Long Beach Burn Injury Lawyer
Burn injuries are not only extremely painful but also often leave permanent scars and entail extensive recovery. Southern California residents who have suffered burn injuries due to another person or party’s negligence need to understand their options for legal recourse and should consider speaking with a compassionate Long Beach burn injury lawyer to learn more. Personal injury lawsuits cover a wide range of potential injuries and illnesses, and the compensable damages in these cases vary based on the plaintiff’s level of suffering and various other factors.
How Can a Long Beach Burn Injury Lawyer Help?
A skilled Long Beach burn injury lawyer will be a valuable resource when it comes to recovering compensation for your claim. Importantly, an attorney will use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the incident in order to determine liability. Additionally, a lawyer will make sure that you are evaluated by a trusted medical professional who can not only treat your injuries, but help properly calculate total expected losses.
A burn injury lawyer in Long Beach will engage in vigorous negotiations with the insurance carriers and at-fault parties to recover maximum compensation for your losses. If the other parties refuse to offer a fair settlement, a lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court and take your burn injury claim all the way to trial if necessary.
What Damages Can I Recover for my Burn Injury?
In the event your burn injury is caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, you will likely be able to recover compensation for your losses. At Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP, our team works diligently to recover both “special” and “general” damages on behalf of our clients.
Special damages are also referred to as economic damages, and these refer to the more calculable types of losses individuals experience after sustaining a burn injury. Some of the most common economic damages after a burn injury include the following:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Surgical procedures to repair damage
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Lost income if a person cannot work
- Out-of-pocket expenses
General damages refer to non-economic losses individuals experience after sustaining a burn injury. These are harder to calculate, as these types of losses are not as concrete as the economic damages mentioned above. Some of the most common non-economic damages after a burn injury include the following:
- Physical pain and suffering caused by the injuries
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement damages
- Loss of quality of life damages
What are the Different Degrees of Burns?
When doctors assess burn victims, they classify and treat burns based on a degree scale:
- First-degree burns are generally mild, only affecting the outermost layer of skin. In some cases, first-degree burns are treatable with over-the-counter remedies and first aid. If a first-degree burn occurs on a sensitive area or more than 10% of the total skin surface, victims should seek prompt medical treatment. First-degree burns typically result in redness and mild swelling.
- Second-degree burns cause more significant swelling, redness, pain, and blistering. These burns require immediate medical attention.
- Third-degree burns permeate all layers of the skin and often injure deeper tissues. Skin often appears charred or blackened, and the victim may lose sensation in the area.
- Fourth-degree burns destroy all layers of skin and strike deeper tissues such as muscles, ligaments, and bone. These are life-threatening wounds.
Most burn injuries leave scars, and patients often have a great deal of difficulty regaining movement in these areas. Burned skin loses its elasticity, creating a tugging effect on the undamaged skin around the injury site. This is not only painful but also restricts movement for many patients. Severe burns can also cause permanent nerve damage and a loss of sensation in the affected areas. The most common treatment for completely destroyed skin is grafting, a process of applying healthy donor skin to the damaged areas.
Types of Burn Injuries
Burns also have varying effects depending on the type of burn:
- Thermal burns. Contact with flames, hot surfaces, or hot liquid creates thermal burn injuries. These burn injuries vary greatly in their severity and effects, typically depending on how long the person made contact.
- Electrical burns. Contact with high voltage electric discharge can cause severe burns as well as interference with the body’s natural electrical state. Many electrical burn victims lose nerve sensations and even motor function in affected areas.
- Radiation burns. Exposure to harmful radiation can cause burn injuries. A common example is a sunburn. The sun’s ultraviolet rays eventually burn exposed skin, and severity depends on how long exposure continues.
- Chemical burns. Touching or inhaling certain chemical compounds can cause corrosive burning injuries. Some may cause internal scarring or respiratory failure.
Burns of all types have the potential to leave victims susceptible to the risk of shock, nerve damage, and infections such as tetanus. Because of this, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention immediately suffering a burn injury.
