Burns are among the most painful injuries a person can experience. In the U.S. there are over 1.1 million burn injuries a year. Over 45,000 require hospitalization and 4,500 victims die each year from their burns.
Every year individuals receive physical as well as emotional injuries as the result of their burns. While causes can range from household fires to industrial accidents, there are several common reasons for serious burns in the Houston area such as:
- Plant explosions;
- Serious burns resulting from faulty detectors or sprinkler systems;
- Chemical accidents;
- Gas refinery explosions;
- Truck accidents;
- Car accidents.
Brian White is an experienced and determined Houston burn injury attorney who successfully advocates for his clients. He understands that burn injuries often require multiple and extensive cosmetic surgeries, skin grafts, and costly long-term nursing care. Clients are under further stress from the loss of wages because of their inability to work and undergo serious emotional hardship from disfiguring scars. We work hard to fully investigate the liable party for your injuries and fight vigorously to see that you receive the full compensation you deserve under Texas State law. Financial awards can include present and future medical bills, lost wages and future lost wages, disability income and more.
If you or a loved one have experienced a burn, contact the Houston burn injury lawyers at Attorney Brian White and Associates today for a FREE initial consultation. Our team is so confident in our ability to win your case, we never charge a fee unless we follow through on that promise.
Elements of a Burn Accident Case
The physical and emotional ramifications of a burn injury can last a lifetime. If you or a loved one recently suffered serious burns in an accident, you may be eligible for recompense for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Brian White & Associates have been helping Houston victims of negligence gain compensation for their injuries for years. As a board-certified attorney in personal injury law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Brian White is a qualified Houston burn injury lawyer and is prepared to fight for your right to fair compensation under the law.
Burn injury cases, like most other personal injury claims, require that all the following elements apply:
- The defendant (party responsible for your injuries) owed you a duty of care. If you sustained injuries in a car accident, for example, the other driver owes you a duty of care.
- The defendant breached their duty of care by committing negligence. In a legal sense, negligence is a failure to act in a way that a reasonable person would act. Negligence can arise from action (such as texting and driving) or inaction (failing to complete safety checks before marketing a product to the public).
- The breach led directly to your injuries.
- You suffered damages as a result. Examples of damages in a burn injury case include medical bills, lost wages, therapy and rehabilitation costs, cosmetic surgery, and intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
Available Damages in a Burn Injury Case
Texas law allows victims of negligence to collect two main types of damages. Economic damages include medical expenses, any loss in earning capacity, lost wages, and any ongoing health care costs resulting from the accident. General damages compensate for the immaterial losses of your accident. Examples include physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, and suffering.
In rare cases, Texas law also allows victims to collect punitive damages, but the plaintiff must prove gross negligence or outrageous or intentional conduct. You may be able to collect these damages, for example, if someone purposefully sets fire to your home.
Possible Challenges to Burn Injury Cases
Because of the extensive and life-altering nature of burn injuries, these cases have unique challenges. One of the primary concerns regarding a burn injury case is determining the exact amount of damages that a burn injury victim sustains. Burns require intensive medical care, and follow-up care and procedures can last a lifetime if the burns are severe. Burn injury victims may find it difficult to be outside in the sun and can struggle with basic self-care tasks. This can severely limit a victim’s quality of life, as well as their ability to earn a livable wage.
Often, burn injury cases involve testimony from a life care planner. These individuals can attest to the amount of damages a burn victim can expect to accrue over the course of his or her life. Future medical expenses often play a significant role in burn injury cases, as do the costs of ongoing occupational or physical therapy. For this reason, Brian White & Associates have developed an extensive network of experts who can testify on a victim’s behalf.
The Differences Between First, Second and Third Degree Burns
The classification of a burn injury is important. It helps doctors determine how to treat the wound, which tissues the burn affected, and how long it will take to heal. Knowing how deep the burn went into the skin is the first step toward remedying a burn injury. Some burn injuries heal completely, while others leave permanent scarring or disfigurement. Understanding how to classify a burn injury can help you minimize damages in the event of an accident.
When determining the classification of a burn injury, consider what caused the burn, the temperature, the duration of contact, anatomic location, and how much blood flow the skin receives. The body has varying degrees of thermal protection, depending on the surface location. Children and the elderly have thin skin, so burns can affect them more seriously.
- First-Degree Burns (Superficial Thickness) – affects only the first layer of skin. This is the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. First-degree burns do not result in blistering, but result in red, dry, and painful skin. The skin may peel, with pain lasting about 48–72 hours before subsiding. First-degree burns rarely result in permanent damage and do not need immediate medical attention.
- Second-Degree Burns (Partial Thickness – Superficial) – Deep partial burn that involves the epidermis and part of the dermis. Doctors classify second-degree burns as partial or full thickness. These burns may or may not result in blistering. In a partial thickness burn, the wound is pink or red, appears wet and shiny, and is swollen and painful to the touch. The skin blanches when you apply pressure to the burned area. Partial thickness burns involve the upper layers of the dermis. Partial thickness second-degree burns typically heal within 10–21 days with minimal scarring.
- Third-Degree Burns (Full Thickness) – This destroys the epidermis and the entire dermis. These burns extend into the subcutaneous tissues. This kind of burn is so extensive the victim may not feel pain due to nerve damage. The skin is white in color and appears waxy or appears charred and dark brown. The texture is leathery and raised, with no elasticity. Small areas can take months to heal, and large areas require skin grafts. Scarring is present after third-degree burns.
What to Do Following a Burn Injury
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a burn accident, take the following steps:
- Receive appropriate medical care. Burns require highly specialized medical treatment and often an inpatient stay in a hospital burn unit. Follow your doctor’s orders and do whatever it takes to get on the road to recovery.
- Ask to file a police report, when you’re feeling up to it. The police often report to the scene of an accident whenever someone sustains an injury. However, your injuries may prevent you from recording your version of events. Contact the local police department and ask for a copy of the police report, adding your own statement if possible.
- Contact a Houston burn injury lawyer. Attorney Brian White & Associates will prioritize your case and will treat it with the care and attention it deserves.
Contact Our Houston Burn Injury Attorneys for a FREE Initial Consultation
Don’t compromise your rights to recover the compensation you need and deserve by waiting to act. We will listen to your concerns and clarify all of your options for you.
By contacting us, you’re setting yourself up to get some of the best legal guidance in Houston – and our previous clients will agree! Call us today.