Burn Injury Attorneys
Heat and chemical burns can be among the most painful injuries a victim can suffer. They are debilitating, often leading to months-long or years-long recovery and requiring long-term medical care. Heat and chemical burns can also leave disfiguring and emotionally traumatic scars. Additionally, a victim has to endure the emotional trauma and uncertainty that comes with an injury of this caliber. If your burns are the result of another party’s inattention, misconduct or malicious intent, the law offers you recourse.
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we understand how your life is changing, and we will fight for a full and fair compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys are vigilant and work solely in personal injury law, meaning that they are intimately familiar with the legal system and the challenges you may face. Most importantly, we have a longstanding track record of success and have obtained well over $1.5 billion in financial support for our clients. Email us today and schedule a free consultation.
Causes of Burn Injuries
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculates that nearly 500,000 people in the United States seek medical attention for a burn injury every year. There are almost an infinite number of ways that people sustain their burns. Common causes of burn injuries include:
- Burns from car accidents
- Chemical burns from exposure to mismanaged chemicals at a manufacturing site
- Heat burns from fires caused by poor electrical work or other building code violations
- Friction burns from large machinery
Any of these circumstances can lead to highly complicated medical situations, requiring surgery or skin grafts. You may find that you cannot work throughout recovery without risking your health. In these cases, we encourage you to reach out for a full legal evaluation.
The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are experienced in litigating burn injury lawsuits and have attained top results, including $5 million and $4 million settlements for burn injury victims. To speak with an attorney today, please call 212-736-5300.
Classification of Burn Injuries
Health care professionals categorize burns according to four levels of severity. These classifications are:
- First-degree burns: The least severe type of burn, first-degree burns damage only the first layer of skin. First-degree burns tend to look red, swollen, and shiny.
- Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns necessitate medical attention since they damage both the first and second layers of skin. They leave glossy, blistering patches of deep red skin that are very painful.
- Third-degree burns: Burns that completely damage the skin fall into the category of third-degree burns. They require intensive medical attention, often from specialists in a burn unit. Third-degree burns appear yellowish, white, or even black.
- Fourth-degree burns: The most severe level of burns, fourth-degree burns destroy every layer of skin in addition to tendons and even bone. Fortunately, this level of burn is less common than the others. However, they are frequently life-threatening for the victim.
The severity of the burn can sometimes change. If, for example, a patient does not receive immediate medical care, a first- or second-degree burn can worsen over time. Many patients find that they will need lifelong treatment for their burns, including skin grafts and physical rehabilitation. What’s more, burn injuries can lead to other complications such as infection, shock, and sepsis.
Home and Apartment Fires: Every Resident’s Nightmare
Your home is supposed to be the one place on earth where you feel safest. Experiencing a fire in your home immediately destroys your illusion of safety. As reported by the American Burn Association (ABA), a staggering 85% of serious burn injuries in the United States occur at the victim’s home.
Fires sometimes start due to innocent accidents: a child playing with matches, a fireplace spark landing on the ground, a kitchen towel catching flame. In other situations, a completely preventable fire developed due to another person’s or party’s negligence. Some common examples of negligence-related home fires include:
- Flammable material used in home furnishings
- Faulty wiring
- Improperly installed appliances
- Dangerous or defective appliances
- Failure to install sprinklers
- Defective sprinklers
- Blocked or improperly marked emergency exits
- Faulty smoke detectors
These fires often involve more than one source of liability. You will need an attorney to assist you in investigating the source of the fire and handling complex issues of third-party liability. Even though pursuing a legal claim while you recover from a burn injury can seem daunting, it is often the best way to prevent a similar incident from harming anyone else in the future. You can hold the perpetrators accountable for the damages they inflicted and can seek full compensation for your damages.
Motor Vehicle Fires: The Causes
The year 2018 saw about 212,500 vehicle fires, estimates the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Fires that result from car and truck crashes can cause even more damage than the terrifying moment of impact.
Defects in the fuel system or electrical system tend to be the cause. The most common of these defects include:
- Leaky fuel tanks
- Sparks in the wiring
- Engine failure
- Faulty batteries
- Exploding airbags
If the material inside of a car is flammable – for instance, the upholstery – then the results can prove catastrophic for drivers and passengers alike. Escaping from the enclosed structure of a car engulfed in flames might be impossible. Negligent manufacturers need to be held accountable for the life-threatening consequences of the defective systems they place in innocent motorists’ vehicles. In vehicle fires, several other parties could be liable, as well. For instance, negligent drivers who contributed to or caused the accident.
