How Much Is My Burn Claim Worth?

There is no way to estimate the average settlement value for a burn injury claim because the amount a victim may receive after a burn depends on the severity of the injury and the circumstances surrounding their case.

Burn injuries are regarded similarly to other personal injury claims and as with any personal injury, it’s difficult to determine an accurate settlement amount.

However, because burn injuries can be extraordinarily more painful and lead to severe, permanent disfigurement, burn injuries tend to be awarded more favorably.

The biggest factors are the location and severity of the injury and the degree of negligence involved.

Besides being painful, second and third-degree burns often involve the joints and nerves and, in addition to scarring, can cause permanent damage and a limited range of movement.

If caustic chemical substances get into one’s eyes or are inhaled, that person may experience temporary or permanent vision loss or may have difficulty eating or trouble breathing.

Typically, second-degree burns can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to heal and third-degree burns can take up to several months to over a year.

Healing time will vary and be dependent on several factors such as the extent and location of the injury, age and health of the victim, and the nature of the cause of the burn.

Another consideration is what type of medical treatment was needed, for example, skin grafts.

The severity of the burn injury, the amount of medical treatment required, the amount of time out of work, the ability (or not) to fully recover, and the length of time needed for recovery will all affect the value of a burn injury claim. Another factor is who is at fault for the injury, whether fault can be proven, and the amount of insurance they have.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Classifies Burns Into 3 Categories:

  • First-Degree Burns: Burns only affecting the top layer of skin, causes swelling and redness.
  • Second-Degree Burns: Burns that damage the top two layers of skin, causes blisters, swelling, and deep redness.
  • Third-Degree Burns: The most severe type of burn, these penetrate the entire thickness of the skin and can permanently damage tissue. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention.

How Much Compensation Do You Get for a Burn Injury?

Both sides will negotiate based on what they believe the plaintiff will be awarded at trial.

Settlements will be based on the defendant’s degree of liability so knowing how and where the injury occurred is important.

For example, if a plaintiff was burned by an accident at work that may or may not have been preventable, the perceived value of the case will be much lower than if the accident was caused by the employer’s failure to follow safety regulations.

The lower the perceived value, the lower the settlement amount will be.

As a side note, a workplace injury that does not involve employer negligence will usually only be paid out by the workers’ compensation carrier.

It must be noted that just because you suffered a second or third-degree injury doesn’t mean you are automatically eligible for compensation.

First, you must show that you were owed a duty of care by the negligent party and that your injury was caused when they breached this duty.

Examples of this breach of duty are failure to follow set safety standards, knowledge of unsafe working conditions or broken equipment, or disregarding traffic laws.

The amount of compensation you are owed will depend on the location, type, and nature of the burn and the amount of negligence.

If You Have A Burn Injury Caused By Someone Else’s Negligence, You May Be Owed Compensation.

Obviously, there is no one kind of burn injury case. Burn injuries can happen in a variety of ways, including workplace injuries, faulty consumer products, arson, or another intentional burning, and any kind of accident caused by negligence.

In addition to car accidents, several industries in the New Orleans area job market are vulnerable to the risk of burn injury, particularly in fields where people have to handle hot or caustic items, are exposed to chemicals and gases, are exposed to steam or open flame, or have to work with molten metals or materials.

Chemical manufacturing facilities, oil refineries, nuclear power plants, welding, and the food industry are just a few of those local professions where burn injuries are unfortunate hazards of the occupation. Though each of those industries has its own set of safety standards, accidents can and do happen.

Seeking Compensation for Physical and Emotional Pain and Suffering for Burns

In addition to being compensated for medical bills and lost wages, a liable defendant may also be responsible for both your physical and emotional pain and suffering.

What that means is that they may be responsible to not only compensate you for the physical pain the burn caused and may continue to cause but also any emotional pain that a disfiguring burn has caused you to suffer or will suffer in the future.

The amount of damages for physical pain and suffering will depend on the extent and nature of the disfigurement.

Seeking Punitive Damages for Negligence for Burn Injuries

Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and can be awarded to a burn victim if it is proven that the defendant acted intentionally or with gross negligence.

One example of gross negligence would be a product manufacturer failing to conduct safety testing on a product that frequently comes into contact with an open flame, like an oven mitt.

Another example of this is being burned with a hot liquid, like in the infamous McDonald's coffee burn injury lawsuit.

Though punitive damages for gross negligence are harder to predict, the threat of punitive damages will generally make a defendant more likely to settle the case at a higher amount.

If You’ve Suffered A Burn Injury, Seek Advice Before Signing Anything!

If you’ve suffered a burn injury, be wary of your employer or insurance company trying to get you to sign paperwork right away.

The insurance company may want to settle your burn injury for the lowest amount before you’ve even been properly diagnosed, and your employer may want you to sign away your rights to compensation.

You’ve suffered a painful injury and there’s no shame in getting reimbursed for your medical bills and lost wages.

An experienced, local personal injury attorney will be able to assess your case and point you in the right direction.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Accident, injury, and disability attorney serving Luling, Metairie, New Orleans, and South Louisiana