Burn injuries are not only painful but expensive. Those who are fortunate enough to live through an explosion, fire, or other cause of severe burns face weeks or months in the hospital to heal. Many must undergo one or more surgeries that typically include skin grafts. In the worse cases, burn victims must stay in a medically induced coma to prevent them from feeling excruciating pain while healing. If you have suffered a burn injury due to negligence, New Jersey law permits you to take legal action against the party responsible for your burns.
The experienced Atlantic City burn injury lawyers at The Levin Firm have extensive experience helping injured victims seek compensation for their injuries, including those who have suffered burns. Money will not undo the harm or the pain you have suffered, but it can help provide needed funding for costly treatment and surgeries related to your injuries. Contact us today online or call our Atlantic City team at (609) 250-2800 for a free consultation to discuss your burn injuries and how they have impacted your life.
Multiple Sources Lead to Severe and Fatal Burns
The American Burn Association estimates that each year approximately half a million people across the United States receive medical attention for burns. Tens of thousands of those burn victims need to spend time in a special burn unit to recover. Medical professionals always need to know the source of a burn before treatment. Different burn sources warrant different approaches. On a broad level, burns come from five sources: the sun, heat, radiation, hazardous substances, and electricity. More specific causes of preventable burns include:
Some burn victims suffer because they came in contact with hot steam or a hot liquid. Although anyone can suffer a hot liquid scald, two groups are especially vulnerable. Service industry employers who work in restaurants, bars, hotels, or any place where they must cook or serve hot food risk burns from hot liquids. Babies and young children also risk dangerous scalds from excessively hot bathwater or from being left alone in a kitchen. Restaurant owners, childcare providers, and landlords could be liable for severe burns from hot liquids.
When we think of burn injuries, we typically think of fires and/or explosions. Fires might be controlled, such as campfires or garbage fires. Other times gas leaks, arson, poor electrical work, cigarettes, and dangerous explosions lead to uncontrolled fires. Explosive traffic accidents can also cause serious burn injuries. Either case could be grounds for a lawsuit if negligence led to the burns. Burn victims who live through a dangerous fire often suffer permanent injuries.
Hazardous materials can cause a wide range of injuries to people who are exposed. However, corrosive substances are the most dangerous source of chemical burns. Inhaling corrosive substances can permanently damage the lungs. The most dangerous substances can eat through a person’s skin, sometimes all the way to the bone. Unfortunately, corrosive substances are found everywhere, and careless actions can lead to chemical burns. Common substances often associated with chemical burns include bleach, ammonia, battery acid, and teeth whiteners.
The average person only comes in contact with high levels of radiation for medical reasons. Medical professionals use radiation for X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other diagnostic scans. Additionally, radiation therapy is a common treatment for many types of cancer. Oncologists use radiation therapy to shrink tumors and help eradicate cancer throughout the body. Doctors and x-ray technicians who overexpose patients to radiation can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening internal damage.
Electricians have been trained to work around live electrical currents. They risk injury but know how to avoid it compared to others. Poor electrical wiring, old wires, and exposed wiring can cause fires and burn injuries. Those who come in direct contact with electricity face electrocution. Young children and toddlers are especially at risk for electrical burns if they touch unprotected electrical outlets or other exposed electrical currents.
Recouping Losses After an Atlantic City Burn Injury
If you have suffered burn injuries in a fire or other event in Atlantic City, you have the right to seek compensation for damages to recoup losses related to your burn injuries. If you settle with an insurance company or a court rules in your favor, you could receive compensation. Common damages burn victims receive money for include:
- Medical treatment costs such as ambulance service, emergency room visit, hospital stay, surgery, pain medication, X-rays, lab tests, scans, and transportation to and from the doctor/hospital
- Estimated future medical treatment costs for burn victims who need additional surgeries, skin grafts, and/or ongoing treatment and care because of their burns
- Rehabilitation expenses including treatment with specialists, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and any other treatment to help a burn victim cope with the physical and emotional consequences of their injuries and scars
- Lost income from missing work due to a burn injury, healing, and recovery
- Lost earning capacity when a burn injury prevents a victim from returning to their job or working in the future
- Emotional and physical pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium with a spouse, if applicable
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
- Punitive damages when burns occur because of gross negligence or willful harm
Your Atlantic City burn injury lawyer can review the facts of your claim and advise you on the damages which apply to your case.
Atlantic City Burn Injury FAQs
In the aftermath of a burn injury, you and your family face many decisions about treatment, finances, and more. It’s common for burn victims to feel overwhelmed. In addition to facing the pain that comes with healing from burns, feeling sad, angry, upset, and uncertain about the future can leave burn victims unsure about the next steps.
