You deserve full and fair compensation for the pain and trauma of a burn injury. Put our experience to work for you!
You survived the trauma of a severe burn in a car accident. Now you want answers. Why did this happen to you? Who hurt you and how can you hold them accountable?
A burn is one of the most painful injuries you can suffer. Plus, it brings expensive medical bills and a stressful recovery period. Your life and career have been completely disrupted. Survival was a miracle, but now you’re dealing with the stress of moving forward from your accident.
Every year, there are about 486,000 burns in the United States and 5% of all burns happen on the nation’s streets and highways. Although burn injuries in car accidents are less common than other injuries, they’re often much more severe. People with burns need emergency room care, highly-specialized burn treatment, plus a series of extensive surgeries and grafts to repair the damage.
As burn injury lawyers, our team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers has seen hundreds of clients with trauma and burns from road accidents. Our clients come to us when they’re struggling to cope with being burned and are facing a growing pile of expensive medical bills.
We offer caring and compassionate legal representation at this difficult time in your life. Contact us now for a free burn accident evaluation. Below is some helpful information about burns and taking legal action against the person who caused your injuries.
How Do Burn Injuries Happen?
The U.S. Fire Administration tracks about 170,000 vehicle fires each year. You might be surprised to learn that in about one-fourth of all of these fires, no root cause is ever determined. Fires are difficult to investigate because the evidence burns away.
When a source of the fire can be found, it’s usually one of these four main causes of burn injuries
- Mechanical/equipment malfunctions
- Spilled fluids and vapors
- Electrical fires/failures
- Car accidents and rollovers
In terms of road accidents, fuel tank ignition is the #1 cause of fires and explosions that cause burns to the human body. The other main causes of car accident-related burns include contact with electrical system components, hazardous fluids and materials, and exploding batteries. Vehicle design flaws are another known cause, although these are somewhat more difficult to track down and prove.
When a vehicle ignites in a road collision, there’s a much higher chance of burns that are so severe they cause death. About 60% of all fatal road fires arise directly from road accidents. Most of these are high-speed freeway crashes and semi-truck crashes, which are among the top causes of road-related burn injuries.
Traffic crashes come with a significant risk of post-collision fuel-fed fires (PCFFF). Although the average person probably isn’t familiar with PCFFF, it’s a term that’s commonly used among firefighters and personal injury attorneys who handle burn cases. PCFFFs involve combustions and explosions that are life-threatening with a high risk of severe inhalation damage and burns.
Why a Burn Injury Changes Your Life
When someone heads to the hospital with burns, they’ll probably leave the hospital with significant scarring and huge medical bills. Burn trauma is among the most complex and expensive types of injuries treated in U.S. hospitals. Burns require medical expertise and resources you can only find in fully-equipped emergency centers.
Your costs could vary widely depending on your care. The average U.S. cost of treating severe burn injuries is about $200,000. However, when it comes to major traffic accidents with chemical spills and extreme impacts, severe burn-related costs can easily reach $1 million. You may need surgery, skin grafts, scar treatment, and ongoing rehabilitation to restore movement.
As you begin to cope with your burn injuries, daily life probably won’t be as it used to be. Little things are now a big challenge. Your burns could be causing you pain, with mobility restrictions that make each day arduous.
Even as you try to do normal tasks like getting dressed, shopping, or going to work, your burn injuries interfere with your movements. You may experience newfound anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. Relationships that felt strong before now feel frayed at the edges due to your accident.
California law allows you to hold a negligent person responsible for hurting you and damaging your life. Contact a burn injury lawyer to discuss whether you have a strong case for claiming the compensation you need to move forward from your burn injuries.
Types and Degrees of Burn Injuries
How did your burns happen and how severe were they? Burn injuries come in many forms and their severity usually depends on both the amount of body surface burned and the depth of the burns. Life-threatening burns don’t just happen on the skin’s surface and can occur inside the respiratory system, deep inside your abdomen, or on your vital organs.
Doctors and hospitals divide burns into three classes by severity:
First-degree burns are the most common type and affect only the outermost layer of skin. These are often called superficial burns and are non-life-threatening. Treatment is typically short and relatively inexpensive.
Second-degree burns, or partial-thickness burns, go deeper than the first layer of skin but don’t penetrate any deeper. These are moderate burns that are very painful to experience and threaten your health when they happen. They can usually be adequately repaired through surgery and proper burn care.
Third-degree burns, or full-thickness burns, penetrate the skin’s deepest layers. When someone has this type of burn, their muscles, organs, bones, and other parts of the body are at risk of damage or destruction. These burns are the most expensive and challenging to treat.
