Can I File a Lawsuit for My Severe Burn Injuries?


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The number of burn victims in the U.S. is staggering. According to the American Burn Association, nearly half a million people seek medical treatment for burns yearly. Of those, about 40,000 had to be hospitalized, with 75 percent of them receiving care in a hospital burn center. Sadly, nearly 3,500 burn victims die as a result of their injuries.

Severe burn injuries happen in numerous ways. Electrical fires, construction accidents, car wrecks, chemical spills, thermal fires, fires caused by defective products, and explosions are just some of the causes of serious, even life-threatening, burns. No matter the reason, burn injuries can lead to significant long-term medical complications and lifelong suffering. When those injuries are caused by the negligence of another person or company, you may be able to seek compensation for damages.

How Are Burn Injuries Classified?

Burns are classified based on their severity. You may have heard that third-degree burns are the most severe burn injury. But that isn’t the case. The most serious burns are fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-degree burns.

The following details how burn injuries are classified:

  • First-degree – The least severe, first-degree burns only affect the outside layer of skin. These burns are painful and red, without blistering. Medical treatment isn’t needed for these minor burns. An example of a first-degree is a mild sunburn.
  • Second-degree – A second-degree burn affects the top and middle layers of the skin. Typically, the burn will be painful, red, swollen, and have blisters. Still fairly mild, second-degree burns may need medical attention but often do not. Examples of this burn include scalding, chemical exposure, touching hot objects briefly, and severe sunburns.
  • Third-degree – Third-degree burns are serious injuries. They destroy both layers of skin and move into the subcutaneous fat layer. The affected area will be leathery and dry and may be black, brown, yellow, or white. Because the nerve endings are destroyed in third-degree burns, victims are not in much pain. However, medical attention is required because new skin will not grow from these sites. Skin grafts are typically needed. Third-degree burns may result from touching a hot surface for an extended period, flames from a fire, electrical, or chemical source.
  • Fourth-degree - Fourth-degree burns are severe, causing permanent damage to the site. They may require amputations or lead to death. This type of burn needs immediate medical intervention as it can affect the skin, nerves, tendons, and muscles, and bone may be exposed. Chemicals or flames primarily cause fourth-degree burns.
  • Fifth-degree – With fifth-degree burns, the skin is charred and white, and bone is exposed. Skin, tendons, and muscles are destroyed, and permanent body and possibly organ damage are present. Amputation is likely to be required, and death is possible. Flames, electrical sources, and chemical sources are common causes of fifth-degree burns.
  • Sixth-degree – The most severe burns, sixth-degree, often result in death. These burns are like fifth-degree but to a greater extent. Organ failure due to inflammation is common. Also, like fourth- and fifth-degree burns, sixth-degree burn injuries often come from flames, chemical sources, and electrical sources.

What Are The Risks Of Severe Burn Injuries?

Severe burns must be treated immediately and properly to lower the risk of further complications. Unfortunately, complications are common with burns that are third-degree and worse. Some of the risks for these types of burns include:

  • Infections, including sepsis
  • Dehydration
  • Scarring
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of circulation
  • Organ damage and failure
  • Amputation
  • Death

When Can I File A Lawsuit For Severe Burn Injuries?

You may have a personal injury lawsuit if you or your loved one has suffered severe burn injuries because of someone else’s actions (or inaction). If a defective product caused the injuries, it might be a product liability case. Determining whether you have a case is best done by a personal injury attorney who has experience with these types of claims. Also, the injury may worsen if a medical professional doesn’t treat burns appropriately. In those cases, you might be able to receive compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

At Ross Feller Casey, we have an extensive track record of winning cases for the catastrophically injured, including those with burn injuries.

The complications that arise from burn injuries can devastate the victims and their families, and the medical expenses often are astronomical. If your family has been affected by burn injuries, you deserve to be compensated for your expenses and pain and suffering. Monetary compensation cannot reverse the wrong that has been done to you, but it can ease the burden of your expenses and help your family recover financially.

To increase the likelihood of getting the compensation you deserve for your burn injuries, reach out to the attorneys at Ross Feller Casey for a free consultation. All of our cases are handled on a contingency basis, so you will not pay a thing until a financial recovery is made in your case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.