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July 21, 2016

Beware of Accidents Over Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Accidents

Labor Day weekend is always the mark that the end of summer is near. School has started, the weather is about to get cooler, and the majority of Americans have a three-day weekend to celebrate how hard they work the rest of the year. Many people planning short trips, outings, or parties to mark the holiday with their families and friends. Unfortunately, along with the food, family, and fun comes the risk of accidents and injuries over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

The following are only some examples of why the risks of accidents and injuries may increase over this holiday weekend, so you can be aware of the risks and work to prevent injuries whenever possible. If injuries do occur, you should discuss your legal options with an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident.

Drunk driving accidents

Holidays are a prime time for drunk driving and the accidents that result from intoxicated drivers. Holiday gatherings tend to involve alcohol and, during long holiday weekends like Labor Day, many people drink all afternoon and into the evening. Whether a person is at a family barbecue or a bar, they should never ever consider getting behind the wheel of a car after having too much to drink. Not every driver makes the responsible decision, however, and accidents and injuries can happen.

The increased risks for drunk driving are demonstrated by a more concentrated effort on the part of law enforcement and government agencies to deter and catch drunk drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsors national enhanced drunk driving enforcement1 during the end of summer through the Labor Day weekend. “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” will kick into gear from August 17th to September 5th this year, spreading safety awareness and increasing law enforcement presence to try to prevent drunk drivers. These efforts cannot prevent all drunk driving, so you need to be as aware and safe as possible over this weekend to prevent accidents.

Water-related accidents

Another favorite pastime over Labor weekend is to head out and enjoy the water on one of the last summer weekends. Many swimming pools close after this holiday weekend, so many pools have large crowds during this time to end the season. Crowds can increase the hazards and decrease the supervision in or around swimming pools, which can lead to drowning or near-drowning accidents.

In addition, many families and groups of friends take off to spend the weekend on lakes and rivers. Boats, jet skis, tubes, and other water sports equipment are fun and relaxing yet they always bring the risk of injuries. Spend the day on the water often involves drinking and music and other forms of entertainment, which can make it easy to become distracted and ignore safety measures. Drunk, distracted, or inexperienced boat drivers can often be involved in boat accidents that can injure many people on board the boat. Anytime water is involved, there is the risk of serious drowning incidents or other traumatic injuries.

Recreational accidents

Besides driving and water, celebrations and long weekends can come with the risks of many other types of accidents and injuries. Only some of these recreational accidents involve the following:

  • Burns or fires from grills or bonfires
  • Injuries suffered in softball, soccer, golf, or other sports
  • ATV accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Dog bites,2 especially at BBQs or gatherings
  • Motorcycle accidents

Many of these accidents happen because of someone else’s negligence. If another party caused your injuries, you have the right to recover for your losses and hold them liable for their negligent actions. This Labor Day, please take as many home and recreational safety precautions3 as you can in whatever type of celebration you choose. However, if you are injured, it is important to know your legal rights.

Call for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Philadelphia Accident Attorney

If your holiday weekend is marred by an accident and injuries, you should not delay in calling a skilled personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia. At The Levin Firm, we have helped many clients and their families to obtain full compensation for the injuries and losses they have sustained in a wide variety of accidents. We will always stand up for your rights to recover for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, among other losses and will work for the most favorable settlement or award possible in your case. If you would like more information about how we can help you, please call 215-825-5183 today.

1http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/LaborDayWeekend

2http://www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/

3https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/

May 6, 2016

Can I sue for my burn injury?

Philly burn victim lawsuit

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), over two million burn injuries occur in the U.S. each year, and of those two million, approximately eight to ten thousand result in death. Burn injuries can occur on the job, in the home, or during leisure activities. Burn injuries occur due to a number of causes and vary in severity.

Types of Burns

  • Thermal Burns: Thermal burns often result from household (particularly kitchen) accidents, fires, and auto accidents. These types of burns are caused by contact with a hot substance, including flame, hot water, steam, dry heat, and heated objects. Exposure to these heat sources can cause blistering and scarring of the skin, inhalation injuries, and other damage.
  • Chemical Burns: A chemical burn results from a strong acid or base coming into contact with the skin. Common sources of acids and bases include bleach, ammonia, and other household cleaners (for example, toilet bowl, drain, swimming pool, oven, rust, and metal cleaners). The extent of the injury depends on how long the skin was in contact with the acid and which part of the body was affected.
  • Electrical Burns: Electrical burns are a common workplace injury, occurring in construction sites, offices, restaurants, agricultural sites, and other places of employment. Electrical burns occur when an electrical current comes into contact with the body; for example, when an appliance is dropped in water, when a child chews on an electrical cord, or when an object is inserted into an outlet or electrical appliance. The degree of injury depends on the type of current, the voltage, and the pathway the current takes through the body.
  • Radiation Burns: Prolonged exposure to radiation can cause burn damage. Sunburns are the most common type of radiation burn. Alternatively, X-rays and radiation therapy can also cause injury, in which case the patient may be eligible to file medical malpractice charges. Radiation burns can cause redness and, potentially, cancerous growths and internal damage.

