Suffering severe burns in an accident can have catastrophic consequences for your future. A catastrophic injury lawyer may be able to assess your situation and determine the most effective course of action in your case. Consulting a Western PA burn injury lawyer could enable you to obtain the compensation that you need during your recovery. In a personal injury action, you may be able to pursue damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Burn Injuries in Western PA
Burns are typically painful injuries that can require periodic treatment for some time. Skin grafts and other procedures to replace skin and reduce scarring and disfigurement are common in severe burn injury cases. Burns can occur due to contact between the skin and: fire, hot liquids, light, chemicals, and electrical current.
Medical providers generally separate burns into three classifications based on severity. These classifications include:
- First-degree burns, which injure only the top layer of skin, cause redness and inflammation that heals within minimal treatment or aftereffects
- Second-degree burns, which go deeper than the top layer of skin, resulting in redness and blistering and requiring weeks to improve
- Third-degree burns extend through all layers of the skin and possibly having charred or blackened skin
- Fourth degree burns are the most severe, and involve damage to all layers of the skin and the muscles and bones underneath. Fourth degree burns can result in death.
Treating significant burns is extremely expensive, and patients may endure ongoing treatment for years. These injuries significantly impact the ability of plaintiffs to work and perform the most basic of daily living activities. Retaining the advice of a lawyer in Western PA may be essential to afford the high medical costs of burn treatment.
Negligence and Western PA Burn Injuries
Negligence may lead to burn injuries in various ways. For instance, a negligent truck driver may sideswipe a motorcycle on the highway, resulting in a a fall and the victim sliding along the roadway, resulting in skin damage. Similarly, a defective consumer product may explode and cause burn injuries to individuals. Contact with a live electrical wire can also result in burns.
When negligence is a factor in burn injuries, compensation may be available. The four elements of negligence that are necessary to maintain a successful personal injury claim include:
- A legal duty to act in a reasonably safe manner to avoid endangering others
- Breach of that duty
- Injuries resulting from the breach of duty
- Damages suffered by the injured party
Proving negligence can be difficult, depending on the nature of the situation. For example, demonstrating that a product was defectively designed and that a burn was not the result of user error is often difficult to prove.
A burn injury attorney in Western PA may be able to gather evidence on behalf of plaintiffs to build a strong personal injury claim for compensation.
What are Mistakes to Avoid After Suffering Severe Burns?
There are certain errors a claimant can make that could ultimately diminish their chances of recovery. It is important to reach out to an attorney before speaking with insurance companies, posting on social media, or avoiding medical treatment.
Speaking with Insurance Companies
An experienced Western PA attorney generally advises against burn injury claimants talking to insurance companies. Insurers often want to take a recorded statement over the phone and then ask one-sided or misleading questions designed to confuse the injured party. If it is recorded, there will be a permanent, written transcript of what the claimant said. If something was misconstrued or misinterpreted, it can be used against the victim in later proceedings. It is best to let an attorney handle insurance adjusters.
Posting on Social Media
People should also avoid posting on social media about anything relating to the incident and to their medical treatment. Once a post is made, it is out there forever, and there can be serious sanctions for deleting or altering posts once they are made if they are relevant to the case.
Avoiding Medical Treatment
Not only could avoiding medical treatment prevent a claimant from a full physical recovery, it could prevent them from recovering compensation as well. Personal injury claims rely heavily on medical documentation as proof of harm. Additionally, if an injured party waits too long to seek treatment, the defense can argue something else caused the claimant’s injuries or that they were not seriously injured in the first place.
What Do People Pay Upfront?
Experienced lawyers in Western PA recognize that the person injured from severe burns may be out of work and have bills accrued because of the accident. Therefore, the injured party pays nothing out-of-pocket. The legal team will only get paid if the claimant is awarded compensation. While there are expenses throughout the litigation process, like obtaining medical records, police reports, and expert reports, the attorney will pay for that with their own funds.
The arrangement is known as a contingency fee arrangement. If there is no recovery, the legal team will charge no fee and will still pay the costs incurred along the way.
Call a Western PA Burn Injury Attorney for Advice
Damages in burn injury claims are not limited to compensation for medical expenses. Other available forms of compensation may include damages for pain and suffering, psychological trauma, scarring and disfigurement. With the help of legal counsel, you may be in a better position to collect the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Personal injury claims based on burn injuries are subject to stringent time limitations. As a result, you should not hesitate to talk with a Western PA burn injury lawyer at your earliest opportunity.