Los Angeles Burn Injury Attorney
Burn injuries are among the most painful a person can endure. Physical contact with fire, chemicals, or electricity typically results in surface damage to the skin tissue. However, burns can penetrate deeper to affect the nerves, muscles, fat, and even bones. Burn treatment may involve intravenous fluids, multiple skin grafting surgeries, intensive care, rehabilitation, and specialist medical care at a burn center. Deeper burns are considered catastrophic injuries, as they can cause life-threatening shock and respiratory distress, as well as the loss of skin, lasting scars, disfigurement, and chronic pain. Even with the best physical care, a burn victim may be left with mental anguish, including depression, social isolation, anger, irritability, anxiety, and PTSD.
f you or a family member has suffered the trauma of a burn injury and you believe that another party may be responsible, it’s time to contact a Los Angeles burn injury attorney who will put your needs first. Burn injuries can be fatal. Survivors are left with physical and emotional scars that will never completely heal. You may think of the injury as the result of a tragic accident; however, others may have contributed to or directly precipitated the tragedy due to negligence or irresponsible behavior.
At Ellis Law, we specialize in personal injury cases in the Los Angeles area, and have successfully litigated dozens of burn injury lawsuits.
We work with doctors who work at the renowned Grossman Burn Center as well as other elite burn institutes that will treat you on our behalf, regardless of your ability to pay. These doctors are important not just for your health, but their expert testimony can make a major impact towards gaining you a big reward.
For over 20 years, we have been among the most trusted LA personal injury lawyers. We take each case personally, bringing all our resources and expertise to the table to achieve the best results for our clients.
Types of burn injuries
Burns injury types include:
- Thermal – External heat sources can raise the temperature of the skin and soft tissue, causing cell death or charring. Thermal burns may come from the skin’s contact with metal, scalding liquid, steam, or flames.
- Chemical – Strong acids, detergents, or solvents can cause an external reaction on the skin or burn internal organs if ingested. Caustic burns of the eyes can cause blindness.
- Electrical – Electrical burns occur after touching a live wire, lightning strikes, short-circuiting products, inserting fingers or objects into electrical sockets, or falling into electrified water. Severe muscle contractions while being electrocuted can lead to broken bones and other injuries.
- Friction – The skin chafes off due to fast-moving pressure against an abrasive surface. Rope, rug, and sliding along the road after a motorcycle spill-out are all forms of friction.
- Radiation – The sun, x-rays, and radiation therapy for cancer are all possible sources of radiation burns. Radiation-exposed skin can peel off more quickly than it can grow back. Sores and ulcers are common.
The extent of injury and maximum healing depends upon the degree to which they are classified:
- First Degree – The mildest classification of burn affects the outermost layer of skin, causing redness and pain without blistering. These burn injuries are likely to fully heal within one to three weeks.
- Second Degree – Damage is done to the outermost layer of skin and the dermis below, causing bright redness, swelling, blisters, and pain to the touch. Superficial second-degree burns may heal without permanent effects within three weeks. A deep partial-thickness second-degree burn is characterized by whiteness skin discoloration that may leave a scar.
- Third Degree – “Full-thickness” burns destroy two full layers of the skin, causing black, brown, white, or yellow. While these burns are less painful due to the destruction of nerve endings, medical attention is required to prevent infection and minimize scarring. There is no set timeline for healing.
- Fourth Degree – The deepest and most severe type of burns are potentially life-threatening. All layers of the skin are burned, which could leave muscles, tendons, and bones exposed.
The facts about burn injuries in California
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 out of every 100 injuries in the United States is caused by fire; this statistic holds true for California as well. Though the incidence of fire-related events is statistically higher in rural areas of the state, major urban centers like Los Angeles report a significant number of deaths and injuries due to its high population density.
As in the rest of the country, the majority of fire-related deaths in California take place in the home. Fires result in the third most prevalent kind of home injury. The Office of the California State Fire Marshall reports that between 2003 and 2010, firefighters responded to blazes in 73,422 houses, causing 566 deaths (including three firefighters), and resulting in 2,072 fire-related injuries.
Causes of burn trauma
A person can suffer a burn injury resulting from:
- A house fire
- A car accident fire
- A fire at a public place
- Electrical shocks on the job
- Scalding liquids
- Hot pipes
- Contact with corrosive chemicals
- Overheating products like Insta Pots or space heaters
- Chemical spills
- Car accident fires
- Apartment fires
- Refinery fires
- Office building fires
- Fires in retail stores
- Fires in hotels or motels
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your burn injury, you may be eligible to pursue compensation.
Do you need a Los Angeles accident lawyer for your burn injury?
When the root cause of a burn can be traced back to another person or party’s negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed with an accident lawyer in civil court. Motorists, product manufacturers, employers, property owners, coworkers, medical centers, and other third parties may be deemed liable in some cases. If you’re not sure what happened in those moments before the burn injury, it’s worth talking to a Los Angeles accident lawyer for further investigation.
Compensation available to burn accident victims
The average hospital cost of a burn injury is over $200,000, depending on the severity of the injuries involved. Additionally, serious burn injuries often require skin grafts, reconstructive surgery, and a period of physical therapy. In the end, the financial impact of a burn injury can be quite substantial, not to mention the pain and suffering involved.
