IT'S MORE TO US, IT'S PERSONAL
Acknowledging Your Pain, Pursuing Your Rights: Our Expert Burn Injury Lawyers Offer Compassionate Advocacy.
In a split second, an electrical accident, chemical spill, house fire, or other incident can leave burn victims permanently scarred and struggling to pick up the pieces. Every year, over 450,000 serious burn injuries occur in the United States, leaving scars that last a lifetime. Many of these injuries could have easily been prevented. Behind most devastating burns is an act of negligence that forever altered someone's life. Whether your burn injury resulted from faulty wiring, an unlabeled chemical, a handling error by a nurse, or any other careless act, you're forced to pay the price for someone else’s negligence.
Our burn injury lawyers know that the deepest pains aren’t visible - after the wounds are bandaged, the real work begins. Expensive reconstructive surgeries, skin grafts, rehabilitation and counseling are only the start of rebuilding life after a catastrophic burn injury. When companies cut corners on worker safety or manufacturers produce defective products, they endanger lives. Wettermark Keith's personal injury attorneys have a proven record of exposing negligence and recovering damages for burn survivors - and are committed to promoting safety and accountability. While you focus on recovery, our attorneys will advocate on your behalf for the compensation, accountability, and justice you deserve.
How Burn Injuries Occur
Burn injuries damage skin and underlying tissues primarily through heat, radiation, electricity, friction or exposure to chemicals. It is critical to understand the different types of burns, as each comes with specific injuries and required treatments.
Degrees of Burns:
First Degree Burns - impacting only the skin's outer layer, these cause pain, redness, and swelling. They usually heal independently within a week, but severe instances necessitate medical attention.
Second Degree Burns - reaching deeper skin layers, these burns induce pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. Without appropriate care, they can scar and take weeks to heal.
Third Degree Burns - these burns extend to underlying fat and tissues. Marked by a charred, white or blackened appearance, they often need surgical excision and grafting.
Fourth Degree Burns - extending beyond the skin and fat, fourth degree burns are the most severe, penetrating muscle - and even bone - and resulting in significant destruction of tissue.
Types of Burns:
Thermal (Contact) Burns - direct exposure to flames, hot objects, scalding fluids, or steam triggers these burns, constituting over 40% of burn injuries.
Chemical Burns - when corrosive substances like acids, bases, or solvents come into contact with the skin, they cause tissue destruction. Immediate rinsing is imperative.
Electrical Burns - electrical currents or arcs traversing the body cause these burns. Beyond visible entry and exit points, these currents can induce profound internal injuries.
Inhalation Burns - inhalation of superheated gases or toxic fumes can injure the respiratory system, with potential damage to both upper airways and lower lungs.
What Kind of Accidents Lead to Burns?
Burns are not restricted to mere physical contact with a hot object or flame. A wide array of accidents can lead to burns, depending on the environment, the materials present, and the actions (or inactions) of those involved.
Kitchen Incidents - the kitchen is often a hotspot for potential burn injuries. A momentary lapse in attention can lead to boiling water spilling over, or hot oil splattering from a frying pan. It's also common for individuals, especially children, to accidentally touch or grab hot pots and pans, leading to direct thermal burns. Many of these incidents happen during the busy cooking hours and can be exacerbated when multiple tasks are being managed simultaneously.
Misuse of Electrical Appliances - every household has a plethora of electrical appliances, each with its own set of safety guidelines. When these appliances malfunction or are misused, they can pose significant risks. For instance, overloaded sockets, damaged cords, or the use of devices near water sources can lead to electrical fires. Such fires not only damage property but can cause severe burns, especially if individuals attempt to handle the malfunctioning device.
Bathroom Accidents - the average bathroom carries its own set of burn risks. Water heaters, especially older models without adjustable thermostats, can dispense water at dangerously high temperatures. A malfunctioning thermostat can also lead to unexpectedly hot water output, causing scald burns when individuals are caught off guard during a shower or bath.
Chemical Spills - in industrial settings, workers often handle potent chemicals as part of their daily tasks. Without proper protective equipment or due to accidental spills, these corrosive substances can come into contact with the skin, leading to chemical burns. The severity of these burns often depends on the nature of the chemical and the duration of contact.
