NYC Burn Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered a burn injury, consult with a NYC Burn Injury Lawyer at The Platta Law Firm. We have extensive experience representing New York burn injury victims in insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits. We’ll clarify your legal rights and options and fight hard on your behalf to help get you the most possible compensation and justice. Reach out to The Platta Law Firm today by calling (212) 514-5100 or contacting us online.
What are the Different Types of Burn Injuries?
Burns are some of the most dramatic injuries that accident victims can suffer. Not only do they cause pain and disfigurement, but many burn injuries lead to psychological distress, which is difficult to overcome. Each year, approximately 40,000 people with burn injuries go to the hospital for medical treatment, and about 3,400 sadly die. The six most common types of burn injuries are:
- Cold burns caused by cold temperatures.
- Electrical burns caused by electrical currents.
- Chemical burns caused by acidic or caustic solvents.
- Friction burns caused by rubbing the skin against a hard object.
- Thermal burns caused by heat (usually hot liquid, fire, or steam).
- High doses of radiation burns (usually as part of cancer treatment).
Any burn injury can cause drastic pain and disability. We encourage you to take all burns seriously and get them treated immediately.
Do Burn Injuries Vary by Severity?
Yes. Doctors classify burns by degrees. The higher the degree, the more damage these burns cause to a victim’s body. Although every burn is potentially dangerous, some burns will require more aggressive treatment. Generally, doctors have identified the following classifications:
First-degree Burns: Damage to the skin’s outermost layer. A sunburn is an example of a first-degree burn.
Second-degree Burns: Damage to the outer layer and the layer below it. They lead to blisters and scarring.
Third-degree Burns: Damage to layers of skin and the tissue beneath it, including nerves, muscle, and bone.
What Causes Burn Injuries?
You can suffer a burn injury in many different types of accidents, including:
- Motorcycle or bicycle accidents. Skidding along hot asphalt lead to a friction burn called “road rash.”
- Fires or explosions. A house that catches on fire can burn you before you can escape in time.
- Car accidents. After a crash, a car can get on fire, or a ruptured battery could fling acid on the skin.
- Defective products. Certain products fail to work correctly and either leak chemicals or catch on fire (e.g., lithium batteries).
How Do Doctors Treat Burn Injuries?
Burn injury treatment depends on the severity and type of burn. One primary concern is to ensure you receive proper hydration so that you do not experience organ failure. Doctors also prescribe medication to help with pain and reduce anxiety. When you are resting comfortably, you can better recover from the burn. Your medical team will also remove dead tissue and possibly cover exposed areas with skin grafts to close the wound. Skin grafts can lead to scarring, which your doctor should try to minimize.
Is a Burn Injury Serious?
Any burn is potentially serious. Even if a burn is minor, it might be deep and affect nerves, muscles, and bones. Burns also lead to infections and related complications. We recommend you go to the hospital so a doctor can provide appropriate treatment.
What Complications Do Burn Injuries Cause?
In addition to emotional distress, serious burn injuries can cause multiple problems, like infection and disability.
A burn can easily lead to an infection because the victim’s immune system is compromised. Some of the most common infections include cellulitis, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia. Some burn injury victims suffer from sepsis and sepsis shock, which occur when the body’s immune system begins attacking healthy tissue. Although your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics, some germs are immune to them. Infection is a serious complication that can cause you to spend weeks in the hospital.
Serious burns permanently shorten the skin, causing a contracture. Contractures around joints can prevent you from walking or gripping objects like you used to. You might need surgery to “loosen” the contracture or physical therapy to improve the ability of the skin to stretch. Contractures can make returning to everyday life very difficult.
Is Living with a Burn Injury Expensive?
It can be. You might need an at-home attendant to help you bathe, dress, cook, and clean. Even if you have the support of your family, your loved ones might be overwhelmed trying to cope with your injury. As a result, you might need extra help with your daily activities and chores. Because skin contractures only improve somewhat with time, this might be a lifetime expense. Medical expenses are also considerable. If you have a serious infection, you can spend weeks in intensive care and might even need surgery. Emotional distress might also require ongoing behavioral therapy or prescription drugs.