At the law office of Ellis Personal Injury Law, our attorneys work closely with medical economists and life care planners in determining the financial impact of a burn injury. We also work with medical experts and burn specialists who can offer a detailed prognosis for our client and the kinds of medical treatment and costs they face. We will also work with you in obtaining home care if needed. Our team is dedicated to your recovery.
When children are burn victims, we assist parents in establishing a special needs trust or structured settlement in order to help them secure their child’s healthcare and financial future.
A skilled burn injury lawyer at Ellis Law can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your physical trauma, or if you have lost a loved one through the negligence or carelessness of another. Compensation typically includes funds for medical bills, rehabilitation, vocational assistance, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Burn injuries are expensive; fatal injuries account for 2% of the cost of all injuries nationwide, amounting to billions of dollars. A settlement or jury award should take into account the financial expense of treatment as well as the high emotional cost of disfigurement or disability.
In one case, where Ellis Law Corporation represented a plaintiff involved in a propane gas explosion, we were able to obtain a $4.1 million dollar verdict for that plaintiff. This money went to help him in his recovery and to put this life back on track. We are very proud of this result.
Burn victims may be able to recover compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses, including hospitalizations, grafting, surgeries, therapy, and medicine.
- Travel expenses, to and from, the hospital, specialized surgeons, and burn treatment centers.
- Lost past income and an estimated amount of disability pay or lost future capacity to earn money.
- An estimated amount of pain and suffering related to physical limitations and emotional hardship.
- Punitive damages, as determined by a judge, intended to punish the defendant for gross wrongdoing.
- Funeral and burial expenses, as well as other personal losses, arising from the death of a loved one.
The value of a burn injury settlement depends upon:
- The extent of physical harm – The amount of suffering a person endures varies greatly from person to person but remains the largest factor when determining compensation. In the worst cases, a person may become unable to regulate body temperature, suffer widespread infections, lose sensation, and suffer permanent scars — both physical and psychological.
- The extent of financial harm – Certain items like related medical expenses and lost wages are simply tallied up as a portion of the settlement. Permanent disfigurement and the inability to earn a living in the future increases the settlement value considerably.
- The level of proven negligence – Working with skilled, experienced Los Angeles accident lawyers will be paramount to your case. A successful and resourceful law firm like Ellis Injury Law will provide you with access to investigators and experts who can prove liability and secure greater compensation on your behalf.
Liability for burn injuries in LA
But what if you have followed the safety provisions above and a death or injury still occurred? There may be other parties who are liable for the pain and suffering you have experienced.
Consider the following scenarios:
- The burn injury occurred as the result of a defective or recalled product.
- Your landlord did not maintain your building according to fire codes, and was thus responsible for an unsafe environment.
- A babysitter left a pot of boiling water on the stove unattended and your child was scalded due to this negligent behavior.
After the home, the most dangerous places in terms of fire-related death or injury are the workplace, the road, and recreational or sporting-related locations. A third party may be legally responsible for such cases as these:
- Your burn injury occurred in an auto accident, as the result of a motorist’s negligent or reckless driving.
- The company where you worked did not follow safe procedure by improperly storing or labeling hazardous materials, resulting in a chemical burn.
- The movie theater you visited had improperly marked exits, resulting in an unsafe environment and an inability to leave the building when it caught fire.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, please speak to a burn injury lawyer at Ellis Law to help clarify the facts in your own case.
Preventing fires at home
The home is the most deadly place in terms of fires and burn injuries, but such incidences can be prevented or reduced by adopting the following measures:
- Cooking safety (a majority of domestic fires relate to cooking): keep the area around the stove and range free of flammable objects and never leave a pot cooking unattended.
- Smoking (another major cause of fires at home): avoid emptying warm ashes into trash baskets and keep ashtrays away from flammable objects.
- Child safety (a high number of fires are started by or injure children): keep matches or other flammable objects away from children, and plan an escape route for your family in case of fire.
- Fire-proof your home: install smoke alarms on every floor (37% of domestic fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms) and sprinklers if possible, and keep space heaters away from flammable objects.
Treatment of burn injuries
Those who have experienced serious burns will typically spend time in the burn unit of a hospital or in a special burn center. The average stay in a burn unit is one day for every 1% of the body that is burned, and the most common types of procedures performed are excision (of dead or infected tissues) and skin grafts.
Patients may experience pneumonia, cellulitis, or urinary tract infection as side effects during treatment. Procedures can be painful, and leave sensitive and disfiguring scars that affect a survivor’s emotional well-being as well as his or her physical health. Follow-up surgeries or additional treatment for trauma are not uncommon.
Consult with a Los Angeles burn injury attorney
If you believe that you have suffered burn injuries for which a negligent party is liable, contact Ellis Law. A personal injury lawsuit requires the input of experts who can perform a professional forensic investigation into the site of a fire, understand the nature of product design and flaws, or weigh the significance of medical evidence.
Our investigators are trained and equipped to locate witnesses, find evidence, and to work with clients with compassion. In cases involving fire, we have the best experts to determine the cause of the fire, to determine if escape routes were properly placed, and if the building was up to code properly. Were they enough smoke detectors? Was there a sprinkler system properly operating and maintained? These questions get answered by our investigators and experts for your cases.
We are LA personal injury lawyers who have the resources and knowledge needed to win your case, and we are passionate about securing justice on behalf of our clients.
Call us now for a free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, meaning that our payment derives out of recovered settlement money, requiring clients to pay nothing upfront or out-of-pocket.