Machinery Malfunctions - large industrial machines operate at high capacities and can generate significant heat. When these machines malfunction, they can overheat or release hot steam and substances. Operators or workers in close proximity can suffer from thermal burns, especially if safety shutdown mechanisms fail.
Vehicle Fires - car crashes or collisions are traumatic events, and in certain scenarios, they can be compounded by the risk of fires. Damaged fuel tanks or ruptured fuel lines can leak, and the presence of sparks or high temperatures can ignite these leaks. The resulting fires can cause burn injuries to already vulnerable passengers, making prompt rescue operations critical.
Road Rash - for those who prefer two wheels over four, road rash is a known hazard. When motorcyclists or bicyclists are involved in accidents, they often slide across the road surface. This combination of friction and heat results in friction burns, commonly known as road rash, which can be painful and require specialized treatment.
Camping Incidents - the inexperienced handling of campfires, or unsafe use of flammable liquids can result in sudden flare-ups or fires getting out of control. Burns from these incidents can range from minor to severe, depending on proximity and the nature of the fire.
Sunburns - while a day at the beach or a hike in the mountains sounds enticing, prolonged exposure to the sun's rays without adequate protection can lead to radiation burns, more commonly known as sunburns. These burns are not only painful but can have long-term effects on the skin, increasing the risk of skin conditions and diseases.
Medical and Cosmetic Procedures
Laser Treatments - the cosmetic industry has seen a surge in procedures using laser technology. However, if not administered correctly, laser treatments targeting hair removal, skin resurfacing, or other skin issues can result in burns. It emphasizes the need for trained professionals and adequately maintained equipment.
Radiation Therapy - while radiation therapy is a crucial tool in the fight against cancer, intense, sustained radiation can sometimes lead to burns. These burns occur when the skin absorbs more radiation than intended, often due to equipment malfunctions or oversight in administration. Continuous monitoring and post-procedure care are vital to prevent and manage such incidents.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Burn Injury:
Burn injuries can be some of the most painful and traumatic experiences one can go through. The immediate aftermath of a burn can be chaotic and stressful, but knowing what steps to take can make a significant difference in the healing process and the prevention of complications. Below are some steps to help you navigate the crucial moments following a burn injury:
Assess the Situation - before anything else, ensure you're no longer in contact with the source of the burn, be it fire, electricity, chemicals, or hot surfaces. Move to a safe location and protect yourself from further harm.
If Necessary, Seek Immediate Medical Attention - for burns larger than three inches, or if they're on sensitive areas like the face, hands, feet, or major joints, seek medical help right away. Chemical and electrical burns always warrant immediate medical care, regardless of their size.
Cool the Burn - gently hold the burned area under cool (not cold) running water for 10-15 minutes or until the pain eases. This helps reduce the severity of the burn and relieves some of the pain.
Protect the Burned Area - after cooling, cover the burn with a sterile non-adhesive bandage to keep it clean and prevent infections. Avoid popping any blisters, as these act as a protective layer.
Avoid Using Ice - ice can cause more damage to the burned area. Instead, opt for cool water as described earlier.
Administer Pain Relief - over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate pain. Consult a healthcare professional before administering any medication.
Stay Hydrated - severe burns can cause fluid loss from the body. Ensure you drink enough water to keep hydrated, especially if the burned area is large.
Wear Loose Clothing - to prevent further irritation to the burn, avoid tight clothing that might stick to or rub against the injury.
Monitor for Infections - over the following days, keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, pus, or if the pain worsens. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention.
Contact a Burn Injury Attorney - if your burn injury resulted from someone else's negligence, such as a workplace accident, product malfunction, or other scenarios, it's wise to consult with a burn injury attorney. They can provide legal advice and guide you on potential compensation for your injury and suffering.
Knowing these steps can significantly improve the outcome of a burn injury and lead to a swifter recovery.
The Devastating Effects of Burn Injuries
While some burn injuries are relatively minor, others can be catastrophic, causing severe, lifelong consequences. The larger, deeper and more widespread the burn, the higher the degree, with third-degree burns affecting all layers of the skin and underlying tissue.
