Burn Injuries

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Indianapolis Burn Injury Lawyer

If you sustain a burn injury at the fault of another person or entity, they should be responsible for compensating the costs of recovery and the permanent effects of your burns. Living in Indiana, burn injuries might not be your first concern––half of the year, you’re more worried about frostbite. Regardless, multiple situations each day could result in a severe burn injury to you or someone around you. 

Mild burn injuries can be simple to treat and may take some time to heal. On the other hand, severe burn injuries may cause irreparable and costly damage that seriously impacts the rest of your life. If you sustain a burn injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation to help you get back on your feet. 

Hire a WKW lawyer to start your journey towards the compensation you are entitled to.

Causes of Burn Injuries

A burn is defined as damage to the skin or other body parts caused by extreme heat or flame, contact with heated objects, or chemicals. Most burns are caused by the following:

  • Automobile accidents – Motor vehicle accidents cause a few hundred burn injuries yearly. Exposure to hot liquids, flaming cars, or road burns from skidding across asphalt can lead to severe damage. It can also be difficult to escape burning situations because of injuries after the collision. 
  • Gas – When hot air comes into contact with the skin, it can burn off in a fraction of a second. If you are in a situation with hot gas nearby, be careful and be sure you wear the proper protective gear. 
  • Scalding/hot water – Working in the restaurant business or being somewhere where there is constantly boiling water increases the risk of being scalded. Hot water can sit on the skin for long periods and cause serious damage.
  • Electrical accidents – Faulty wiring can lead to shocks or electrical fires that burn hot. If you work with a lot of electrical equipment or around severed electrical connections, proceed with caution at all times. 
  • Industrial accidents – Many employees work near large machinery or boilers, which can lead to thermal burns. Merely leaning against the wrong piece of metal (especially if it’s not labeled correctly) can result in severe burns. 
  • Gasoline spills – Gasoline spreads out fast and is very flammable. Whether the gas is already hot or catches fire, anybody near a gasoline spill is in danger of getting a burn injury. 
  • Building fires – Many people don’t use the proper and safe techniques when building or stoking a personal fire. While this may primarily lead to minor burns, if somebody falls or trips, it could result in fatal injuries. 
  • Chemicals – Sometimes, you can be burned without fire or extreme heat. Chemical burns––like those caused by acid––can cause severe damage even though they might not look dangerous. If you work around chemicals, make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the materials around you, and always wear safety gear. 

According to the American Burn Association (ABA), 1.1 million burn injuries in the United States require medical attention each year.

Who Is Responsible for Burn Injuries?

The liable party for a burn injury will often depend on the location of the accident. Sometimes you may be at fault for your injuries, but sometimes they will directly result from someone else’s negligence. If you believe you were not responsible for your pain, contact a burn injury attorney at WKW to pursue damages from the liable party. 

Vehicle Burns

If you are burned in a car accident, you will most likely seek compensation from the other driver. 

Although the burn may sometimes be the result of a defect in the vehicle that should not have been a problem, it is more likely that your burn injury will be covered as part of an overarching car accident lawsuit. Most individuals who suffer burn injuries in car accidents also suffer other injuries, such as broken bones or head trauma. If the car crash was the fault of a third party, such as the city, you may be able to seek compensation from them

Home Burn Injuries

The most common type of burn injuries occurs at home. ABA found that almost 70% of burns in the U.S. happen within an individual’s household. Cooking, heat sources, and electrical malfunctions account for most of these accidents. Chargers, extension cords, clothing dryers, and other appliances are especially problematic. 

Individuals who live and work on farms also have to be careful. Fires and explosions on farms can be highly detrimental to the residents and the surrounding structures. 

In addition to a vast number of injuries, home fires are also responsible for an astounding amount of property damage. You would not be able to recover civil damages if you were the obvious cause of the fire. However, if you suspect that the accident happened due to someone else’s negligence or a defective product, you may be able to pursue compensation. Hire a burn accident lawyer to conduct an investigation and discover the actual cause of the carnage.

Burns at Work

The last place we typically see burn injuries is in the workplace. People’s jobs often require them to be in hazardous situations. Those who work near heat sources or with large, hot machinery are at an increased risk of burn accidents. Electricians, cooks, and oil workers also have a more significant probability of exposure to unbearable heat. 

Though workplaces typically have guidelines or safety procedures in place to prevent burn injuries, negligent individuals may not abide by these precautions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes strict standards for employers to follow. When OSHA rules are ignored, people get hurt. 

Those who get injured at work are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if another party was responsible for the injury or your employer was not acting as an employer during the accident, you may be able to pursue personal injury damages. While this will require a higher burden of proof, it will provide more comprehensive benefits than workers’ compensation insurance. 

Degrees of Burn Injuries

The degree, or severity, of burn injuries, are identified on a scale:

  • First-degree burns: Affect the outer layer of skin; possibly red and painful, but without blisters; least severe type
  • Second-degree burns: Affect two layers of skin; red, swollen, and painful
  • Third-degree burns: Destroys two layers of skin; may look black, brown, white, or yellow; damage to nerve endings results in a lack of pain
  • Fourth-degree burns: Destroys all layers of skin as well as some bones, muscles, and tendons; deepest and most severe type

Seriously burned patients often require highly specialized and expert care to deal with the long-term physical and psychological effects of their injuries. The injury and treatment process can financially and emotionally drain the victim and their loved ones. For this reason, hiring an attorney experienced in burn injuries is indispensable to ensure you recover the full compensation you deserve.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with burn injuries is that time matters. The sooner you receive medical treatment, the more likely you will avoid further complications. 

Consequences of Burn Injuries

After a severe burn, you may continue to develop other medical complications if not adequately treated. Some of the health issues that can stem from a severe burn include the following:

  • Hypovolemia – Burned blood vessels may lead to fluid loss and less blood in the body. If you don’t have proper circulation, you may struggle with electrolyte imbalance and heart irregularities. Managing the amount of fluid your body can still transport around is essential to caring for severe burns. 
  • Compartment syndrome – Bodily compartments are internal cavities that hold blood vessels, nerves, and muscles. These are surrounded by fascia, a non-elastic layer of tissue. When pressure increases inside said compartment, its contents may become compressed. What follows is decreased flow of blood and oxygen that can damage nerves and muscles. Compartment syndrome is a medical emergency and often occurs in the lower legs or forearms.
  • Seizures – Although seizures are technically caused by other issues, such as low levels of oxygen in the blood and electrolyte imbalances, they are still a byproduct of the burns.
  • Difficult breathing – Inhaling smoke during a burn accident can cause significant lung damage. Depending on the heat of the air and chemicals within it, airways can collapse and cause respiratory failure.
  • Blood clotting – Long periods of bed rest can increase the chances of blood clots forming in veins. If you don’t move because you are bedridden or recovering, you may put yourself at a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism. While deep vein thrombosis usually happens in the leg and can be treated with proper compression and blood thinners, pulmonary embolisms can be fatal if not treated immediately. 
  • Hypothermia – Believe it or not, a burn can ultimately lead to critically low body temperatures. The skin is responsible for holding in heat to maintain homeostasis. Without the layer of protection, the body becomes very vulnerable to cold temperatures. Prolonged bouts of hypothermia can lead to death. 
  • Illness – Skin also serves as a barrier to hazardous foreign pathogens. It is much easier for the body to become infected when there is no skin due to a burn. This can result in blood poisoning and septic shock. These conditions can lead to organ failure and death if not treated properly. 
  • Psychological Issues – On top of the physical consequences of burn injuries, there can also be a high degree of emotional trauma. Burn experiences can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), lasting scars can lead to anxiety and depression, etc. Somebody may need physical and psychological therapy to fully recover from a burn injury. 

The extent of your injuries and how they impact your quality of life will directly influence the benefits you receive from a burn injury lawsuit. Hire an experienced burn attorney to obtain full compensation.

Burn Injury Damages

You have a few different options after a burn injury in Indiana. You may be able to file a burn injury lawsuit, a personal injury claim, or a workers’ compensation suit if the injury occurred on the job. 

Personal injury cases give you the choice to recover the compensation you need to get back on your feet. This can include money for all relevant expenses and additional funds for abstract values. A personal injury lawsuit following a burn injury may not provide full compensation for your injuries as soon as you would like.

If you file a burn injury lawsuit, it will involve taking the defendant to the courtroom. This is typically an option if the insurance company or party at fault refuses to negotiate a fair settlement. Burn injury lawsuits can result in benefits for the following damages:

  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of sensation
  • Scars and disfigurement
  • Medical expenses
  • Chronic issues that result from the burn
  • Permanently disabling conditions
  • Future medical expenses

Workers’ compensation cases offer much more limited benefits but may be easier to obtain because you do not always need to prove negligence to receive benefits. You will want to consult a burn injury lawyer when deciding what damages to pursue from the responsible party. 

How Do I Know If I Need to Go to a Burn Center?

Severe burn injuries may require treatment from a trained professional with specific knowledge. Burn care centers are medical providers dedicated to preventing further complications after a burn injury. Many factors should be considered when deciding whether or not an individual should be sent to a burn care center. Send a victim for treatment for the following things:

  • Victim age – If the victim is less than 10 years old 
  • Burn location – If the burn is on the face, genitals, breast, or other extremities
  • Burn type – Chemical and electrical burns can be more dangerous
  • Other injuries – If somebody also has multiple traumatic injuries along with severe burns
  • Airway damage – If someone’s breathing was affected by the smoke or fire
  • Severity – If the victim has intense burns (advanced second-degree or higher) on more than 10% of the body’s surface or less severe burns on more than 20% of the body’s surface.
  • Pre-existing conditions – If the patient has health problems that may ultimately lead to difficulties in treatment or recovery

You should consider medical treatment if the burn is more serious than slightly reddened skin. Going to a burn care center is always a good idea if you believe your injuries are beyond your comfort level. 

Contact a Burn Injury Attorney Today

We have extensive experience dealing with burn-related cases as well as fires and explosions. The combination of our legal and medical staff’s expertise in this area provides a solid basis for researching, understanding, and explaining the factors involved in a burn injury to a jury.

If you or a loved one have suffered a burn injury, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Burn Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.689.0654 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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