Burn injuries can occur on the job, in the home or as the result of a defective product or faulty equipment. Most of the time burns are preventable. Just a moment of inattention can be all it takes to suffer a serious burn. However, there are instances where burn injuries are caused due to someone else’s negligence, especially when in the workplace or on a job site. Some occupations are more dangerous, such as those who work in plants or factories, welders and food service employees.
After a burn injury, goliath insurance companies such as Aetna, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield may contact you by offering a preliminary settlement. This is done not out of concern for you but rather to push the claim through quickly. They know that once you hire a lawyer, their chances drastically go down in terms of getting you to agree to a lower offer. Taking this initial settlement offer without speaking to a burn injury attorney could mean you won’t get the compensation necessary to adequately handle your losses from the injury.
3 Factors That Affect Your Compensation Amount In A Burn Injury Case
Severity of the Burn
Brad Parker says, “Probably the greatest factor in a burn injury case is the severity of the burn, the residual effects and the impairment and pain experienced by the victim.”
Third-degree burns often lead to permanent disfigurement and longer rehabilitation time, while second-degree burns can also affect the entire body as well as the victim’s quality of life and recovery period. Serious burns typically get higher settlement amounts.
Location of the Burn
“Not only does the location of the burn factor into the settlement amount, but to whom it happened. For instance, if a young woman has a visible disfigurement on her face, that may play a factor. No question,” Brad says.
A facial burn resulting in permanent disfigurement is considered worse than a burn on the arm that does not affect daily functionality in a significant way.
When someone is to blame either directly or indirectly and an injury results from negligence or malicious intent, juries typically award higher settlements. In circumstances where there was serious negligence, a jury may award punitive damages on top of compensatory damages.
Brad says, “In order to sue your employer and receive punitive damages, you must prove to a jury that an employer was outrageously negligent. If a severe burn is caused by a third-party you may be able to file a suit to recover your damages.”
Examples of third parties include manufacturers of defective equipment or machinery or vendors or sub-contractors. Unlike worker’s comp, you can seek compensation for ALL of your lost income, lost future earnings and a monetary value for your pain and suffering in a third-party case.
“Even if an employee is partially at fault for the burn injury, that doesn’t matter with worker’s compensation. However, worker’s comp benefits are rarely adequate to compensate the injured employee for all of their expenses and lost future earnings. That’s when you may consider whether or not a third party is to blame,” Brad says.
A variety of defective products have been linked to burn injuries including space heaters, lithium batteries, and gas grills. If someone is severely injured because a product is defective, Brad says, “After seeking medical treatment, it is crucial that you preserve the defective product in whatever form it’s in. Don’t tamper with it in any way. Contact a board-certified personal injury attorney, and we’ll hire experts to inspect and evaluate the product to see if and how it is defective.”
The emotional, physical and psychological toll of a severe burn injury is seldom something someone is prepared to handle on their own. Every burn injury case is different and comes with its own set of special circumstances, which is why you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal rights. Contact our Bedford, Texas office by filling out this contact form or call us at 817-440-3888 for more information on how we can help you in your burn injury case.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.