Damages in Burn Injury Cases
By Michael Verna on March 28, 2017
Serious burn injuries require a lengthy, painful recovery and can leave victims permanently disabled or disfigured. Burn injury victims may be entitled to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Although financial compensation cannot erase the pain of a serious burn injury, it can help reduce the financial burden. If you would like more information about damages in burn injury cases and live in or around San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, or Oakland, CA, you are welcome to contact the burn injury attorneys of Bowles & Verna.
The Types and Causes of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries are categorized into different types according to the extent and severity of the burn. Burns may be characterized as first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree burns.
First-degree burns are the most mild, only affecting the outermost layer of the skin. Second-degree burns are more severe because they affect the outer layer of the skin and the lower layer, resulting in pain, swelling, and blistering. Third-degree burns are the most severe, affecting all layers of the skin and sometimes as deep as the muscle and bone. Third-degree burns may be recognized by blackened, charred, or white skin.
Burns may be external or internal. External burns occur when tissues on the outside of the body come into contact with something hot or with certain chemicals. Internal burns are burns that occur on the inside of the body. Internal burns may be caused by ingesting chemicals, drinking a scalding fluid, or from an electrical source.
Some common causes of burns include:
- Contact with a hot object, such as an oven or stove
- Contact with fire
- Contact with certain chemicals
- Contact with electricity
- Contact with boiling liquid or steam
- Defective electrical wiring
- Defective appliances or electrical tools
Types of Damages in a Burn Injury Case
There are different types of damages that may be recovered in a burn injury case. The different types of damages include economic, non-economic, and in some circumstances, punitive.
- Economic damages: Economic damages allow for the recovery of money spent on medical expenses, funeral expenses, or money lost in wages.
- Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages are intended to financially compensate a person for intangible things, including emotional distress, physical impairment, pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement, or loss of companionship.
- Punitive damages: In some cases, punitive damages may be sought. Punitive damages are intended to financially punish the defendant for his or her misconduct that led to the injury. Punitive damages are paid in addition to other damages when awarded.
Damages and Compensation for Burn Injuries
Damages and compensation will vary based on the circumstances of each burn injury case. Damages may be awarded for lost wages and medical expenses, including future medical expenses expected in recovering from a burn injury. Keeping records of medical bills, lost wages, or other related expenses can help when seeking economic damages.
Severe burn injuries that impact a person's ability to work may result in recovering damages for loss of future earnings. Non-economic damages may also be awarded, taking into account the emotional impact of the injury and other circumstances like severity and location of scarring. For example, a person with a severely burned face may be awarded more in damages than someone with burns on the back or leg.
Contact a Burn Injury Lawyer for Help with Your Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury due to another person's negligence, there may be grounds for a burn injury lawsuit. To learn more about your legal rights, contact the burn injury lawyers of Bowles & Verna.