Who is Responsible for my Burn Injury?
When it comes to legal liability, we need to assess your case’s facts. Anyone whose negligent or reckless conduct contributed to your burn is responsible. This person is “liable” for your injuries and financial losses in legal lingo. Our legal team has sued any of the following on behalf of clients who suffered a burn injury:
- Property owners
- Transit companies
- Government agencies
- Cab drivers or rideshare drivers
- Manufacturers of defective products
- Retailers who sell defective products
In many cases, you might not know who is responsible for your injury. You know that you feel intense pain and need to go to the hospital. That’s okay. This is one reason to reach out to an experienced burn injury lawyer at The Platta Law Firm as soon as possible. We can analyze your situation to identify who is liable.
Can I Receive Compensation for my Burn Injury?
Yes, if you can show that someone else is to blame. In many cases, accident victims are injured because an individual or company did not use sufficient care. For example, a driver sends a text message while flying down the highway. Unsurprisingly, they drive straight into your car, causing a fire. Or they clip you while you are riding your bicycle, sending you skidding along the road.
The same is true for many fires or explosions in buildings. Faulty wiring or negligent upkeep can lead to disaster. Homeowners and businesses owe you a duty of care, and you can sue them when their failure to maintain their property causes your burns. Also, we might bring a product liability lawsuit under New York law when a defective product burns you. Generally, a product is defective when it doesn’t work in the way that you and other consumers would reasonably expect. A laptop that catches on fire and burns you is a good example of a defective product that fails this “consumer expectations” test.
What Compensation Can New York Burn Injury Attorneys Obtain?
Compensation comes in the form of money damages. This award of monetary damages is supposed to make up for any economic or non-economic losses you suffered from the accident.
Burn injuries are expensive to treat. In addition to emergency medical care, you might spend weeks in the hospital. Many burn injury victims need surgery to loosen contractures and rehabilitation to regain a range of movement. Prescription drugs and doctor visits add to the bill. In addition, you might need prescription drugs and mental health counseling to fight depression and anxiety. We recommend holding onto all medical bills and receipts for prescription drugs. If you have suffered permanent disability, your attorney can seek future medical care damages. For example, you might be so disabled that you need an at-home attendant to come in every morning.
Lost Wages, Lost Income
You might be unable to work due to a burn injury. You should receive compensation for this lost income, even if you are self-employed. Typically, you can easily calculate the amount: multiply your average weekly wage by the number of weeks you can’t work. You might also receive lost future income. For example, a third-degree burn can result in a disfiguring injury, like an amputation. Consequently, you may need to find a new job, or you might not be able to work again. The person liable for your injuries should pay you compensation for lost future income.
If the accident resulted in damage to your property, you could receive compensation. An example is a car accident, where you suffer a burn injury due to a fire. The fire likely destroyed your car, so your car will need to be repaired or replaced.
These damages make up for certain losses which you can’t easily measure in dollars. In some sense, money is inadequate—you would probably like your old body back. However, money is what a court can order. We seek compensation for our clients for the following non-economic losses.
Burn injuries can damage nerves, leading to constant pain. Even though painkillers might help somewhat, physical pain can cause sleeplessness and agony.
Emotional Distress, Mental Anguish
Burns cause serious emotional distress. You could have serious doubts about your future. You might stay up at night fearful of whether you can ever return to work or enjoy your old hobbies. Because burns are disfiguring, you might suffer intense embarrassment or shame. If you have a burn on your chest, you might never go swimming again. This distress might require substantial medical intervention. For example, you might need to go to therapy for years. Those medical bills are included as economic losses. But the emotional distress itself also warrants compensation.
Can I Receive Punitive Damages for a Burn Injury?