The most common types of burns that typically happen in car accidents and personal injury situations include:
- Water scalds
- Smoke inhalation
- Flash burns
- Electrical burns
- Friction burns
- Thermal burns
- Chemical burns
California Truck Accidents and Burn Injuries
Was a truck involved in your burn accident? Here in California, there are more than 100,000 truck accidents every year and they’re among the most severe accidents on our roads. You could be burned by a truck’s hazardous waste or hurt when its enormous gas tank explodes. A high-speed semi-crash could even eject you from your vehicle and cause life-threatening deep road rash across your body. Some people burn alive in their vehicles, unable to escape the flames and vapors of the crash.
When it comes time to settle things legally, you’ll be heartened to know that trucking companies are heavily monitored by federal agencies. They are required to carry large trucking insurance policies in California, which helps protect injured victims. You could be eligible for high-dollar compensation to cover the costs of your burn injuries and the damage to your life.
California Motorcycle Accidents and Burn Injuries
If your burn happened in a motorcycle accident, you could be facing an uphill battle to secure the burn compensation you deserve. Motorcyclists face stereotypes and biases that are sometimes difficult to overcome and you’ll need a personal injury lawyer’s help to build a strong case.
A motorcyclist’s body is exposed to the forces and temperatures of a traffic accident, so burns are more likely to happen and more likely to be severe. Road rash is a type of friction burn that commonly happens to motorcyclists in traffic accidents. Severe second-degree and third-degree burns are always a risk in catastrophic motorcycle accidents.
California Pedestrian Accidents and Burn Injuries
You might not picture a burn injury when you picture a pedestrian accident, but it can happen. When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, there’s a risk of road rash, chemical burns from spilled materials, and burns due to fires and explosions from the accident.
A driver who causes pedestrian burn injuries may be fully liable for the costs of the accident. Perhaps the person who hit you was distracted, drowsy, drunk, or on drugs at the time of the crash. As a pedestrian, you have strong legal protections in California, so protect your rights and speak to a burn injury lawyer right away.
How to Start Your California Burn Injury Claim
Your next steps after a burn injury impact your ability to secure compensation from the person who hurt you. Start by gathering your medical bills and records. A burn injury claim must be backed up with medical records that show the extent of your injuries.
Seek a full medical evaluation as soon as possible after your accident, even if you don’t have obvious skin burns. You could have unseen smoke inhalation or chemical exposure that threatens your health without treatment. Any delay in treatment could harm your case and your health.
Burns are exceptionally expensive to treat, so start saving your bills for potential reimbursement. This includes out-of-pocket costs above and beyond what insurance covers. Save anything related to your hospital stay, surgery, rehab, and ongoing treatment including burn care and plastic surgery.
You can also seek payment for your lost wages and diminished earning capacity as a result of your burn injuries. Because burns tend to come with extreme physical and emotional trauma, you may also be eligible for pain and suffering compensation.
Another important step is to gather evidence from the scene of the accident that caused your burn before it’s too late. Videos and photos are extremely helpful, even if you have to take them after the fact.
Reach out to businesses and homes in the area where you were hurt, or work with your lawyer to accomplish this. Secure as many videos and photos of the scene of your burn injury as possible.
Work with the police to get a copy of the police report. Don’t worry too much if the police report is scant on details or doesn’t seem to back up your side of the story. Your lawyer can help you understand what it means for your case and how you can strengthen your case with additional evidence beyond the police report.
To show the impact of your burns on your life, keep a journal of your daily struggles. Show how your burns are making things harder for you and causing you to suffer through normal daily activities.
Contact your burn injury lawyer before speaking to an insurance representative or signing any type of document. Don’t agree to a recorded statement or give out your private information, like your social security number.
Beware of a fast, low-ball offer from the other person’s insurance company or anyone else. The first offer is usually a bad deal for the victim. Your burn injury lawyer will help you get the full and fair value of your burn injury claim.
Also, stay off of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media during this time. Although you’re struggling to cope with such a life-changing situation, please keep your burn details off of social media and the internet in general. Anything you share online could be twisted to harm your legal case.
And finally, keep in mind that California law sets forth a strict legal time limit on filing a burn lawsuit, which is known as the statute of limitations. You must act within two years of the date of the accident. If your burn happened on government property or involves a government agency in some way, your deadline is within six months of the date of your burn injury.
Focus on Your Recovery While We Handle the Legal Details
Your burn injury is devastating, but here’s a bit of good news from a bad situation. You could have a strong case for burn injury compensation against the person who hurt you.
It’s not usually necessary to go to court to resolve your burn injury case, which is a relief at a stressful time. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, our team of attorneys can work to negotiate a valuable out-of-court insurance settlement that keeps your focus on healing.
Our burn injury legal team has the experience to apply an array of effective techniques to minimize your bills and maximize your claim. In burn injury cases, we can often negotiate with the hospital and doctors to lower medical bills so they’re more manageable. We can also help you give the proper value to your immense pain and suffering from the burn injury, which then raises the overall value of your case and the money in your pocket.
We invite you to reach out to us at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. Our goal is to help you focus on recovering from your burn injuries while we handle the legal details.
Contact us today for a free online burn injury case evaluation or call 877-380-8852.