In 2016, nearly half a million Americans will sustain a burn injury severe enough to need medical attention, estimates the American Burn Association (ABA). When victims sustain burn injuries from another party’s negligent, careless, or malicious act, they have the right to seek compensation from the liable party. Legal matters can get quite complicated and overwhelming, particularly when you are in the wake of a painful, traumatic accident. Below we answer some of the most common burn injury questions survivors have.
Do I need to consult an attorney about my burn accident?
You should run your case by a lawyer to discuss your legal options. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations anyway, so it certainly cannot hurt. A lawyer can quickly review the facts of your accident and tell you if you have a valid case and what your next steps should be.
What if I cannot afford a lawyer?
The majority of personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that rather than requiring you to pay upfront for their services, they only charge you a percentage of your settlement – and only if and when they win your case. You will not have any initial out-of-pocket expenses. In the event the attorney does not recover a settlement, you may be responsible for costs.
Where can I find a lawyer who handles burn injury cases?
Call our lawyer referral specialists for assistance connecting with a lawyer who specifically handles burn cases like yours.
Is there a time limit for taking legal action?
Yes, each state may impose a distinct time limit, or statute of limitations, on when you are able to file a legal claim. Most states impose a two- or three-year time limit. You will want to act as quickly as possible to avoid expiration of the time limit, which will nullify your rights to compensation.
Whom can I hold legally responsible for my injuries?
Determining liability can be tricky and it varies from case to case. Defendants in burn injury cases may be individuals (a neighbor who started a fire that spread to your house/started a fire in your house), business (a manufacturer of a defective e-cigarette), or other entities (a city or organization that caused an explosion). Your attorney will help you determine the liable party in your case.
What do I do if my burn accident occurred on the job?
If you sustained a burn injury on the job, you usually cannot sue your employer. Rather, you will need to apply for workers’ compensation benefits, which include income benefits, medical benefits, and rehabilitation. However, in some cases, you may be able to sue your employer or a third party, so be sure to have a lawyer look at your case.
What can I expect during the legal process?
There are numerous steps to the legal process, including filing a claim, gathering evidence, negotiating with the insurer, and going through litigation if necessary. You may encounter a challenging and lengthy legal process, but an attorney can help you navigate it.
Keep in mind that taking legal action may be worth your efforts because if your case is successful, you may secure the funds you need to cover your burn care and compensate you for other financial and emotional losses.
What types of damages can I recover in a burn injury case?
You may recover damages for most of your injury-related losses, both tangible losses (economic or special damages) and intangible losses (non-economic or general damages). If the at-fault party’s insurer approves your burn claim, your settlement can include compensation for things such as current and future medical bills, lost wages, disability, scarring and disfigurement, emotional and psychological harm, and the effect of the injury on your well-being, family life, and career.
How can I pay for my expenses in the meantime?
If you are struggling to make ends meet while waiting for your burn injury claim or lawsuit to settle, you may turn to your own health and disability insurance for coverage. If that is insufficient, you many need to apply for pre-settlement funding or a loan on your anticipated settlement. There are caveats to these loans though.
Feel free to contact our lawyer referral specialists at 844-549-8774 to find a lawyer who can answer these and any other questions you have about your burn injury case.