Types of Burn Injuries

While the cause and type of a burn (thermal, chemical, or electrical) is important in determining how to treat the injury, it is also important to know the severity of the burn.

  • First Degree Burns: First degree burns damage the outer layer of skin and will usually heal in a few days. These are the least painful, yet most common types of burns. Sunburns are the most frequent causes of first degree burns.
  • Second Degree Burns: In a second degree burn, the first layer of skin is burned through, and second layer is affected but not completely destroyed. A second degree burn is considered “minor” if less than 15 percent of the body is burned.
  • Third Degree Burns: Third degree burns damage all layers of the skin, and sometimes the blood vessels and muscles as well, often leaving the skin charred black with white patches. These types of burns can be very painful, although, in severe cases, the nerve endings may be numbed.

Can I Sue for My Burn Injuries?

Anyone who is burned as a direct result of another party’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing can file a burn injury lawsuit. However, while burn victims are entitled to compensatory damages for medical expenses, pain, and suffering, there are several things to consider when deciding whether or not to press charges. Charges must be filed within the statute of limitations, and the injured should make sure that he or she has a case before starting the legal process. An experienced burn injury lawyer can determine whether you have a case, and help you file your lawsuit before the filing deadline.

Contact The Levin Firm

When you experience a burn as a result of the actions of another person or a company, you have the right to recover for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Our lawyers understand the different diagnoses of burn injuries. We work with physicians and specialists to assure that clients receive the finest legal representation, as well as the finest support and medical care.

Representing clients with burn injuries requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers all devoting their maximum effort to their clients. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys work together with a team of investigators and support staff to investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has suffered a burn injury, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183.

Sources

1.      http://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/the-mcdonald-s-coffee-cup-case-separating-mcfacts-from-mcfiction.html

2.      https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=31109

3.      http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/settlement-value-burn-injury-claim.html

4.      http://hospitals.unm.edu/burn/types.shtml

5.      https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=36208

6.      http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/catastrophic-lawsuits-severe-long-term-permanent.html

7.      https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=29725

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/damages-compensation-formula.html

April 22, 2016

Should I Settle my Burn Injury Claim?

Philly burn victim

As with any personal injury, it’s very difficult to make an accurate prediction as to what a burn injury settlement will turn out to be. The biggest factors are the severity of the injury, the intentions of the person who caused the burns and the extent to which a defendant can pay a settlement. Burn injuries tend to have higher settlement value due to the pain and permanent scarring.

Where and How Did the Accident Happen?

In reaching a settlement, both sides will negotiate based on what they believe the plaintiff will be awarded at trial. How and where the burn injury occurs is important because the degree of the defendant’s liability can affect how much a jury might be willing to award at trial. Obviously, there is no one kind of burn injury case. They can happen in a variety of ways, including workplace injuries, faulty consumer products, arson or other intentional burning, and any kind of accident caused by negligence.

Availability of Punitive Damages

If the defendant acted intentionally or very negligently the burn victim may also be able to receive punitive damages.  Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant that acted in a reprehensible manner, therefore a wealthy defendant will have to pay higher amounts in order to “feel the sting.” A defendant that intentionally burned a plaintiff will almost always be exposed to punitive damages.

But punitive damages for gross negligence are harder to predict. An example of gross negligence would be a product manufacturer not conducting any testing on a product, even though the product was sold to be used in situations that could involve exposure to flame. If a plaintiff uses the product (an oven mitt, for example) and is badly burned, the oven mitt manufacturer could potentially be required to pay thousands or millions of dollars in punitive damages. Therefore, the threat of punitive damages will generally make a defendant (especially a wealthy one) more likely to settle the case at a higher amount than otherwise.

Compensation for Physical and Emotional Pain and Suffering

Compensation for burn injuries will involve the same types of damages that are on the table in other personal injury cases. However, burn injuries in particular can be extraordinarily painful and can lead to permanent, severe disfigurement.

A liable defendant must not only compensate a plaintiff for the physical pain the burn caused and will continue to cause, but also any emotional pain a disfigured burn victim has suffered and will suffer in the future. An emotional pain and suffering award will take into account the extent and nature of the disfigurement, since it is based on the likelihood of the plaintiff being embarrassed, depressed, or experiencing any of the other emotional reactions likely caused by a disfigurement. A plaintiff with a badly burned face, for example, will receive a much higher damage award than a plaintiff with a permanent scar in the middle of his or her back.