Depending on the location and degree, burn injuries can:
Cause excruciating pain that persists during the long healing process
Require extensive, painful debridement and skin graft surgeries
Lead to disfigurement from extensive scarring
Cause physical limitations if tendons, muscles, nerves and bones are damaged
Create a high risk of life-threatening infection
Prevent a return to work and normal daily life activities
Carry an enormous financial burden from medical expenses and lost income
The Healing Process
For a minor burn, recovery may involve bandaging and pain medication. Recovering from a serious burn, however, often requires months or years of comprehensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Immediately after the burn, victims may be hospitalized for weeks in a specialized burn unit where doctors work to prevent infection, fluid loss, and stabilize the victim. Following this, debridement to remove dead tissue, the application of skin grafts, and reconstructive surgeries may be necessary. Physical and occupational therapy often helps survivors regain strength, mobility and the ability to perform daily tasks, while counseling addresses the common psychological effects of a serious burn, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Determining Liability in Burn Injury Cases
Establishing liability in burn injury cases is a nuanced process, often involving a meticulous examination of the events leading up to the injury, a careful evaluation of the circumstances, and a deep dive into any potential negligence or misconduct. Wettermark Keith's team of expert burn injury attorneys has both the expertise and dedication to ensure that those responsible are held accountable. Here's a closer look at how our attorneys determine liability:
The initial step in any burn injury case is collecting all relevant information. This includes police reports, witness testimonies, photos or videos of the scene, and any other pertinent evidence. This foundational data serves as the base upon which the entire case is built.
Expert testimonies, especially from burn specialists or forensic experts, can provide critical insights into the cause and extent of the injuries. They can help establish if the burns were a result of specific neglect or due to unavoidable circumstances.
In cases like industrial accidents or product-related burns, a close look at the safety measures in place is vital. Were there adequate safety protocols, and if so, were they adhered to? Were employees provided with appropriate protective equipment? Were consumers given adequate warnings about potential risks?
If the burn injury was caused due to a faulty product, like a malfunctioning electrical appliance, the manufacturer could be held liable. Here, attorneys explore if the product was inherently defective, if proper quality checks were bypassed, or if there were insufficient instructions or warnings.
In situations like house or building fires, the property owner's responsibility comes into question. Was the electrical wiring up to code? Were there functional smoke detectors? Was there any negligence in maintaining safety standards?
Some jurisdictions consider the victim's role in the incident. Were they in any way contributory to the accident leading to the burns? This doesn't necessarily absolve others of blame but can proportionally reduce the compensation if the victim is found partially responsible.
Sometimes, liability can be determined based on existing contracts or warranties. For instance, if an appliance under warranty malfunctions leading to burns, the company might be held responsible depending on the terms of the warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions
The statute of limitations, or the allowed time frame to initiate a lawsuit, varies greatly depending on state and jurisdiction. Generally, most states provide a 1 to 4 year window from the date of the injury - but this can differ based on the type of claim and the specific facts of the case. If you miss the deadline to file a case in your jurisdiction, you risk forfeiting your right to seek compensation. As such, it's crucial to consult with our burn injury lawyers as soon as possible.
The amount and type of compensation you can expect largely depends on the specifics of your injury and its repercussions. Generally, claimants can pursue:
- Medical Expenses: Covers past, present, and future medical costs related to the burn injury.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for any work missed due to the injury and its subsequent treatment.
- Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages related to the physical pain and emotional distress from the injury.
- Property Damage: If any personal property was damaged in the incident causing the burn.
- Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence or malicious intent, these are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.
Determining liability hinges on the cause and circumstances of your burn injury. Possible liable parties include:
- Employers: If the burn happened due to unsafe working conditions.
- Product Manufacturers: In cases of malfunctioning or improperly labeled products.
- Property Owners: For failing to maintain safe premises or not warning about potential dangers.
- Individuals: Anyone whose direct negligence or intentional act caused your injury.
Wettermark Keith's burn injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they win your case. We choose to operate this way for the benefit of our clients - with no upfront cost.