Once you have received medical treatment, contact a Long Beach personal injury attorney from Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP. A burn injury attorney from our law firm will be able to review the specifics of your burn accident case and advise you on how to best move forward with securing compensation for your serious injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File a Burn Injury Claim in Long Beach, CA?
In the state of California, any burn injury victim needs to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file their claim against the other party. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. If a Long Beach burn injury victim fails to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party within this time frame, they will lose the ability to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
If your burn injury claim involves an insurance carrier, then you need to file the claim as promptly as possible. Most insurance carriers require that cases be reported within a day or two after they occur. Failing to do so could result in the insurance carrier delaying or denying the claim.
Burn Injury Statistics
When we look at information available from the American Burn Association (ABA), around 500,000 individuals sustain burn injuries that require medical treatment each year across this country. This data was taken from a five-year study time frame and only acknowledges burn injury admissions to hospitals or emergency departments. There are some burns treated solely at local clinics, private medical offices, or community health centers that are likely not counted in this data.
The ABA data shows that the locations where burn injuries occur vary, but 73% occur in the home. Around 8% of all burn injuries are occupational, with the remaining burn injuries happening in other locations.
Burn Injury Treatment
Treatment for burn injuries will vary heavily depending on how severe the injury is. Minor burn injuries are typically treated at home, and they usually heal within a few weeks. In some cases, a doctor may need to treat a minor burn injury with basic first aid and a round of antibiotics.
Serious burn injuries, however, require more extensive care. Individuals with severe burn injuries must seek treatment at a hospital, and some individuals may need treatment at specialized burn centers. Some of the most common types of treatment for moderate to severe burn injuries include the following:
- Fluids to prevent dehydration. Medical professionals may need to start intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration or organ failure.
- Pain and anxiety medication. In the immediate aftermath of a burn and during the recovery process, individuals may need prescription medications for anxiety and pain.
- Burn creams or ointments. There may be various types of burn creams or ointments prescribed during the recovery process.
- Dressings. Immediately following a burn injury and during the recovery process, there are various types of dressings that will be used to help cover the wound so it can heal properly.
- Antibiotic care. Burn injury victims are very prone to infections due to exposure to outside bacteria. Burn injury victims are typically prescribed various types of antibiotics to prevent infections.
- Breathing assistance. Some burn injury victims may need assistance with breathing, depending on where the injury occurs. For burns that occur around the face or in the respiratory tract, these injuries can prevent proper airflow. Those who sustain severe burn injuries may need to be intubated, which means they will have a tube inserted into their lungs to assist with their breathing.
- Surgical care. Individuals who sustain severe burn injuries may need various types of surgical care to apply skin grafts to the affected area. This involves removing skin from an unburned area of the body and placing the skin over the burned area.
- Occupational and physical therapy. If the burn area is large or covers any joints, individuals may need time to go physical therapy and rehabilitation in order to stretch the skin so the joints can remain flexible. These types of exercises can also improve muscle strength and coordination.
This is not a complete list of the types of treatments that a burned injury victim may need, and we strongly encourage you to follow every treatment and therapy prescribed by a doctor so that you can make as full of a recovery as possible.
Discuss Your Legal Options with a Long Beach Burn Injury Lawyer
Burn injuries are extremely painful, and burn injury victims often face excruciating recovery procedures as well. If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury or medical malpractice in Long Beach because of another party’s negligence, it’s important to weigh your legal options. If the other party was negligent in any way, and that negligence led to the injury, you should hold the responsible party accountable and seek compensation for your damages.
In most personal injury cases, injured plaintiffs may receive reimbursement for their hospital bills and medical expenses, repayment for wages lost due to the injury, and compensation for any property damaged in the incident. Additionally, most courts understand the significance of burn injuries and award appropriate compensation wherever applicable. Many plaintiffs of burn injury cases will receive compensation for their severe pain and suffering, and some may even receive punitive damages for cases of gross negligence or intentional acts.
At Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP, we believe in holding negligent parties accountable for the damage they cause. Burn injuries involve long-term recovery, and often entail permanent damages. If you’ve recently suffered a burn injury, contact our firm to arrange a consultation with a burn injury attorney in Long Beach, CA. We proudly help serious burn victims in Southern California, including Los Angeles.