Atlanta Burn Injury Lawyers
Burn injuries rank among the most horrific and painful types of accidental injuries people can experience. Burn victims are often left with permanent physical reminders of the accident through scarring and disfigurement, chronic pain, nerve damage, and functional limitations such as limited mobility or decreased range of motion. This is not to mention the emotional and psychological scars that may never heal as well. Severe burns can also lead to other serious complications, including infections and sepsis, hypothermia, organ failure, and death.
Burn injury victims and their families need significant compensation to deal with the exorbitant expenses of wound treatment in a hospital emergency room, burn ward, rehabilitation center, and often a lifetime of repeated skin grafts, surgeries, counseling and therapy. The Atlanta burn injury lawyers at Shiver Hamilton Campbell have dedicated their careers to helping accident victims and families get the help they need when severely injured or worse by the negligence of another. Our firm has a reputation for obtaining solid, high-dollar verdicts in the most serious cases, so much so that other attorneys frequently call upon us to serve as co-counsel or take over the litigation on their client’s behalf. Whatever serves the client best, we are happy to do.
Below is some basic information about burn injuries in general and how they often come about in car crashes or construction site accidents. If you or a loved one has been severely burned in an accident caused by another’s negligence or wrongful conduct, or if you are a lawyer needing help with a difficult burn injury case in metro Atlanta, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell to discuss your needs and find out how we can help.
Steps To Take Following a Burn Injury
Few people know exactly what to do in the event that they suffer a severe burn injury. At times there can be confusion because damaged nerve endings might not send pain signals to the brain, causing people to think the burn is milder than it really is. It is important to know how to respond to even the smallest burn injury in Atlanta so you can receive proper treatment and avoid future complications. A local attorney could help guide you through the steps to take following a burn injury in Atlanta and help you get the proper care you need. It is best to consider your legal options with an experienced burn injury attorney.
Initial Steps After Receiving a Burn
The first steps a person should take following a severe burn is seek medical attention regardless of how bad the injury looks or feels. A medical professional is in the best position to identify what sort of medical treatment is necessary to avoid infection or long-term damage.
It is recommended to seek treatment in an emergency room or an urgent care facility. Afterward, a doctor might refer an injured person to one of several burn clinics in the Atlanta area, or to other doctors if further treatment is needed.
Once a person has received proper medical treatment, they should then contact a skilled burn injury lawyer to evaluate their case and determine whether they may be eligible to pursue damages. An attorney could take the lead on accumulating evidence and calculating how much in damages to seek in court.
How Should the Injured Person and Their Family Respond Following an Accident?
If a person suffered a burn caused by someone else’s negligence, one of the best things they can do, if they are physically able, is document what happened. The injured person could take pictures, make notes about how they sustained their injury, and take pictures of the source of the burn. Family members can assist in preserving that evidence so a lawyer could proceed in a case against the negligent party.
Injured parties should avoid throwing away anything related to the burn and its causes, and avoid conversing with the person who may have caused it, or that person’s insurance company. They should focus on their treatment and let their lawyer handle those communications. An attorney should be experienced enough to communicate with the defendant without giving up information of the case.
The Degrees of Burn Injuries
Burns are treated according to degrees, beginning with first-degree as the least severe and going up to third-degree burns. A first-degree burn is the mildest because it affects only the outer layer of the skin. Sunburn is a common example. There will usually not be any blistering or long-term damage with first-degree burns.
Second-degree burns affect the top layer of the skin and only part of the dermis layer underneath. These burns have blistering and are usually painful. A deep second-degree burn or a deep partial-thickness burn is more severe, consisting of damage to more of the dermis, and the deep burns may cause permanent scarring or changes in the color of the skin.
Third-degree burns destroy two full layers of the skin and sometimes may not even be painful because the burn has damaged the nerve endings.
Reasons to Seek Medical Help
The skin contains multiple layers and the lower layers could still be damaged even if the top layer looks fine. Injured parties may find that, as they recover, there is significant scarring or long-term negative effects that were not identified in the beginning.