Not necessarily. While many burn injuries can result in compensation, the eligibility typically revolves around proving someone else's negligence, a faulty product, or an avoidable scenario that led to the injury. Accidents where the injured party is solely at fault may not be eligible.
Absolutely - if a family member is killed by burn injuries due to another's negligence, immediate relatives - such as spouses, children, or parents - can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of claim seeks compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and potential lost wages.
The timeline of a burn injury case can fluctuate. Factors influencing duration include the complexity of the case, the willingness of the other parties to settle, the collection of evidence, and court backlog. While some cases achieve settlements in just weeks, difficult cases that proceed to trial might extend over multiple years.
Possibly - if a burn injury at work stems from employer negligence or hazardous conditions, you might be entitled to sue beyond just claiming workers' compensation. Sometimes, a third party (e.g., equipment manufacturer) might be liable. However, specific worker's compensation laws in some states might prohibit suing the employer directly, making legal consultation vital.
What Types of Damages am I Eligible For?
Burn victims face immense physical, emotional, and financial suffering. While money cannot erase the trauma, financial compensation helps provide for your ongoing care and recovery. Wettermark Keith's dedicated attorneys take pride in helping burn injury clients recover full compensation for their injuries, including:
Medical Expenses - burn treatments like debridement, skin grafts, reconstructive surgeries, rehabilitation and physical/occupational therapy can cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars over a lifetime. We make sure your current and future medical bills are covered.
Lost Income - most burn victims miss extensive time at work recovering. Many are left permanently disabled and unable to return to the job they had previously. Our attorneys seek compensation for all past and future lost wages.
Pain and Suffering - burn pain can be excruciating, frequent and long-lasting. Disfigurement and physical limitations also greatly diminish quality of life. Our lawyers fight for a compensation figure that reflects the physical and mental anguish of the injury.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life - disability and scarring often prevent burn survivors from participating in activities and hobbies they previously enjoyed. Monetary damages may help compensate for this loss of fulfillment.
Punitive Damages - when negligence is particularly egregious or reckless, courts may award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party. Though rare, large punitive damage awards serve to deter similar future misconduct.
Wrongful Death Damages - where burn injuries prove fatal, surviving family members can pursue wrongful death damages like funeral costs, lost companionship, and future earnings.
Navigating Life After a Burn Injury
The repercussions of a burn injury are far-reaching. From a minor kitchen accident to a catastrophic industrial explosion, serious burns may require extensive medical treatment - and result in permanent physical and emotional trauma. Apart from causing severe physical pain and lasting scars, burn injuries can deeply impact a person's life, both emotionally and financially. Beyond the immediate pain and disfigurement of the injury, many burn victims are forced to undergo long-term medical care - including treatments ranging from skin grafts, to surgeries, to rehabilitation and psychological counseling.
Severe burn injuries require a long and grueling healing process. Physical therapy aims to restore range of motion lost to scar tissue that can tightly pull skin, distort features, limit mobility, and even lead to nerve damage. However,grafted skin lacks sensation and is easily reinjured, and muscle wasting and nerve damage may result in long-term loss of function. Medication can manage agonizing background pain of the healing process, but can come with side effects while providing incomplete relief. This pain, chronic and intense, remains one of the most distressing aspects for many burn survivors. Often resulting from damaged nerve endings, burn pain can linger as a lifelong companion, brought suddenly on by a light touch or a cold day.
Adding on to the physical ordeal of a burn is the emotional damage stemming from disfigurement, especially on frequently exposed areas like the face or hands. The world can be insensitive, overlooking the individual beneath the scars. Burn survivors frequently face ongoing social challenges, grappling with feelings of isolation. Serious burn injuries also commonly lead to significant psychological effects including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and survivor’s guilt. Reaching acceptance and returning to a normal life after a life-altering, disfiguring burn injury is a monumental challenge. Independent self-care and daily tasks often require relearning. Employment may be impossible in the same field. Many survivors are devastated by the financial hardship that can accompany the loss of their job, compounded by medical costs. Relationships with loved ones and intimacy are strained.