Examples of Burn Injury Settlements

  • Product Liability Settlement:

o    A patient in a hospital was burned when his bed caught fire due to a product design defect. The bed manufacturer settled for $1,000,000.

  • General Negligence Settlements and Verdicts:

o    A hotel allowed its hot water system to produce scalding hot water. An already-disabled plaintiff lowered himself into a bathtub and received second degree burns. The hotel settled for $275,000.

o    In a famous case, a woman received a $640,000 verdict from McDonald’s when she suffered third-degree burns from scalding hot coffee.

Contact The Levin Firm

When you experience a burn as a result of the actions of another person or a company, you have the right to recover for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Our lawyers understand the different diagnoses of burn injuries. We work with physicians and specialists to assure that clients receive the finest legal representation, as well as the finest support and medical care.

Representing clients with burn injuries requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers all devoting their maximum effort to their clients. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys work together with a team of investigators and support staff to investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has suffered a burn injury, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183.

Sources

1.      http://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/the-mcdonald-s-coffee-cup-case-separating-mcfacts-from-mcfiction.html

2.      https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=31109

3.      http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/settlement-value-burn-injury-claim.html

4.      https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=36208

5.      http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/catastrophic-lawsuits-severe-long-term-permanent.html

6.      https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=29725

7.      http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/damages-compensation-formula.html

November 6, 2014

Common Causes of Burn Injuries

flamesAccording to statistics published by the American Burn Association (ABA) [1], an estimated 450,000 people in the United States received medical treatment for burn injuries in 2013. Furthermore, approximately 40,000 patients required extensive treatment that required prolonged stays in burn centers or hospitals. Though most burn victims ultimately survive their injuries, burns and the necessary surgeries and other procedures can be extraordinarily painful and expensive. If a burn occurs because another party acted in a negligent manner, the burn victim should be able to recover for their losses from the responsible party.

Where do most burns occur?

The ABA also reports that the large majority of burn injuries (72 percent) take place in the victim’s home. In addition to the home, Americans are most commonly burned while at work (9 percent), while on the highway or other roadway (5 percent), while participating in a sport or other recreational activity (5 percent), or other miscellaneous locations (9 percent). In short, burns can happen almost anywhere, so you should always be aware of common causes or risks for burns so that you may avoid this type of painful injury.

Common causes

When you think of burns, you most likely think about fire. However, burns can be caused in a wide variety of ways, many of which do not involve any type of flame. The following are some of the most common ways [2] that victims suffer burn injuries:

  • Fire or flame
  • Scalding from hot steam or liquid
  • Contact with hot glass, metal, or other objects or surfaces
  • Radiation burns from cancer therapy or x-rays
  • Ultraviolet burns from tanning beds or lamps
  • Chemical burns due to contact with lye, acid, or other toxic substances
  • Electrical burns

All of the above types of burns have the potential to be severe and damage many layers of skin, muscle, nerves, or other tissue, sometimes even exposing the bone. Burns may require skin grafts, surgeries, and more to try to replace the damaged tissue, and many burn victims suffer permanent scarring and disfigurement. Burns also commonly cause psychological damage in victims due to the severe pain and scarring that can occur. Any burn victims should consult with an experienced lawyer to discuss how they can recover.

[1] http://www.ameriburn.org/resources_factsheet.php

[2] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/burns/basics/causes/con-20035028

October 10, 2014

What are my Options if I have been Burned?

burn scarBurns are some of the most painful injuries a person may suffer. Burns often require extensive medical procedures and long recovery times. Depending on the location of your burn on your body, the burn may permanently affect your ability to perform certain tasks or suffer major disabilities. On top of your potentially huge medical expenses, you will likely lose wages while you recover or may even never be able to work again. If you sustained your burns because of another person or company’s mistake, you deserve to be fully compensated for all of your financial losses and pain and suffering, and should contact a Philadelphia personal injury attorney as soon as possible for help.

Common burn accidents

Burns can happen in a wide variety of situations and accidents. Some examples of common burn accidents include:

  • Car or truck accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Chemical spills
  • Contact with hot liquids, such as boiling water or hot coffee
  • Scalding from contact with hot surfaces
  • Electrical burns from electrocutions
  • Fires caused by faulty products, wires, or stoves

Burns often require weeks or months of recovery, and they may require painful procedures such as skin grafts or even amputations. Severe burns may cause permanent disfigurement or loss of mobility or feeling in some parts of the body.

 

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