The sun is the most common cause of burns, however these generally do not require serious treatment. For burns that may to a personal injury case, common causes include hot water, a kitchen stove, chemicals, and electrical currents, in addition to incidents involving open flames.
Types of Burn Injuries
Medical professionals classify burn injuries by degree; the higher degree of the burn, the more serious and life-threatening it can be.
First-degree – In a first-degree burn, only the outermost layer of skin is damaged. The affected area is red and painful, but the burned area will fully heal over time with first aid and follow-up treatment.
Second-degree – Both the outer layer (epidermis) and the second layer (dermis) of skin are burned in a second-degree burn. Second-degree burns are further classified by their depth: either superficial or deep partial thickness. Deep partial-thickness burns can leave a permanent scar. In any second-degree burn, the victim can suffer from pain, blisters and the possibility of infection.
Third-degree – Third-degree burns go past the skin and affect the underlying tissues. Third-degree burns won’t heal on their own, and they require immediate, emergency medical treatment to deal with. Victims of third-degree burns might need surgery and skin grafts and are commonly left with permanent scarring. Amputation is sometimes necessary to treat a third-degree burn.
Fourth-degree – These burns go all the way down and damage vital areas such as muscles, tendons and bones. Surgery and/or amputation are likely to be necessary, as well as a long and painful recovery period.
Thousands of people sustain burn injuries each year. Victims often endure severe pain, expensive medical costs, and lifelong scars. In extreme cases, they may even cause permanent disfigurement and death. Many people question how to go on, how to adjust to life after their injuries, and how to pay their medical bills.
In Georgia, victims and their families have the right to pursue legal action when their burn injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence. An Atlanta burn injury lawyer could provide valuable advice and insight on how to proceed after someone suffers such injuries. Call a compassionate catastrophic injury attorney today to schedule a consultation.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Frequently the result of an accident of some kind, burn injuries often stem from negligent behavior. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of burn injuries. When a distracted driver texts and drives, for example, they may collide with another vehicle. Should the victim in the other car suffer burn injuries in a fire resulting from the crash, the distracted driver could be held liable for the injuries.
Defective products can also lead to burn injuries. When a product sparks or burns, it can start a fire and lead to serious injuries. Combustible fuel sources and batteries, among other products, can cause burn injuries. The company who produced the defective product could be held legally responsible for the resulting injuries.
Workplace accidents also sometimes lead to burn injuries. Fires and explosions are possible in certain work settings, particularly when employees are handling hazardous materials. Everyone deserves a safe place to earn a living, so the individuals suffering burn injuries at work may explore legal options to seek compensation.
Possible Physical and Legal Consequences of Burn Injuries
Burn victims face a long and often painful road to recovery. They may require several weeks in the hospital and many months of aftercare to tend to sensitive scarring. Even as burn injuries heal, the psychological trauma can stick with a victim for the rest of their life. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is common in victims of severe burns.
Of course, there are more than just physical and psychological consequences of such injuries. The expensive medical bills will begin to pile up as soon as the person seeks initial help for their wounds. They may require several weeks off for recovery, forcing them to sacrifice their paycheck in exchange for time to heal. In some cases, their burns may prevent them from ever returning to their old career. An Atlanta burn injury lawyer could help injured people file a claim to recover damages.
Car Accident Burn Injuries
In any significant vehicle impact, there is a risk that a fuel line might rupture or the gas tank might get hit. Metal hitting metal creates sparks, and in the presence of fuel, these sparks can ignite an explosive fire. When fed by the vehicle’s fuel, a car accident fire can get hotter and bigger and potentially cause an explosion as well.
Even without a fire or explosion, car accident victims can be struck by hot metal engine parts or splattered with vehicle fluids such as motor oil which typically heat up to hundreds of degrees through normal operation. These temperatures are more than hot enough to cause severe burns.