At Wettermark Keith, our burn injury lawyers work compassionately with clients to understand their physical, emotional and practical struggles after burn injuries. We provide guidance at every step - from coordinating expert medical care to advocating for your rights and accommodations. Most importantly, we fight to obtain the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
How Wettermark Keith's Burn Injury Attorneys Can Help:
Our experienced attorneys understand that a serious burn injury can change a person's life in an instant. For over 20 years, our attorneys have fought for clients who have sustained devastating burn injuries due to negligence or intentional wrongdoing. At Wettermark Keith, we provide compassionate one-on-one legal representation tailored to each unique situation. Our attorneys will seek to reduce your stress by dealing with insurance companies, legal proceedings, paperwork and negotiations on your behalf - and if necessary, taking your case to trial.
If you choose to contact us for assistance, your attorney will conduct in-depth investigations to identify liable parties and build strong cases demonstrating accountability. They will work closely with fire experts and investigators to recreate fire accident scenes and pinpoint causes. If another person or company is responsible for the fire and resulting burns, your attorney will aggressively pursue full compensation through negotiation or litigation. In addition to securing the maximum financial recovery possible, your lawyer will also ensure you have access to top medical care from respected burn treatment specialists and rehabilitation providers. Burn injuries require extensive, customized treatment and recovery plans - Wettermark Keith coordinates with a trusted network of doctors and therapists to support our clients' physical and emotional healing.
If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, our attorneys are fully prepared to take burn injury cases to court. Our burn injury lawyers have extensive litigation experience and a proven track record of success in court. They build compelling cases and aggressively advocate for our clients before judges and juries - and their courtroom skills have resulted in countless positive verdicts and judgments for burned clients.
If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury due to negligence or misconduct, we can help. Our experienced burn injury lawyers will stand by your side and represent your best interests every step of the way as you move forward and rebuild your life. Call today at 877-715-9300 for a free consultation with our team, or contact us through our website.
About Wettermark Keith
Wettermark Keith, with offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, has an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Our reach is not only regional but includes a diverse range of practice areas, including premises liability law, personal injury cases, auto wrecks, trucking wrecks, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, on-the-job injuries, social security disability, and veterans’ disability claims, to name just a few. At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion- to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. You should never wonder what’s going on with your case. We will keep you in the loop and represent you as if you are family- because to us, you are.
Wettermark Keith was extremely professional and helpful. This personal injury law firm helped my husband over 10 years ago when he fell and broke his foot on vacation. I called them first because I liked their TV commercials. They are very nice people and I would call them again if I needed a lawyer.
Law firm Wettermark Keith has exceeded my expectations! I recommend these lawyers to anyone and everyone I come across. Their commitment to their clients is outstanding. Communication is easy. And I got my settlement very fast. I definitely recommend working with Lee Hawker. He is very gracious and kind. He looked out for me and my family and went above and beyond for us. I’m very grateful!
My personal embattlement with the Social Security Administration went downhill. From a personal recommendation, I reached out to Wettermark Keith law firm. Brian Smith and his team took my case and throughout the whole process, I felt more than just another number. Frequent updates were provided, and emphasis was placed on ensuring all needed documentation was in place. In the end, the accident case resulted in a favorable victory. A big thank you to my lawyer Brian Smith and the team at Wettermark Keith for the hard work throughout the entire personal injury process.
I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Mark English at Wettermark Keith law firm after my car accident in December 2021. He was very thorough in everything, did a wonderful job of explaining everything that was happening, and was super easy to get in touch with when I needed him. I never had a question that was left unanswered by this lawyer. He's very kind and patient, and he made the personal injury claims process so easy for me. I absolutely recommend him, it was a pleasure working with him!
I am so elated that I utilized Mr. Muhammad Abdullah’s services. In the beginning, he told me the compensation that I would receive for my personal injury claim and I actually received more than that! After my car wreck (in my brand-new vehicle), I was actually surprised that I was in the pain that I was in. Mr. Abdullah made sure I saw the necessary people for therapy and worked hard to get me back into my car after the accident. I felt that he was diligent, listened to my concerns, and quickly got me back in my car and compensated! I will be utilizing Mr. Abdullah again and again, anytime I ever have to hire a lawyer.