Settlement Awards for Burn Victims

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2017

Settlement awards can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury, long-term or permanent effects of the injury, the victim’s pain and suffering, other economic losses, and the intentions of the defendant. Burn injuries are particularly devastating injuries because of the risk of permanent damage such as scarring, disfigurement, loss of mobility and function, and nerve damage. Some burns can also cause infections or other secondary conditions that entail extensive recovery processes.

Calculating Lawsuit Damages

In any burn injury lawsuit, many factors will influence the plaintiff’s final settlement amount. Generally, plaintiffs can recover what they spent on medical treatment and other expenses from the defendant. Typically, damages in personal injury lawsuits include:

  • Property damage. If any of the plaintiff’s personal property was destroyed or damaged in the incident in question, the plaintiff can sue for the costs of repairing or replacing the property.
  • Medical expenses. This can include hospital bills, emergency transportation costs (for ambulance rides or air rescue, if necessary), prescription costs, medical device costs, and the long-term costs of any necessary medical care, such as physical therapy or secondary surgeries or procedures. For burn injuries, this can also include the costs of skin grafting procedures and other long-term treatments to restore damaged tissues.
  • Pain and suffering. This sounds like a difficult thing to quantify with a dollar value. A judge in a personal injury case will consider the evidence and testimony from expert witnesses. Typically, the plaintiff’s attorney will call on expert witnesses who can testify as to the amount of physical pain and mental anguish the plaintiff suffered from his or her injuries. The judge uses this testimony to award an appropriate amount of compensation.
  • Lost income. If a burn injury causes the victim to miss work, he or she can sue for the wages he or she would have expected to earn had the incident not occurred. If an injury prevents the victim from returning to work, he or she can sue for the income that would have been earned. If the plaintiff is able to work but cannot return to the job he or she held prior to the injury, he or she may be able to secure compensation for new vocational training.
  • Punitive damages. As the name suggests, punitive damages exist to punish grossly negligent or intentional acts by defendants in personal injury cases. Most states place caps on how much money may be awarded in punitive damages. Judges may use large figures as deterrents against similar acts in the future.

Securing Compensation for Your Burn Injury

After you’ve dealt with the immediate medical issues of a burn injury, it’s vital that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible about your legal options. If another person’s or entity’s negligence caused your burn injury, it’s vital to hold him or her accountable to secure compensation for your losses and to lower the chances of other victims meeting similar fates. Your attorney will discuss the extent of your injuries with you, their effects, any long-term or permanent damage or disability, and your other losses so you have an idea of what to expect from winning your case.

Burn injuries are common in some work environments. If you suffered a burn injury at work, workers’ compensation benefits may offer a measure of relief for your lost wages and immediate medical expenses, but they rarely cover the total cost of a burn injury. Your attorney can help you navigate the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits and can help you explore your options for additional compensation, such as a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent employer or product liability claim against a defective product manufacturer.

 

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