At Cuthbert Law Offices we have the experience and expertise to handle serious burn injury lawsuits. Burn injury cases are somewhat different from the standard auto accident case or medical malpractice case.
How are Burn Injury Lawsuits Different?
- Burn damage manifests itself differently. Burn injuries often require long recovery times and can be complicated by mental health issues (PTSD or anxiety), disfigurement, and destruction of intimate relationships.
- The medicine and medical terminology are different. Burn injury treatments are unique from any other type of medical care. Cuthbert Law burn injury attorneys are familiar with debridement, escharotomies, skin grafts, surgical revisions and releases, as well as the financial, physical, and mental tolls these treatments take on burn victims.
- The future care is different. Even after the initial injury is stabilized, burn victims often require revision surgeries, release surgeries, and cosmetic surgeries. There is also a greater risk of infection while healing, and many burn injury victims require continuing mental health care, occupational therapy, and vocational re-training.
These differences between burn injury lawsuits and other personal injury lawsuits make it especially important to use a lawyer who is familiar with these challenges and is capable of turning these challenges into opportunities.
For example, a skilled burn injury lawyer must have relationships with highly qualified burn surgeons, life care planners, occupational therapists, vocational experts, and economists in order to fully develop and present the unique qualities of a burn injury accident to a Virginia jury.
At Cuthbert Law Offices we have the experience to handle the complex challenges presented by burn injury accidents. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to represent a number of clients who were badly burned through no fault of their own. These experiences have helped us develop and hone our skills as burn injury lawyers.
If you need an experienced legal representative to help you navigate your burn injury lawsuit, schedule a free consultation with Cuthbert Law’s burn lawyers today.
Burn Injury Settlements: Compensation for Physical and Emotional Pain and Suffering
Compensation for burn injuries is similar to the same types of damages in other personal injury cases seen in the table below. However, burn injuries in particular can be extraordinarily painful and can lead to permanent and severe disfigurement.
Under Virginia Law, a burn injury victim can request compensation for:
- Past and present physical pain and suffering
- Past and present mental pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
Burn injuries are not just painful, they can have long lasting and complicated consequences. In some circumstances, burn victims can require lifelong medical care. Serious burn injuries may be accompanied by long lasting mental health issues such as heightened anxiety, PTSD, fear, and self-loathing.
Additionally, burn injuries can require a very long convalescence period with extensive physical and occupational therapy plans.
Disfigurement can also take a toll on a burn victim’s self-esteem, intimacy, and confidence. While unsightly scars on the face and other parts of the body can be improved by cosmetic surgeries, even the best plastic surgery treatments have limitations and cannot always make the burn victim feel completely whole again. Additionally, burn scarring can impede function, activity, and ability to regulate body temperature.
As burn injury lawyers, we will ask that the jury compensate the burn victim for emotional pain and suffering, taking into account the extent and nature of the disfigurement, the degree of embarrassment, depression, or any other emotional reactions likely caused by a disfigurement. A burn victim with a badly burned face, for example, will receive a much higher damage award than a plaintiff with a permanent scar in the middle of his or her back.
An experienced burn injury lawyer knows how to claim each and every element of these damages.
The Anatomy of a Burn Injury
1st degree burns: A first-degree burn is also called a superficial burn. A first-degree burn only affects the first layer of skin. Although first-degree burns are generally mild forms of skin injuries, they can be painful.
2nd degree burns: A second-degree burn completely burns the epidermal layer and extends down into the dermal layer, which is located just above the fat layer. A second-degree burn can also be described as a partial thickness burn.
3rd degree burns: A third-degree burn involves all of the epidermal layers, the dermal layer, and the fat layer. A third degree burn is also referred to as a full thickness burn.
Common Burn Injury Terms and Treatment
Debridement is a painful procedure where the burn areas are scrubbed with a chlorhexidine scrub brush or wipe and blisters are broken with the excess dead skin being removed by rubbing it off or excising it.
Split-thickness skin graft takes layers of healthy skin shaved from donor sites and applies the healthy layer of skin to burned areas. The split thickness skin graft is then stapled in place to heal and form new healthy skin in the burned areas.
An escharotomy is a surgical procedure used to treat full thickness (third-degree) burns. In full thickness burns, both the epidermis and the dermis are destroyed along with sensory nerves in the dermis. Eschar is the tough leathery tissues remaining after a full thickness burn. Following a full thickness burn, as the underlying tissues are rehydrated, they become constricted due to the eschar’s loss of elasticity, leading to impaired circulation distal to the wound. An escharotomy can be performed as a prophylactic measure as well as to release pressure, facilitate circulation, and combat burn-induced compartment syndrome.
Burn Injury Statistics
American Burn Association (2013 National Burn Repository Report)
(Using data compiled from 2003 – 2012)
General Burn Injury Facts (2001 – 2010)
Example of an Actual Lawsuit and Burn Injury Settlement
No too long ago, a client whom we will call Mr. X, was badly injured in an explosion at work. The explosion covered Mr. X in a ball of burning gasoline, coating his body and igniting his clothes. Over 45% of his body was covered in 3rd degree burns. He was transported by helicopter to the Evan Haynes Center at VCU where he was admitted and stayed for over a month. He underwent multiple escharotomies, debridements, and skin grafts. He is lucky to be alive today.
The below images were created for Cuthbert Law attorneys by Medivisuals, Inc. – All Medical-Legal Options. Click each image to expand.
We put together a team of experts for Mr. X, including:
• Experts from the Evan Haynes Burn Center to discuss his past, present, and future care.
• A life care planner from Arizona (whose expertise lies in burn injury cases) to discuss the significance and value of Mr. X’s future care.
• A vocational expert to discuss how the consequences of the burn injuries affected Mr. X’s ability to work.
• Psychologists and psychiatrists to address the mental health damages that Mr. X experienced as a result of his burns.
• An expert in economics to calculate the present cost of the future medical costs and lost wages attributed to Mr. X as a result of his injuries.
Cuthbert Law worked with Mr. X every step of the way to see his case through to the end. We were able to obtain a substantial settlement (confidential) on his behalf to compensate him for his pain, suffering, mental anguish, past and future bills, and loss of income.
Evan Hynes Burn Center
In Central Virginia we are fortunate to have a state-of-the-art burn center that continues to pioneer innovative therapies and surgical options for burn victims. The Evans Haynes Burn Center is the only verified burn center in Virginia and is a regional resource for burn injury accidents and the reconstructive needs of burn injury survivors. The Evans Haynes Burn Center features a 16-bed unit with eight-bed ICU and eight non-acute beds, treating 400 to 450 patients per year including pediatric and adult burn patients.
In addition to Mr. X, Cuthbert Laws Offices has worked with numerous clients who have received treatment at the Evans Haynes Burn Center after experiencing significant burn injuries.
If you or a loved one needs help getting a full and fair settlement as a result of a serious burn injury accident, Contact Cuthbert Law now!