You might be entitled to an award of punitive damages, depending on the facts. New York law restricts punitive damages to certain instances, so they are not always available. In particular, you will need to show that the defendant behaved very badly, probably by intentionally injuring you. Punitive damages rarely apply, but we can seek them if the facts support such a request.
Can my Spouse Receive Compensation for the Impact to Our Marriage?
Your spouse can possibly receive money damages as compensation for impacts on your relationship. New York law allows spouses to bring a “loss of consortium” claim when an injury impairs marital relations. A burn injury might prevent you from going outside or enjoying intimate relations. Your spouse could seek compensation for these changes to the marital relationship.
How Can The Platta Law Firm Help me After a Burn Injury?
Our legal team can immediately jump in to build a legal case. Here’s what we can do for you:
- Investigate the accident that injured you.
- Bring a lawsuit, if necessary, to protect your rights.
- Interview witnesses who might have seen the accident.
- Communicate with insurance providers and those at fault for your injuries.
- Consult with medical experts to evaluate your injuries and medical expenses.
- Negotiate a favorable settlement with the defendant and insurance companies.
An experienced New York burn injury attorney should be able to do all of the above. Not all cases can settle. As a result, you want someone who can handle your personal injury claim from the hospital emergency room to the courthouse door.
Can I Obtain Compensation if I Was Partially at Fault?
Yes. New York has a comparative negligence law that allows victims to seek compensation even when they were negligent.
This is not the law in every state. In some states, any negligence would prevent you from suing. Fortunately, New York has a more generous law. You can sue so long as someone else is even a little bit at fault.
However, there is a catch: any compensation you qualify for is reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, you might have suffered burns in a car fire, but you were also speeding before the crash. A jury might decide you are 50% to blame, so your compensation gets cut in half. If you were 90% to blame, you would receive only 10% of the compensation you otherwise could get if you were not at fault.
How Much Time Do I Have to Sue?
New York requires that accident victims bring personal injury lawsuits promptly. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases requires that you file within three years of the accident. If you file too late, the defendant can ask the judge to toss your case out of court—and judges will do so without hesitation. Three years can pass quickly—especially if you are rehabbing a bad burn injury. Please contact a New York burn injury lawyer immediately to protect your rights. We can quickly get a personal injury lawsuit filed if you are approaching the deadline.
What Do I Need to Prove to Receive Compensation?
Most cases are brought for negligence. Generally, this means the defendant who injured you did not use reasonable care. Negligence has four elements a personal injury attorney must prove to be successful.
We need to show that the defendant owed you a duty to act carefully. What creates this duty? Sometimes it is being physically close to you, like driving on the same road. In other situations, you are owed a duty because you were invited onto someone’s property, or you bought a company’s product.
Breach of the Duty
The second element is that the defendant breached their duty by not acting with sufficient care. Examples are a speeding motorist or a homeowner who doesn’t fix faulty wiring.
With the third element, we must show that the defendant’s breach caused your burn injury. Many times, this is easy to do. But in some cases, there might be a question as to whether the defendant’s conduct was too far removed from your injury to be linked to it.
The fourth element is damages, meaning losses caused by your burn. Damages can include medical care, lost income, and other financial losses.
How Do I Choose the Right New York Burn Injury Attorney?
First of all, you’ll want an attorney with experience. Your attorney should have handled multiple personal injury cases, particularly burn accident cases. Someone might be the best divorce lawyer in the state, but they might lack knowledge of burn injury cases. Secondly, your attorney should be a compassionate advocate for clients. You can get a sense of the lawyer’s style by scheduling a free consultation. Finally, you’ll want someone who will work hard and diligently to get the job done right.
Contact a New York City Burn Injury Lawyer at The Platta Law Firm
Suffered a burn injury in New York? An experienced personal injury attorney at The Platta Law Firm can help. We have represented burn injury victims in New York for years. Our seasoned legal team has the skills necessary to seek maximum compensation in an insurance claim or burn injury lawsuit. For a free case evaluation, reach out to The Platta Law Firm by calling (212) 514-5100 or contacting us online.