The American Burn Association reports that about 450,000 people every year suffer burn injuries that require medical treatment. More than 60 percent of hospitalized burn injury patients must be transferred to obtain specialized care from a burn center. Many burn injuries prove to be fatal.
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, we understand how devastating and costly these injuries can be for victims and their families in Richmond and throughout Virginia. If you have suffered a burn injury that was caused by another’s negligence, we want to help you to seek compensation that will cover your medical treatment and all other losses you have suffered.
We can start by providing a free consultation that will help us to understand your case and allow you to learn more about your rights and legal options. Simply contact us today by phone or through our online form.
Causes of Burn Injuries
The first step in your burn injury case will be to determine how it occurred. According to the American Fire Protection Association and other sources, the most common sources of burn injuries include:
- Propane gas tanks (including those used for grilling)
- Welding devices
- Arson and accidently set fires
- Candles that burn down or fall over
- Smoking materials that start home and structure fires
- Christmas tree lights
- Chemicals and gases
- Lighting or electrical systems
Burn injuries may be suffered at home or on the job. They often are the result of accidents involving cars, motorcycles, trucks and ATVs.
An investigation conducted independently of local fire, police and other first responders may be necessary to determine the source of your burn injury.
The lawyers of McDonald & Associates conduct investigations that consider local officials’ reports, evidence that our investigators gather and the opinions of expert fire, arson and accident investigators.
Consequences of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries are categorized according to severity. These categories include:
- First-degree burns –Affecting only the outer layer of skin and causing pain, redness and swelling
- Second-degree burns – Affecting the outer and underlying skin layers and causing significant pain, redness swelling and blistering
- Third-degree burns – Extending below the skin into deeper tissue and causing white or blackened and charred skin as well as numbness due to heavy nerve damage
- Fourth-degree burns – Damage extending to muscle, tendons and bones that could be potentially fatal.
A third- or fourth-degree burn is a medical emergency. The victim will require immediate care followed by hospitalization and surgery. In addition to pain medication and antibiotics, treatment may include:
- Debridement – Surgical removal of loose, dead, debris-ridden or contaminated tissue
- Skin grafts – Replacement of scar tissue with healthy skin taken from other sites on the patient’s body
- Cosmetic (plastic) surgery –Repair of scarring and disfigurement.
In some cases, a burn patient may also need:
- Breathing assistance – A tube may be threaded down the victim’s windpipe (trachea). If the victim has been burned in the face or neck, his or her throat can swell shut.
- Decompression –The burn scab (eschar) may need to be cut in several places to relieve pressure. An eschar that encircles a limb, for example, can cut off circulation.
- Tube feeding – A tube may need to be inserted through the nose into the stomach. Severely burned patients’ bodies shift into a heightened metabolism in an effort to counter the damage. A feeding tube provides supplemental nutrition to ensure the necessary strength.
A recovered burn injury victim may require future cosmetic surgery, rehabilitation therapy, psychological therapy, use of walkers or wheelchairs and more. A person disabled by a serious burn injury may require development of a life-care plan for management of their needs and costs going forward.
Legal Options for Burn Injury Victims
If a person has suffered a burn injury due to the negligence or other wrongful conduct of another, a personal injury lawsuit may be pursued to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. A product liability suit may be appropriate if the burn resulted from a defectively designed, manufactured or marketed product.
Burn injuries often occur on the job. A worker may be eligible to pursue workers’ compensation benefits that are available in Virginia. These benefits can pay for medical costs and replace a portion of a worker’s lost wages. In some cases, a personal injury claim against a non-employer may be pursued as well.
Unfortunately, children often suffer burn injuries due to the negligence of day care providers, recreation centers or schools. Both the child and parents may have the right to bring a legal claim against those responsible for the harm.
Contact Our Richmond Burn Injury Attorneys
The lawyers of Geoff McDonald & Associates can provide a comprehensive investigation of your burn injury case that looks at how the injury occurred and who should be held responsible. We can also consult with experts to determine the full extent of your losses. Ultimately, we can seek the compensation you are due by either negotiating with insurers or representing you in court.
We have been helping injured Richmond and Virginia residents for more than 20 years. We are ready to help you, too. Just call Geoff – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our No Fee Guarantee® means you won’t owe us a legal fee unless we win or settle your case.
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