We Can Help You File A Claim After A Serious Burn Accident
Severe burn injuries can alter every aspect of a person’s life. Besides the physical pain of the burns and their treatments, scarring and disfigurement can cause emotional devastation to the victim.
A burn is considered severe when 25% or more of the total body surface is affected. Burns to the eyes, ears, hands, face, feet or perineum are also considered severe. People who survive these burns will require multiple surgeries, extensive hospitalization, physical therapy, cosmetic surgery, skin grafts and other treatments. Severe burn patients in the Pacific Northwest often receive world-class care at the UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview in Seattle. But such treatments are expensive as well as very painful.
If you or a loved one suffered severe burn injuries because of someone else’s actions, you may be able to pursue compensation for the difficult future ahead. Pendergast Law attorneys have successfully represented Seattle-area injury victims for over four decades. We will take a personal interest in your case and see that you get the compensation you deserve.
Burn Injury Classifications
Burn injuries can cause damage to the skin, muscles, tissue, blood vessels, nerves and even bones. The overall severity of the burn injury depends on many factors, including its depth, size and cause; the extent of affected body surface; and the age and health of the victim.
In general, burn injuries are classified by the following categories:
- First-degree burns: Burns to the top layer of skin that cause redness, swelling and pain to the touch.
- Second-degree burns: Burns to the first two layers of skin (epidermis and dermis), which cause deep reddening of the skin, pain, blisters, a glossy appearance from leaking fluid and possible skin loss.
- Third-degree burns: Burns that completely penetrate the skin and destroy tissue. These burns appear black or white and are dry to the touch.
All burns are painful, but second- and third-degree burns can leave scars and cause disfigurement. Regardless of the degree of a burn injury, all victims feel excruciating pain. The more severe the injuries are, the longer the hospital stay will be and the higher the risk of infection is.
Common Causes Of Burn Injuries
There are many traumatic incidents that can cause severe burn injuries, such as:
- Car and truck accidents (vehicle fires)
- Fuel tanker explosions
- Electrical fires
- Faulty or defective products
- Structural fires
- Malfunctioning equipment at a workplace
- Leaking gas lines
- Poor building maintenance
- Scalding water and pipes
- Propane explosions
- Liquified petroleum (LP) gas or LP gas explosions
- Hotel or motel hot water scalds (excess of 120 degrees F)
Today’s vehicles are designed to withstand the impact of severe collisions without bursting into flames. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, automakers began installing safety mechanisms to ensure that fires in a car engine and fuel tanks would be squelched. There are, however, many ways that these measures can be thwarted. Faulty wiring, ruptured fuel lines, tank fissures, cracked intake valves, short circuit arcs and malfunctioning parts of all kinds can contribute to an onboard vehicle fire. Automakers that produce a vehicle with these faults can be held liable.
The Psychological Impact Of Burn Scars
The psychological effects caused by scarring and disfigurement have been well documented. A person with serious scarring and disfigurement is reminded of the traumatic event that changed their lives every time they see their reflection. Victims often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. They can find it difficult to find employment and make friends. Their physical appearance increases their sense of social isolation. Scarring and disfigurement victims also have a high rate of suicide.
Treatment For Burn Injury Scarring And Disfigurement
In the last 10 years or so, the medical profession has made great strides in the field of burn treatment and facial reconstruction. The number of severely burned soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq has prompted research into reconstructive plastic surgery techniques. But, like treatments for the burns themselves, these reconstructive surgeries can be painful, prolonged and expensive. Burn victims can expect multiple surgeries, including skin grafts, skin transplants and skin expansions.
Compensation For Burn Injury Victims In Washington
Burn injuries are excruciatingly painful, and so are the emotional injuries that accompany scarring and disfigurement. If you or a loved one suffered life-altering burns at the hands of someone else, compensation should be demanded. A Seattle personal injury attorney can work with investigators to determine the cause of the fire and prove that the at-fault party should be held accountable in court.
No amount of money can fully compensate you for the pain you will endure from a severe burn and its treatment, but a fair settlement can help you recover financially as you heal physically. Injured victims, including child burn victims, can seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses: This includes emergency transportation, treatment costs, surgeries, hospitalization, cost of medication for chronic pain management, etc.
- Rehabilitation: Burn injury victims may need extensive rehabilitative treatment that might not always be covered by insurance. Physical therapy, emotional therapy and counseling should be covered.
- Cosmetic procedures: Severe burn injury victims may need multiple cosmetic procedures to help repair scars. Cutting-edge treatments are costly.
- Lost income: Victims are entitled to lost income as well for the loss of their ability to earn a livelihood.
- Loss of a limb: The physical and emotional damage from a lost limb as well as scarring and disfigurement should be included in any burn injury claim.
- Home and vehicle modification: Victims may need things like wheelchair ramps or special bathing equipment installed in their homes as well as modifications to their vehicles.
- Loss of life’s enjoyment: Burn injury victims may lose their quality of life and their ability to enjoy life.
- Pain and suffering: Victims also suffer significant physical pain and mental anguish.
- Prosthetics: A single prosthetic can cost from a few thousand dollars to $50,000 or more, and prosthetics are especially expensive for children.
Contact A Washington Burn Injury Treatment Lawyer Today
Pendergast Law attorneys have fought for the rights of Seattle burn injury victims for nearly 30 years. At our firm, we are not afraid to stand up to insurance companies in order to get the settlements that injury victims and their families deserve. To begin your road to recovery, call our Seattle burn injury attorneys at 888-539-9211 for a free consultation.