When Fires Happen in the Workplace
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that fires cause around 5,000 workplace injuries every year. Even though employers have an obligation to keep their job sites safe, their negligence can contribute to dangerous fires. Granted, a fire or explosion can still break out on the worksites of responsible employers that have taken the necessary safety precautions. However, when the smoke clears and investigators discover the cause of a fire, a company’s shortcuts, cheapness and lack of care are often to blame.
Employees who suffer damages in a workplace fire have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim in the hopes of recovering benefits. Workers can sometimes find an additional source of compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. If you were injured in a fire or explosion at work, do not let your employer or their insurance company discourage you from filing a claim. Instead, speak with a lawyer to learn about your rights.
Commercial and Business Fires
You do not expect to have your safety placed in jeopardy when you go to a retail store, hotel, restaurant, or another business enterprise. Unfortunately, fires and explosions can still occur in a commercial setting. When dozens or even hundreds of people are in a commercial space, a fire can quickly spread and set panic, resulting in a stampede or trampling injury. If the business in question has not installed sprinklers, marked emergency exits, and taken other appropriate precautions, a fire can rapidly destroy the building and result in catastrophic injuries.
Fires in commercial buildings have several complex practice areas at play, such as:
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we have experience with all of these areas due to our extensive handling of burn injury claims. You can bet that the business where the fire took place will have its own team of lawyers to block the investigation, minimize their liability, and try to reduce the settlements and awards given to victims. Fortunately, we are even more determined to take negligent business enterprises to the task – even if they are powerful multinational corporations. We care deeply about helping you and the other members of the community who have experienced a business fire feel safe about going into commercial areas once again.
Challenges Faced by Burn Injury Victims
Your ongoing recovery may take a long time, and burns often result in loss of mobility or limited ranges of movement. Burn victims also often experience complications such as:
- Damage to friable and fragile skin on the margins of the burn
- Secondary infection of the wound
- Nerve damage in the underlying tissues
- Damage to the muscle and other underlying structures
As you walk down the road to recovery, you will face challenges, some of which may be highly costly or require extensive medical intervention. You likely will not know the full extent of your need for months. In the wake of this uncertainty, we can walk you through the legal process of obtaining fair and just compensation for your damages.
Why Insurance Companies Fight Burn Claims So Fiercely
Burns are some of the most expensive injuries out there because of the nature of recovery, the potential for complication, and the extensive costs associated with the changes to your life. A personal injury claim can offer compensation for more than just medical expenses. A full compensation package may include financial recompense for:
- Your full array of medical bills, including those for emergency medical services, treatment for complications and rehabilitative care
- Lost income, including your time away from work, necessary job retraining and support for those whose disability means they can no longer work
- Bills associated with your injury, like transportation or childcare costs while you attend doctor appointments
- The cost of necessary remodeling for victims who need wheelchairs and other mobility aids or medical equipment at home
- Emotional and punitive damages
You deserve the full compensation you’re entitled to under the law, and we will fight to make sure you get it.
Skilled Litigation in Burn Injury Lawsuits
Burn injury victims deserve justice, and that begins with access to their full legal rights. As our attorneys examine your case, we will discuss your legal options, the nature of your case, and what you can expect going forward.
As a part of our commitment to quality work and an accessible justice system, we work on a contingency basis. This means that we do not charge our clients. Our fees are part of your settlement, so we only get paid when you get justice. Our lawyers have attained many top recoveries for clients who suffered serious burns caused by another party’s negligence. Select results include:
- $5,000,000 settlement in a Manhattan case for a 32-year-old laborer who was completing excavation work at a construction site when he struck a jackhammer against an unmarked electric box. He suffered electric shock which rendered him unconscious. As a result of the incident, he suffered second-degree burns, elevated CPK, and spinal injuries.
- $4,000,000 settlement for a worker who suffered third-degree burns to his chest, left shoulder, head, and neck as a result of a water pump accident at a Bronx hospital. He required two skin grafts and a Z-plasty for those injuries.
- $2,500,000 settlement in a Long Island case for a 20-year-old student who was a passenger in a car that hit a pole and caught on fire. As a result of the crash, he suffered multiple injuries, including deep second-degree burns and broken bones.
To learn more about our case results, please visit the Verdicts and Settlements page on our website. We offer free legal consultations to accident victims in New York and New Jersey. To speak with an experienced lawyer, please call 212-736-5300 or fill out our Contact Us form.