Severe burns are among the most devastating injuries a person can suffer. Healing from a serious burn is a slow and painful process that often involves extended hospitalization and multiple surgeries. Furthermore, burns may cause scarring, permanently impair motor functions, and create disabling psychological trauma.
If someone’s negligence caused an accident that led you or a loved one to sustain severe burns, you may be able to seek legal recourse with the aid of a Clayton County burn injury lawyer. Involving a local catastrophic injury attorney soon after the accident could help ensure that evidence is not lost, that the claimant’s rights are not compromised, and that a fair settlement is reached.
Burns Are Complicated Injuries
The National Institute of General Medical Science defines burns as damage to tissue as a result of heat, chemical exposure, electricity, nuclear radiation, or sunlight. Although most people think of burns as damage to the skin, the internal organs of a person’s respiratory and digestive systems can also suffer burns.
Doctors determine the severity of a burn by assessing how many layers of tissue have been damaged. A first-degree burn affects only the outermost layer of tissue and will probably heal on its own. Second-degree burns impact both layers of the skin or other affected tissue. Third-degree burns damage both layers of tissue and may impact underlying tissues. Fourth, fifth, and sixth-degree burns involve more tissues deeper into the body and are often fatal.
Exposure to fire is the most common cause of burn injuries. Contact with hot liquid, steam, hot metal objects, and hot glass are responsible for most burns that are not the result of fire. Electrical and chemical burns are less common but still cause a significant number of burn injuries every year.
What Damages Are Available in Burn Injury Cases?
There are significant costs associated with treating injuries—some of these are easily estimated fixed costs, while some are intangible and do not have a price tag. A person who is injured because of someone else’s negligence could seek compensation for all of their losses.
Economic damages are the losses that have an identifiable cost or future costs that are easy to estimate. Past and future medical expenses are one example of economic damages, as are lost earnings and potential future earnings.
A burn patient and their family might not recognize all the costs for which they may receive compensation. A savvy attorney could help a claimant keep track of all the expenses they incur because of their burn injuries.
For example, a claim for medical expenses would include not just the costs of copayments and deductibles, but also increased insurance premiums, non-covered costs, prescription and over-the-counter medications, rehabilitation services, and modifications to a home or vehicle to accommodate an injury.
Non-economic damages are those costs that are not easy to quantify. Pain and suffering are examples of costs that are real but have no fixed price. Non-economic damages also include changes to a person’s emotional health and outlook related to scarring and disfigurement.
When presenting a claim for non-economic damages, a seasoned burn injury lawyer could ask a court to consider:
- The length of the injured person’s recovery;
- The number of procedures the person had to endure;
- The amount of pain medication the person required;
- Changes in their life to which they had to adapt; and
- Many other factors depending on the individual case.
Georgia does not place a cap on non-economic damages, so with the help of a persuasive and passionate legal advocate the injured claimant could recover compensation for the full value of their injuries.
A Clayton County Burn Injury Attorney Could be Your Advocate
Unfortunately, many will try to take advantage of those who have been injured in accident by offering settlements that do not adequately compensate them for all of their injuries and damages. A person negotiating without the advice of a legal professional may be tempted to accept a low-ball offer.
If you or a loved one were severely burned in an accident due to the reckless actions of another, you should retain the services of an experienced attorney. An attorney in your community could handle all negotiations with the negligent parties which allows you and your family to focus on recovery. Contact a Clayton County burn injury lawyer to schedule a case review.