Los Angeles Burn Injury Lawyer
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American hospitals treat 486,000 burn victims annually. While 96.8% of burn patients survive, life is changed forever for those with these catastrophic injuries. Scarring, disfigurement, and long-term health challenges impair quality of life and often lead to permanent disability.
Severe burn injuries require prolonged medical treatment. Survivors often cannot return to work. This impacts access to quality care and jeopardizes treatment outcomes. The Lanier Law Firm is dedicated to restoring our clients’ quality of life by pursuing maximum compensation on their behalf.
What are the different types of burn injuries?
Burns are injuries to the skin caused by excessive heat or exposure to other harmful materials. They are categorized as follows:
- Thermal burns – burns from external heat sources such as hot objects, scalding liquids, and flames
- Chemical burns – burns caused by chemicals such as detergents or solvents
- Electrical burns – burns from electrical currents
- Radiation burns – burns from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light or sources of radiation such as X-rays
Friction burns – burns from heat generated through objects in motion rubbing the skin, such as a rope burn
How are burn injuries classified?
Burns are classified according to their depth. The deeper the burn, the more severe its effects. Most first-degree and small second-degree burns can be treated at home. Large second-degree burns and all third- and fourth-degree burns require immediate medical attention.
- First-Degree Burns – superficial burns that impact the epidermis, or outer layer of skin, characterized by red, dry, painful skin without blisters
- Second-Degree Burns – burns that impact the epidermis and part of the dermis, the lower skin layer, characterized by pain, redness, blisters, and sometimes swelling
- Third-Degree Burns – burns that destroy the epidermis and dermis plus impact the subcutaneous tissue, the innermost skin layer, characterized by white, black, or charred skin
- Fourth-Degree Burns – burns that impact all skin layers plus muscle and sometimes bone, characterized by lack of sensation due to nerve damage.
What is the prognosis of severe burn injury?
Severe burn injuries result in devastating long-term health complications, including the following:
- Scarring and skin contractures
- Chronic physical pain
- Psychological challenges
The survival rate of victims today is three to five times better than in the 1980s. While this is tremendous progress, researchers have shifted their focus to advancements that will improve quality of life, such as decreasing scar tissue and better rehabilitation.
Reconstructive surgery improves basic movements by reducing scar tissue. While it is impossible to remove all scar tissue, reconstruction can make scar tissue less noticeable in visible areas such as the face, giving patients a psychological boost.
Treatments for Catastrophic Burn Injuries
Treatment will vary based on the severity and location of the injuries. Mayo Clinic explains that medical providers will focus on healing, physical therapy, and addressing complications. This includes any combination of the following:
- Water-based treatments such as ultrasound mist therapy
- IV fluids
- Pain and anxiety medications
- Burn creams and ointments
- Wound dressings
- Tetanus shot
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Breathing assistance
- Feeding tube
- Skin grafts
- Reconstructive surgery
Who is most at risk for burn injuries?
The American Burn Association reports that the following groups experience the highest rates of serious burn injuries:
Children under five
Young adults ages 20-29
Adults with disabilities
What should I do if my child or I have been burned?
For minor injuries, you can apply the following first aid measures:
- Stop the burning process. Rinse in cool, not cold water. Do not use ice.
- Remove clothing from the burned area. If clothing sticks to the burn, leave it and seek medical attention.
- Remove jewelry from burned areas that could swell.
- Cover the burn with a clean, dry bandage or gauze pad. If the burn is oozing, seek medical attention.
- Wash the burn gently with liquid soap daily.
- Change bandages daily.
- Request antibiotic ointment from your doctor for any blisters that break.
- Never use butter, grease, or other home remedies to treat burns without your physician’s approval.
Seek immediate medical attention in the following cases:
- Blister oozes or exceeds two inches
- Pain worsens instead of improving
- Burns to the face, hands, feet, or genitals
- Third-degree burns
Los Angeles is home to the following Southern California burn centers:
If your injuries are severe, contact an attorney for a case review as soon as your medical condition permits.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Serious burn injuries often are due to someone else’s wrongful act or omission. These negligent parties are liable.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most house fires are caused by cooking, heating, electrical issues, smoking, and burning candles. Any of these products could be defective, providing grounds for a product liability case.
Landlords could be liable for faulty electrical wiring, heating, or cooking appliances that are not in working order. They are also liable if they fail to provide smoke detectors in accordance with Los Angeles Municipal Code.
The most common cause of death in house fires is smoke inhalation, which is the burning of internal breathing structures and lung tissues.
West Hills Hospital reports that scald injuries are the most common types of burns seen at the Grossman Burn Center. Children are especially vulnerable. Many people do not realize that steam and hot liquids, including water, can cause third-degree burns. Tap water hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous to children. Setting a water heater to 120 degrees can prevent scald burns. Your landlord may be liable if the setting is too high and burn injuries result.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Vehicle fires caused 560 fatalities and 1,500 injuries in 2018. According to the NFPA, the leading causes were mechanical failures or malfunctions and electrical issues, with older vehicles accounting for three-fourths of highway vehicle fires. Collisions were the leading cause of fatal fires. Large trucks have a higher fatality rate.
In car accidents, the at-fault driver is liable. If you are partially at fault, you can collect compensation from the other party proportional to their share of fault. Compensation usually comes from insurance companies. In cases of mechanical or electrical malfunctions, you may be able to collect additional compensation from the manufacturer of a defective product.
Cal/OSHA cited 18,896 occupational hazards statewide in 2019. While this progress is encouraging, burn accidents on job sites are still common occurrences in multiple industries. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation.
If you are injured on the job, compensation will most likely come from workers’ compensation. Injuries caused by defective equipment create grounds for product liability claims against manufacturers. Workers’ compensation entitles you to the following benefits:
- Medical bills
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Supplemental job displacement benefit
- Death benefits
What kind of compensation can I receive for my burn injury case?
California personal injury law allows you to receive up to three types of financial compensation for your burn injuries:
- Economic damages – monetary losses such as medical expenses and lost earnings
- Non-economic damages – non-monetary losses such as disfigurement and pain and suffering
- Punitive damages – damages meant to punish a party whose behavior was malicious, fraudulent, or reckless.
California does not place limits on compensation, except in cases of medical malpractice.
If your family member has passed away because of burn injuries, you can file a wrongful death claim and receive up to all three types of compensation or workers’ compensation if the injury occurred on the job.
How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Los Angeles?
California state law provides a statute of limitations of two years to file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit. Your Los Angeles burn injury attorney will require as much time as possible to build your case, so it is imperative to contact a personal injury lawyer as early as possible.
How can a burn injury lawyer help with my claim?
Whether you, your child, or another loved one is a burn injury victim, an experienced and competent personal injury attorney can navigate the complex legal system for you, provide you with legal advice, negotiate on your behalf, and take your case to trial if necessary.
The Lanier Law Firm’s legal team of more than 60 attorneys across three states has decades of experience fighting vigorously for those harmed by the negligent acts of others to receive fair and just compensation. We truly care about our clients, which is why we have received multiple awards and honors, and how we have been able to secure substantial settlements and verdicts in the millions and billions on behalf of our clients.
If you or your loved one has been wrongfully injured, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Our Los Angeles office is conveniently located just off the 101 freeway. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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