Everyone knows how painful a burn injury can be. Even just touching a hot pot seems to hurt for hours. More severe burns are not only excruciatingly painful, they can leave permanent damage, such as infection, scarring, nerve damage, loss of proper function, breathing difficulty, and PTSD.
In many cases, depending on how the accident occurred, burn victims don’t realize that a third party may be at fault for their injury. For this reason, it is to your advantage to talk to a burn injury lawyer to determine if you have a case. If you’ve been burned in Florida, you may be able to seek compensation.
Causes of burns
According to the American Burn Association, the top five causes of burn injury include:
- Fire or open flame (45%)
- Hot liquid/scalding (32%)
- Hot objects (8%)
- Electrical burns (4%)
- Chemical burns (3%)
Other burns can include inhalation burns from smoke, steam, or toxic fumes, radiation burns from medical treatments or tanning beds, and gas explosions from gas leaks.
There are many different ways burns can occur. Some of the most common include:
- Car accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Defective products/manufacturing
- Electrical shorts
- Apartment or house fires
- Scalding water or burst pipes
- Fires in recreational or public places
Degrees of burns
Burns can be first-degree and such burns generally do not require medical treatment. They make the area red and generally heal on their own. However, if a person’s health is already compromised, even a first-degree burn can lead to serious complications.
A second-degree burn affects the top two layers of skin and causes blistering, which could lead to open wounds that can become infected or result in scarring. These are very painful.
Third-degree burns are very serious. They burn deeper, often causing nerve damage and dead skin layers, and may not even be very painful because nerves are dead. These burns need immediate attention and can lead to permanent injury and even death. Third-degree burns often require skin grafts to replace the dead skin or plastic surgery to reconstruct the damaged area.
Requirements for a personal injury lawsuit
In order to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, first, you must be within the statute of limitations, which is the period of time, set by law, in which a suit may be filed after the event that caused damages.
The statute of limitations for a personal injury case against another party in Florida is four years; against a government body, three years; for a wrongful death case, two years. In some cases, such as health damage that does not appear until sometime after the cause (ex. cancer) the statute of limitations period may begin at the time the illness presented itself.
If you are within the time period defined above, Florida law requires that the plaintiff in a personal injury case prove:
- The person or business who caused your injury owed you a duty of care
- The person or business was negligent in that duty
- You suffered injury or damage that was caused by the breach of duty
- The injury or damage can be demonstrated legally
Simply put, the third party had a duty to prevent injury and failed to do so. You were injured due to that negligence and you are able to demonstrate that injury in court.
Examples of duty and negligence
The level of injury and the degree of expense, pain, and suffering would determine how much compensation you can expect to receive. In addition, if a jury decides that the negligent party was grossly negligent, they may add punitive damages on top of damages for your injuries.
Apartment fires are a common cause of burns in America. Landlords have a duty to do all in their power to maintain an environment that is safe, which includes preventing fire to the extent that it is possible. This means having fire-resistant materials, fireproof doors, clear fire escapes, operating fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, and expertly installed electrical wiring that is kept up to code at all times. Failing in even one of these duties could mean devastating hardship, injury, and even death for tenants.
A fire in the home caused by faulty wiring could be due to negligence on the part of the electrician or on the part of the manufacturer of the electrical equipment. A faulty stove or hairdryer that shorts and causes burns could be an example of a manufacturer’s negligence.
As a personal injury lawyer with experience prosecuting burn injuries, I have the expertise to look closely at your case and determine who the guilty parties are. In some cases, more than one entity may be at fault. For instance, a nightclub that allows performers to use flammable materials in their performances could be liable as well as the performers themselves.
If you’re injured at work, Workman’s Compensation may not cover all your costs, including pain and suffering. You may be able to sue in addition to receiving workman’s comp.
If you’ve been injured in Florida and you’re not sure if you have a personal injury case, contact me today at (954) 448-7288, for a free consultation to see how I can help you. As a Florida personal injury lawyer, I am committed to helping Florida residents throughout the state receive just and fair compensation to help them cope with the injuries they have sustained through someone else’s negligence.