New Jersey Burn Injury Attorneys
Burn injuries are not only painful, but can also require extensive treatment, including skin grafting. These injuries can cause lasting physical disfigurement and psychological trauma. They may impact your ability to earn a living, how you relate to friends, family and other loved ones, and diminish your overall ability to enjoy a fulfilling life.
If you or a loved one has sustained burn injuries due to the negligence of another, or due to a defective product or instrumentality, this overview will provide valuable information about burn injuries, the law, and the ability to bring a negligence or products liability lawsuit.
Common Personal Injury Burn Accidents and Causes
While high heat, flames and fire are what typically come to mind when thinking of burn injuries, these are not the only causes of accidents. Chemicals, electricity, friction, thermal heat, steam, boiling liquids and radiation are also common culprits. People may become the victim of a burn injury at home, in a car, at work, at school, or while pursuing recreational activities.
Common causes of burn accidents include the following:
- Faulty or insufficient safety gear or protection / personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Inadequate or missing warnings
- Damaged or faulty wiring
- Defective electrical or industrial equipment or accessories
- Poor safety training
- Improper handling of corrosive or hazardous substances and chemicals
- Mishandling of flammable materials
- Auto accidents
- Vehicle airbag deployments
- Residential or commercial structural fires
- Gas explosions
Degrees of Burns
The extent of treatment required largely depends upon the degree of burn injury suffered. Recovery from burn injuries is often lengthy, painful, complex and costly. Degrees of burns are classified as follows:
- First Degree – Very minor burn that only impacts the top layer of skin, as in a sunburn
- Second Degree – Burns that range from superficial to deep. Superficial second-degree burns affect part of the dermis under your outer layer of skin and the outer layer. Deep partial thickness second-degree burns more severely impact the dermis and may leave permanent scarring. There is pain, swelling and blistering
- Third Degree – Severe burn category that destroys both your dermis and the outer layer of your skin and damages nerve endings that impact pain sensors, which may initially result in numbness
- Fourth Degree – Most severe burn category that burns through all skin layers and damages or destroys tissue, muscles, bones and tendons beneath the skin
Burn Injury Lawsuits and Claims
Burn injuries can be sustained in a variety of settings, from the workplace to the household. Oftentimes, these injuries are caused by third-party negligence or defective products and instrumentalities. In these cases, you may file a claim or a lawsuit to compensate you for the losses you’ve suffered due to your burns.
In cases of minor burns with no permanent damage, you may go it alone, and an insurer might pay out on a burn injury claim. But for more serious injuries, the skills of a Burn Injury Lawyer can make a huge difference between receiving compensation that covers all your needs or being left with a small pittance that leaves you and your family struggling and in pain.
Personal injury law categorizes some injuries as catastrophic due to the severe and life-changing nature of the injury. These types of injuries typically lead to permanent damage or disability and require long-term care, extensive rehabilitation and major changes to how the victims receive support and live their lives. Severe burn injuries often fall into this category of catastrophic injuries and require aggressive and thorough legal counsel and guidance to ensure the victim and family members pursue the amount of just compensation that will be required to accommodate these protracted and expensive needs.
If a victim fatally succumbs to their burn injuries, their dependents may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This typically involves two different types of legal claims to compensate the deceased — via their estate – for the personal burn injury and to pay the eligible heirs who have lost financial support as dependents of the deceased.
Filing Timeframe Limitations
The time you have to file a lawsuit for a burn injury is limited by the state-level statutes of limitations. Typically, in New Jersey, for these types of claims, you have 2 years from the date of injury to file.
Damages and Compensation
Injuries from burns vary in severity, and this impacts the damages that will be claimed. Common damages include medical bills for past, current and future treatment, as well as out-of-pocket expenses incurred in relation to the injuries. If you’ve missed work due to your burn injuries, you may pursue reimbursement for lost wages. This includes projected future earnings if your injuries preclude you from returning to work or from performing work that pays as much as you were previously earning.
Pain and suffering is usually a significant part of the damages you will claim. The value of these damages depends on the specifics of each case. Several factors can impact the value of the non-economic damages, including:
- Extent/degree of the burn injury: Serious burns in the second-, third– and fourth-degree categories may command higher compensation or settlement amounts. Severity, degree, damage, disfigurement, burn area size and other criteria have bearing.
- Location: When a burn leads to permanent disfigurement, where the burn is located on the body can have weight. For example, a facial burn typically commands more than a burn scar located in an area that’s normally hidden, such as the hip, thigh or foot.
- Intent of the responsible party: The actions or intentions of the responsible party who is being sued (defendant) that led to the burn injury/accident is important, especially if they were motivated by malice. But gross negligence can also influence the amount of compensation awarded.
- Punitive damages: If you and your attorney can show that the defendant acted maliciously or with intent to harm you or your loved one, you may receive punitive damages from a jury, in addition to your compensatory damages.
- Emotional trauma and pain of the victim: Both physical and emotional pain and trauma are considered for the determination of a compensation amount. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks or any other psychological conditions due to the burn accident, compensation may be influenced upwards.
Our New Jersey Burn Injury Attorneys Will Fight for You
The Reinartz Law Firm is a full-service personal injury law firm that represents individuals who have sustained catastrophic burn injuries. We will not only litigate your case, we will also assist in the processing of medical bills and coordination with relevant insurance companies and benefits providers on your behalf. We will tirelessly fight for the compensation that you deserve, while allowing you to focus on healing.