Construction Accident Burn Injuries
Construction workers can encounter every type of burn in the course of a construction project – thermal (contact) burns, chemical burns, steam burns, electrical burns, and burns from fires and explosions. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury among construction workers as well. The most common burn injuries suffered on Atlanta constructions sites are thermal burns from fire and flammable materials, scalding water and pipes, steam, and other machinery and equipment that produce heat. Electrical burns are potentially the deadliest, and workers also face burn risks from the innumerable solvents and toxic chemicals present at a construction site.
Preparing a Burn Injury Case
Catastrophic injury cases can be difficult to pursue for a variety of reasons. Burn injuries, in particular, provide a challenge because typically the conditions that caused it are gone – a fire has been put out, scalding water has been cooled down, et cetera. However, a skilled burn injury attorney could prepare the necessary information to argue the case before a local court, and possibly recover damages for you. Reach out to learn about preparing a burn injury case in Atlanta.
Collecting All Evidence
A person who suffered a burn injury should seek legal advice from an attorney who has experience dealing with various types of burns, who has the resources available to mount a successful case, and who expresses compassion in their client’s story.
The first step a lawyer should take in preparing a burn injury is to collect evidence and learn what caused the burn. For example, if it was a hot water burn, they may find an expert to test how hot the water was. They can also prepare the medical aspects of the case by collecting medical records. Once the cause of injury is determined, there may be need for a life-care plan to determine which surgeries or treatments will be necessary in the future.
What is Some Qualifying Evidence in a Burn Injury?
Evidence in a burn injury case can be as simple as photographs of the burn itself, but can also include medical records and hospital bills, as well as information about how the burn was caused. A burn from hot water might require data about the temperature of the water; a work fire might include a report about how it was caused and the destruction it did to the site.
An experienced lawyer can collect evidence that the victim is able to provide but they could also go to the scene of the accident to preserve as much evidence as exists there. That could include taking photographs or temperature readings. They will then compile all of the evidence to produce the best possible argument in the event of a trial. Part of that evidence might also include the plaintiff’s testimony of the event.
Determining Comparative Negligence
One of the most critical points of contention in a personal injury case is the establishment of negligence. The plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the injured party showed reasonable care in the moment when the injury occurred and that the defendant showed unreasonable care or otherwise breached a duty of care that existed. For example, a work site should have proper fire safety protocols in place for their employees, and an apartment building must ensure that the water they provide to their tenants is kept to acceptable temperatures.
Georgia is a comparative fault state, meaning that if an injured person is determined to be 50 percent or more at fault, they cannot recover damages for that injury. When a person sustains a burn injury, it is important for a lawyer to determine whether the injured person had any role in causing the burn. If someone put their hand on a hot stove and did not remove it, they are more likely to be at fault for their own injury than whoever was operating the stove.
If there is some degree of fault on the part of the injured person, this does not mean that there is no case. They should still contact an experienced attorney in the area to assess the validity of their case.
How Does a Person with a Burn Injury Obtain a Long-Term Life Insurance Plan?
Part of the preparation of the case could include setting up the injured person for the future. Attorneys who work in personal injury law enjoy the benefit of having worked with many different companies over the years and could attempt to use their connections to help the injured person acquire a long-term life insurance claim. Through those connections, it is possible that they could advocate for that person even if the company is initially reluctant to provide insurance to a person who has sustained major burns.
Companies selling life or health insurance should not preclude someone who suffered a burn injury from getting that insurance since it is considered a pre-existing condition.
Help Is Available From a Atlanta Burn Injury Lawyer
Burn injury victims need substantial financial help to cover the immediate and long-term expenses of a burn injury, and they deserve significant compensation to deal with the pain and trauma that another’s negligence has inflicted on them. Seeing that accident victims and their families are properly taken care of is our mission at Shiver Hamilton Campbell.
If you have suffered a severe burn injury in a metro Atlanta car crash, construction accident or other incident involving the negligence of another party, or if you lost a loved one because of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 for a free consultation. We take on cases involving the most serious catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, and we fight to secure significant compensation for our clients who were hurt because of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct.