Philadelphia Burn Injury Lawyer
If you suffered serious burns in an accident due to the negligence of another party, you likely already know the substantial suffering that goes along with serious burns: immense physical pain, scarring, and the potential for serious complications as the body heals. Not only that, you may have serious financial stresses that make your recovery even more challenging. Your burns can prevent you from working, even as your medical bills continue to pile up.
A Philadelphia burn injury lawyer can help you file a claim against the at-fault party that caused your burns—and help you recover some of the funds you need as you manage your health and take care of your medical bills. Contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183 to schedule a free consultation on your specific circumstances.
Burn Injuries: A Variety of Causes
Burn injuries can occur in a variety of ways. When most people imagine burns, they think of heat burns (burns that occur when you come too close to a source of heat and damage your skin). Other types of burns, however, can cause injuries with equal severity that impact the body in similar ways to heat burns.
Chemical burns occur when your skin comes into contact with a corrosive chemical that causes burn damage. You may receive chemical burns, while working with a chemical or attempting to move it, or you may suffer burns that continue to increase in severity as the chemical remains on your skin. In some cases, you may receive chemical burns as a result of fumes in the air.
Electrical burns occur most often on construction sites, where exposed electrical wires may pose a danger to visitors and workers alike. Electrical burns can cause more severe damage than other types of burns; they can impact the entire body, including the heart and internal organs, as electricity shoots through the body. Intense exposure to electrical currents can lead to severe injury or death.
Friction burns occur when the skin experiences a great deal of friction. Repeated friction over time can remove layers of skin, leading to the same types of injuries suffered during a burn. Friction burns can also result from extreme friction all at once. Road rash, for example, often results when an accident victim’s skin gets dragged across the pavement in an accident. Friction burns can also occur on construction sites due to faulty equipment.
Cold burns occur much the same way as heat burns. Instead of exposure to extreme heat causing the burns, exposure to extreme cold can have the same impact on the body.
Grading Burn Severity
Doctors grade burns on a scale based on the severity of the burn. At each grade, burns have serious symptoms that can cause severe pain and other complications for the patient.
First Degree Burns
First degree burns usually involve only the top layer of skin. Usually, the skin looks reddened. A first degree burn does not include blistering or more severe damage. Most of the time, first degree burns heal with relatively little complication. Victims should take special care if they suffer first degree burns around the face or groin, or if burns occur in joints, since that can cause higher rates of complication.
Second Degree Burns
Second degree burns affect both the outer layer of skin and the layer beneath it, the dermis. Typically, second degree burns cause a great deal of swelling and pain. Victims often have blisters as well as reddened or white skin. In the case of severe or deep second degree burns, victims may suffer substantial scarring. This can leave a psychological as well as physical impact.
Third Degree Burns
Third degree burns go below the skin into the fat layer beneath. In some cases, third degree burns may not cause as much pain as second degree burns, since nerve damage can cause numbness in the affected area. Third degree burns have a high rate of complication, and usually leave severe scarring behind.
Fourth Degree Burns
Fourth degree burns cause extreme damage to the affected tissue, including not only the skin but fat, muscle, and even bone beneath. Fourth degree burns may involve a long road to recovery and can leave the victim with severe scarring that will last throughout their lifetime.
Potential Burn Complications
In addition to the severe pain often associated with burns, burns have a high rate of complication. Many burn victims receive treatment in a special burn unit inside the hospital. In the burn unit, a sterile environment helps decrease the risk of infection. Unfortunately, it does not fully eliminate the risk of complications for burn injury victims.
The skin serves as a vital protective layer that prevents bacteria from getting into the body. Burns strip the skin of that protection, leaving victims at risk for severe infection. If infection sets in, the victim must receive prompt treatment. Infection can increase scarring or, in some cases, even lead to death.
Failed Skin Grafts
Skin grafts remove a layer of skin from a healthy part of the body and place it on the burned area in an effort to decrease the risk of infection and increase the likelihood of healing. Unfortunately, skin grafts may fail. Some burn victims need multiple procedures to help them heal.
Scarring from burns can permanently impact the burn victim’s appearance. For many victims, this not only causes serious physical trauma, it can leave them with ongoing psychological trauma.
When burns occur around joints, many victims find that they suffer from decreased mobility in the affected area, which makes it more difficult for them to move and get around. Severe scarring can restrict movement in the limbs even when it does not occur around joints.
Seeking Compensation After Severe Burns
Many burn victims need to seek compensation for their injuries. If another party caused your injuries, you could have cause to file a Philadelphia burn injury claim against that party to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact a Philadelphia burn injury attorney, like those at The Levin Firm, for more information about filing a claim.
The Compensation You Could Expect for Philadelphia Burn Injuries
You have high medical bills and may have lost your income due to inability to work during your recovery. If you suffered severe injuries due to the negligence of another party, how much compensation could you expect?
The compensation received by burn victims varies.
Several factors can influence the compensation you ultimately receive, including:
- The liable party in your accident. In many cases—including premises liability accidents and auto accidents—the party that caused your accident may carry liability insurance that could provide compensation for your injuries. The limits of that insurance policy might determine how much compensation you could receive for your injuries, even if your medical bills exceed the amount offered by the policy.
- Your medical expenses from philadelphia burn injuries. Burn injuries often leave their victims with substantial medical expenses. Burn victims may need ongoing medical treatment throughout their recovery. In addition to skin grafts, victims may need plastic surgery to repair some of the scarring from those injuries. Some burn victims cannot recover their normal physical appearance, even with plastic surgery. You may also require physical therapy to help you regain mobility following your burns. In some cases, victims may also need occupational therapy, especially if severe burns lead to amputations or permanent loss of mobility.
- The wages you lose after your accident. Many burn victims cannot return to work immediately after their accidents. Severe pain can impair concentration, making it impossible for victims to return to work until they have made some progress through their recovery. Victims in highly physical positions may also find it difficult to resume their usual work responsibilities while tender skin slowly heals after suffering severe burns. Those lost wages can add up, especially if you have to miss a great deal of time at work during your recovery. While some employers will provide the opportunity to work from home while you heal, other employers may prefer that you make a full recovery before you return to work. You could include compensation for your lost income as part of your Philadelphia burn injury claim.
- Your pain and suffering. Most often, insurance companies base compensation for pain and suffering after an accident on a percentage of your medical expenses. Work with an attorney, like those at The Levin Firm, to help you understand how to include pain and suffering from your burns as part of your Philadelphia burn injury claim. A Philadelphia burn injury attorney could help you include mental and emotional anguish in your damages as well as your physical suffering after your burns. For example, many victims experience a sense of shame related to scarring after their burns. Others may struggle with a sense of social isolation, both during and after their recoveries.
Identifying the Liable Party in Your Philadelphia Burn Injuries
To file a Philadelphia burn injury claim, you should work with an attorney to identify the party or parties that caused or contributed to your burns. In some cases, multiple parties may share liability for your injuries. Identifying all liable parties could ultimately help increase the compensation you receive for your burns, since you could file a Philadelphia burn injury claim against each one.
To identify the liable party, your attorney would ask three questions:
- Who bore a duty of care to you at the time of the accident? That is, who had a responsibility for helping you avoid injury at the time of your accident? In an auto accident, for example, each driver bears a duty of care to all other drivers on the road. If you rent a property from a landlord, that landlord bears a duty of care to you to ensure that you have a safe home with no electrical hazards.
- How did that party violate that duty of care to you? For example, if your landlord failed to provide you with an adequate fire escape route, or if your landlord did not take care of an electrical hazard that ultimately led to your injuries, your landlord may have violated his duty of care to you. Likewise, a distracted truck driver may violate his duty of care to other drivers and passengers on the road.
- How did that violation lead to your injuries? If you notice an electrical wiring problem in your apartment, but do not suffer burns because of it, you do not have grounds for a Philadelphia burn injury claim against your landlord. Likewise, a distracted truck driver who cuts over in front of you, but does not hit you or cause burns because you managed to swerve out of the way, does not leave you with grounds for a Philadelphia burn injury claim.
Managing Settlements and Insurance Offers
After suffering from burns, you may receive a settlement offer from the liable party’s insurance company. The insurance company may issue you a settlement offer. Usually, that settlement offer looks good on the surface. The insurance company may even try to convince you that it reflects a fair offer—the amount you deserve for the injuries you suffered.
All too often, however, the insurance company will not really issue a fair offer. The insurance company may attempt to offer minimal compensation in the hopes that you will take it, relieving the company of further financial liability for your injuries. If you take that offer, you eliminate your grounds for further compensation, even if your medical expenses rise or you suffer more complications than anticipated. Always consult a Philadelphia burn injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer. Contact The Levin Firm today to get started.
Philadelphia Burn Injury FAQ
Burn injuries: not only can they cause excruciating pain and suffering, they could leave you with lifelong scarring that permanently changes your appearance. If you suffered burn injuries due to another party’s negligence, you may have questions about your legal rights, including how to seek compensation for your medical expenses. Contact an experienced Philadelphia burn injury attorney at the Levin Firm for more specific advice pertaining to your personal burn injury claim.
1. Who pays my medical bills after a burn injury in Philadelphia?
Ultimately, as the injured party, you must take care of paying for your medical expenses.
However, you may have several options for paying your medical bills after suffering severe burns due to another party’s negligence:
- Personal injury protection insurance. If you suffer burns in a car accident—including an accident with a big truck or other commercial driver—you could use your personal injury protection insurance to pay for your immediate medical bills. You can use your personal injury protection insurance regardless of who caused your accident.
- Personal medical insurance. Your personal medical insurance can prove to be incredibly valuable for helping to cover your medical bills. Make sure to contact your medical insurance provider to help you fully understand your policy, what it will cover, and how your coverage applies in the case of injuries caused by another party.
- A philadelphia burn injury claim. In a Philadelphia burn injury claim, you could seek compensation from the party that caused your injuries. This compensation could provide some of the funds you need to help rebuild your life following an accident with serious injuries. Not only could the funds from a Philadelphia burn injury claim help cover your medical expenses, they could offer valuable assistance with covering your regular bills or handling other expenses that arise during your recovery.
2. How much compensation do I deserve for burn injuries suffered in Philadelphia?
Several factors can influence the compensation you ultimately receive for burn injuries suffered in a Philadelphia accident. It is likely that the party that caused your injuries will carry insurance designed to provide compensation for accidents like this.
Drivers, for example, carry bodily injury policies on their auto insurance, while landlords may carry premises liability insurance to help provide coverage in the event of an accident on that property. The limits of that insurance policy typically determine the maximum compensation you can receive, even if your financial damages from the accident exceed the limits of the policy.
Most people include several common elements when filing a Philadelphia burn injury claim for burn injuries.
Compensation for medical bills. Even patients with relatively minor burns may experience substantial medical bills. Burns have a high rate of complication, which means that they require a high standard of care. Those complications can also add to the immediate cost of your medical expenses. You could include compensation for all your burn-related expenses as part of your Philadelphia burn injury claim.
These could include:
- Emergency medical treatment
- The cost of any surgeries or skin grafts
- Your stay in a burn unit, if needed
- The cost of physical therapy or occupational therapy, if needed
- The cost of psychological therapy, if needed to help you cope with the restrictions of your injuries
Compensation for lost wages. The severe pain from burns can make it impossible to concentrate well enough to perform your usual job duties. Even as your recovery progresses, slowly healing skin may not withstand harsh treatment, making it impossible for you to return to work. Even if you can take on some of your usual job tasks from home, you may find yourself with limited hours in the aftermath of your accident. You may find your income dropping substantially due to an inability to work. Fortunately, you could include compensation for those lost wages as part of your Philadelphia burn injury claim.
Compensation for your pain and suffering. In addition to compensation for the tangible financial losses you suffered as a result of your accident, you could also claim compensation for pain and suffering. In addition to the severe physical pain associated with even minor burns, you may suffer in several other ways. Many burn victims struggle with the scarring and permanent changes in physical appearance related to their injuries. Your burns may prevent you from attending events you had previously looked forward to, or stop you from enjoying many of your favorite activities. Some burn victims also suffer a sense of isolation related to their injuries: scarring may make them uncomfortable going out in public, or they may feel isolated from friends and family members throughout their recovery.
3. If I suffer complications during my recovery, does it increase the compensation I could receive?
You could include compensation for all of your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering as part of your Philadelphia burn injury claim. Because complications in your recovery impact your bills and suffering, they could also impact your compensation. Many attorneys would recommend waiting until you have a better idea of what your recovery will look like and, as a result, how much you will have to pay for your medical expenses before filing a Philadelphia burn injury claim. This can help ensure that the expenses you face during your recovery are more accurately reflected in the damages you pursue.
4. How could I get compensation for a Philadelphia Accident that resulted in severe burns?
If you faced an accident due to another party’s negligence that resulted in severe burns, contact an attorney as soon after your accident as possible. An attorney could walk you through filing a Philadelphia burn injury claim, help with collecting evidence, and give you a better idea of how much compensation you deserve for your injuries.
5. Who bears liability for my Philadelphia burn accident?
To show liability in a burn accident claim, your attorney may ask three questions:
- Who bore a duty of care to you at the time of the accident?
- How did that party violate that duty of care?
