts, omissions or violations of the law is entitled to compensation for their injuries and other damages.
The following are just of a few of the factors that may be considered when determining fair and reasonable compensation in burn injury cases:
- The type, extent, and severity of the burn injuries
- How painful the burn injuries were, are and will be in the future
- The medical procedures required to treat the burns in the past, present and future
- The pain involved in those treatments
- The possibility or impossibility of totally recovery from the burn injuries
- The extent of permanent scaring or disfigurement
- The extent of permanent disability (burn victims usually have some permanent disability)
- Vocational/career limitations due to the injuries
Again, these are just a few of the factors to be considered in calculating an appropriate settlement amount. To discuss the specifics of your burn injury case, contact Davis Law Group at any time. (206) 727-4000.
Treatment for Burn Victims in Washington State
The UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center has one of the largest burn units in the US, specializing in pioneering treatments, including which have cut mortality rates dramatically for severely burned patients. Almost all victims of severe burns in Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana are treated at Harborview. Roughly one-third of their burn patients are children.
Burn treatment procedures can be excruciatingly painful. The procedures have even been described as “hell,” even if the patient is taking strong pain medication.
Following a serious burn injury, patients may receive treatment from general surgeons; plastic surgeons; physical and occupational therapists; burn specialist nurses; psychologists; vocational rehabilitation therapists; and other medical professionals that specialize in working with burn patients to help them recover more quickly and get back to their lives.
Washington State Burn Injury Lawyers
Seriously injured by a fire or accident in Washington State? Want to know if you have a legal case? Want to know what your case is worth? Want compensation for your burn injuries? Want justice for your loved ones? Want to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to someone else?
Protect your legal rights. Call attorney Chris Davis at Davis Law Group to schedule a free legal consultation.
The call is free. The advice may be priceless. Our firm can be retained on a contingency fee basis. There is no fee until our firm successfully recovers compensation for you. Call (206) 727-4000.