If negligence played a role in your burn injuries, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney who can guide you through the claims process and advocate for you each step of the way. The following answers to frequently asked questions about burn injuries in Atlantic City and the process of seeking compensation for damages provide broad information until you have the opportunity to meet with an attorney and discuss your injuries.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Lawsuit After an Atlantic City Burn Injury?
New Jersey has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those involving burn injuries. In the vast majority of cases, burn victims must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of injury. Those who do not bring a suit risk losing the chance to recoup losses related to their injuries. However, some scenarios might warrant an exception. For example, if you spent months in a medically induced coma to heal from your burns and you were unable to contact an attorney, a court might pause the time clock. It’s always best to consult a lawyer as soon as possible.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer for My Burn Injuries?
It’s always best to consult with an attorney about any settlement offer you receive from the other side. Insurance companies and defendants want to avoid making large payouts, especially if they know they are financially liable for injuries. Offering a quick settlement is one way to avoid some financial liability. Accepting an early offer can leave you without the money you need to cover medical expenses and lost wages from continued treatment for your burns. Signing a settlement agreement also includes waiving your right to seek further compensation for your burn injuries. Early offers are typically high enough to tempt burn victims but far less than the value of a claim. A lawyer can review the offer and often negotiate a better outcome.
Are My Burns Bad Enough to File an Atlantic City Burn Injury Claim?
If you are unsure whether you have a viable claim, it’s best to contact an attorney who can review your case. In most cases, you likely will not have a claim if you have suffered first-degree burns unless they cover a large part of your body, causing you to take time away from work for healing. Second-degree, third-degree, and higher burns can leave scars. If you’ve had one or more surgeries and skin grafts, you likely have a claim if your burns occurred because of negligence. Always consult with a lawyer, but burn victims almost always have a claim if they had to miss a significant amount of work, have scars, or had to undergo surgery.
How Long Before My Atlantic City Burn Injury Case Is Resolved?
It’s impossible to predict how long you will have to wait for a settlement or jury verdict for your claim. Each burn victim suffers different injuries and faces a wide range of consequences. Many other factors also impact the timeline of your claim. Settlements sometimes take only a few months after negotiations begin. If your claim goes to trial, you will have to wait at least a year or two. Preparing for court takes time and is often the last resort after settlement negotiations fail. Common factors that influence the timeline of a burn injury claim include:
- Liability. If investigators have difficulty determining liability, disputes slow down negotiations, sometimes forcing litigation.
- Injuries. Lawyers have to know the full extent of a burn victim’s injuries to value a claim accurately. Some burn victims need to spend months in a burn unit before doctors can assess the likelihood of a full recovery.
- Litigation. Lawyers must gather expert testimony, schedule witnesses, and perform various administrative tasks related to going to trial. This can add months to the timeline of a claim, especially if witnesses are unavailable.
Can I Afford an Atlantic City Burn Injury Lawyer?
Yes, you can afford the legal help you need. Personal injury lawyers, including those who represent burn victims, do not charge upfront retainer fees like tax attorneys or criminal defense attorneys. Personal injury law firms accept new clients on contingency. A contingent fee agreement permits your attorney to deduct attorney fees and other costs of representation from any settlement money or court-awarded damages you receive from their efforts. If you do not prevail in your claim, you do not have to pay attorney fees.
How Can an Atlantic Burn Injury Attorney Help?
Personal injury lawyers perform a wide range of tasks to advocate for their clients. You know lawyers file paperwork and draft documents, but they help their clients in many other ways. Examples of ways a burn injury lawyer helps include:
- Evaluating the facts of a case to ensure a client has a viable claim
- Investigating the event that led to burn injuries to uncover all the facts of a claim
- Gathering evidence to build a strong case, including documents, witness statements, police reports, and other relevant information
- Consulting with scientists, doctors, and other experts to support your claim
- Protecting clients from tricky tactics insurance companies use to devalue and deny claims
- Negotiating with insurance companies and/or defense legal teams to obtain the maximum compensation commensurate with a client’s injuries
- Fighting for clients in the courtroom when settlement negotiations fail
If you or a loved one has sustained burn injuries, contact The Levin Firm today for a free case review. We can learn more about your claim and strategize about the best way forward to recover losses related to your Atlantic City burn injuries.
Let an Atlantic City Burn Injury Lawyer Help
Burn injuries are painful and costly. You and your family shouldn’t have to face the economic hardship and financial stress that accompanies your injuries when someone else caused them. The skilled legal team at The Levin Firm understands the challenges facing you, and we can help you seek the justice you deserve. If you, your child, or another loved one has sustained a severe burn injury, contact The Levin Firm online or at (609) 250-2800 for a free case evaluation to share your story with us and determine the best course of action for your circumstances.