- How did that violation result in your injuries?
To show that you have grounds for a Philadelphia burn injury claim, your attorney would need evidence that the liable party bore that duty of care to you, violated it in some way, and that the violation caused your injuries.
Suppose, for example, that you live in an apartment complex. Despite frequent reminders, the landlord has failed to install fire alarms throughout the property, and you discovered blocked fire exits that pose a substantial hazard during a fire. If a fire occurs and you suffer injuries due to the landlord’s violation of that duty of care—that is, failing to take adequate fire safety precautions—you would likely have grounds for a Philadelphia burn injury claim.
On the other hand, if your landlord failed to take necessary precautions for several months after you moved in, but no fire occurred and you did not suffer any injuries, you would not have grounds for a Philadelphia burn injury claim against your landlord. You may, however, have grounds to take other action.
Likewise, if you suffered burns in an auto accident, the other driver may have violated their duty of care to you. That violation might include driving distracted, driving under the influence, or ignoring the rules of the road.
Consult an attorney to help give you a better understanding of who caused your accident and how that influences your Philadelphia burn injury claim. If an attorney identifies multiple parties that share liability for your injuries, it may also increase the compensation you receive for your accident.
6. I got a call from the insurance company that covers the at-fault party shortly after I suffered my injuries. They wanted to issue a settlement. Should I take it?
Many insurance companies will contact accident victims soon after the accident to issue a settlement offer. On the surface, this may sound like an attractive offer. By taking that offer, they assure you, you can get compensation for your injuries in a hurry. You will not have to deal with a long or complex legal battle, retain an attorney, or worry about your claim as you fight to recover from your burns.
Unfortunately, that offer may not reflect the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you accept that offer, it could ultimately minimize the compensation you receive, leaving you unable to pay the full amount of your medical bills or cover your other expenses after the accident.
Instead of accepting the settlement as soon as the insurance company offers it, contact a Philadelphia burn injury attorney to discuss the offer and what it may mean for you. A Philadelphia burn injury attorney could help you better understand the compensation offer and how accepting it will affect your finances as well as how much compensation you really deserve for your burns.
7. When should I contact an attorney after suffering serious burns?
Ideally, you should contact an attorney as soon after your accident as possible. That does not mean that you need to contact an attorney from the ambulance, but you will certainly want to contact one before you finish your recovery. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner the attorney could start working to collect evidence on your behalf.
Often, that evidence can become more difficult to collect as time passes. Memories can fade, making it more difficult for witnesses to accurately report what happened. The liable party may even attempt to cover up some of the evidence in an effort to shift liability to you. By contacting an attorney soon after your injuries, you increase the odds that your attorney could collect the full evidence you need to prove liability in your accident.
8. Will I have to go to court to settle my burn injury claim?
Most of the time, burn injury claims settle out of court. In some cases, however, the insurance company may fight harder to deny you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. In those cases, you may need to take your claim to court to reach an agreement with the insurance company or liable party.
If you do have to go to court, it can significantly contribute to the amount of time needed to settle your claim and get your compensation in your hands. Before going to court, you will usually go through multiple rounds of negotiation. You may also sit down for a mediation session, in which a judge or former judge hears each side’s claims and tries a final time to help you reach a resolution without having to take your claim to court.
9. If the liable party does not have insurance, can i still file a Philadelphia burn injury claim?
Yes. You could file a Philadelphia burn injury claim following severe burns even if the other party does not have insurance. If the other party does not have insurance, however, you may find it more difficult to get the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. Consult with an attorney to get a better idea of how much compensation you could expect following burn injuries when the other party does not have insurance.
10. How long does it take to settle a burn injury claim in Philadelphia?
Several factors can influence the length of time it takes to settle a burn injury claim. First, you may need to wait until you have a better idea of your future prognosis and your recovery before you file your claim. The longer you take to recover, the more time you may need to start negotiations. The more you need to negotiate, the longer it can take to settle your claim. Many victims also find that the more compensation they need to ask for, the longer it can take for the insurance company to reach a settlement. In the case of severe burns, it may take longer to reach a settlement agreement than in the case of more minor injuries.
Working With Our Philadelphia Burn Injury Lawyers Could Help
If you suffered burns due to another party’s negligence in Philadelphia, an experienced burn injury attorney could help. Not only could an attorney help collect valuable evidence that may help prove who caused your injuries, an attorney could provide you with more information about how to navigate your claim and the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. Contact The Levin Firm today at (215) 825-5183 to learn more about your rights following severe burns.