Victims of fires, electrocution, and explosions are often left with severe physical and psychological scars, which make overcoming the mountain of medical bills more challenging due to lost wages. When a burn injury is the result of another person’s negligence, such as a work site accident or an inattentive landlord, the victim is often able to seek compensation for these and other losses due to the personal injury.
Insurance claims adjusters, landlords, employers, and other parties will work hard to reduce their liability and minimize payouts to the victim. This is why it is important for burn injury victims to seek an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to evaluate their potential owed compensation for the injuries.
DEGREES OF BURN INJURIES
A burn injury is classified according to the severity of damage incurred:
- First-Degree Burn – The outer layer of skin is damaged; redness, swelling and pain may be present; Often stings immediately after contact with heat source, lasting for several days or weeks.
- Second-Degree Burn – First layer of skin (epidermis) is burned through, and second layer (dermis) is damaged; blisters, severe pain and swelling.
- Third-Degree Burn – Damage extends into the full depth of the skin and reaches the underlying tissue; Underlying muscle tissue, tendon, fat and bones may be damaged or destroyed.
- Fourth-Degree Burn – The deepest tissue of skin is severely damaged; Often there is no pain and the burn area is stiff. Healing does not typically occur on its own, and this type of burn usually involves severe injury to muscle, tendons, or bone.
Common causes for burn injury include:
- Workplace Injuries
- Automobile Accidents
- Electrical Cord Fires or Other Electrical Accidents
- Defective Products
- Apartment Building or Home Fires
- Scalding Water or Pipes
- Recreational Fires (Hotels, Restaurants, Retail, Nightclubs)
If you rent your home or apartment:
Many instances of burn injuries happen when apartment buildings or homes catch on fire. Even if your home or apartment are not on fire themselves, you may still be at risk from a fire coming from an adjacent building.
Landlords have a responsibility to keep their properties in the best condition possible, including following all codes and safety standards by law. Not all landlords live up to these responsibilities, while some landlords may even pressure tenants against taking legal action despite their negligence being the cause of a fire and resulting burn injuries.
If a landlord doesn’t maintain their property to safety standards and a fire occurs that injures the tenant as a result, the landlord may be held liable for the damages.
Some of a landlord’s legal responsibilities include:
- Ensuring the property’s electrical wiring and outlets are in safe and good condition
- Having a safe, reliable fire escape – as well as keeping the fire escape clear in case of emergency
- Making sure that smoke alarms are positioned properly and in operable condition
- Installing fire extinguishers on the property and having them regularly serviced
- Installing fireproof doors and/or other fire safety features
- Keeping hallways and other exits clear with an established plan in case of a fire
In the event that the landlord does not follow these safety precautions, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them for negligence which caused a burn injury and/or other damages; however, there may be instances where landlords use “tricky” language in a lease agreement to convince or pressure tenants to avoid liability in case of an accident. Some leases may ask you to waive your right to a jury trial in a personal injury case, though some states do not honor these types of legal loopholes.
Burn Injuries Are Common In The Workplace – Studies Show
Burn injuries are all too common in the workplace, with fires and explosions alone causing over 5,000 burn injuries each year according to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Some studies show a substantially high number of burn injuries occurring in the workplace, ranging from 10 to 45% of all burns.
When an employee suffers a burn injury at work, they may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to seek wage replacement and medical benefits. Employers and their insurance companies will often try to limit the benefits or payouts to the burn victims, which is why you should seek an experienced burn injury attorney if you are injured at work in the Shreveport / Bossier City area.
Workers’ compensation benefits don’t cover payment for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, consortium, or disfigurement, but a lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal environment to understand how to process and value your claim will most always find more relief in the form of compensation and benefits.
Josh Clayton is an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who has helped many burn victims in Shreveport get the compensation they needed to cover expensive medical bills due to their injuries, as well as lost wages and other damages awarded.
The National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reported 617 work-related deaths in 2007, of which 10% were fire or burn-related and 6% caused by electrical burns.
If you’ve been injured at work due to an employer’s negligence, don’t suffer any longer – call the Josh Clayton Law Firm today for a free legal consultation.