Massachusetts Burn Injury Lawyer
Burn injuries not only cause severe physical pain, but also leads to victims experiencing significant emotional trauma. In addition to a long and painful recovery, burn victims are commonly left with permanent scarring and disfigurement. People who suffer burn injuries are often hospitalized because of their injuries resulting in enormous medical bills.
A 2016 report by the American Burn Association reveals that almost 500,000 burn injuries require medical attention in the United States each year. Nearly 40,000 burn victims in the US are hospitalized every year, and approximately 3,000 people die annually due to smoke inhalation and burn injuries. Unfortunately, a number of burn injuries and related deaths every year are avoidable and the result of someone’s negligence.
Although burn injuries and the necessary medical treatment often leave victims with staggering medical bills, burn victims rarely get the compensation they deserve even when their injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence. In addition to the insurance companies attempting to limit their client’s liability, state laws may reduce the amount of compensation available for certain burn injuries, including work-related accidents.
Types and Causes of Burn Injuries
While burn injuries can occur unexpectedly in almost any setting, they are often sustained in car accidents, kitchen fires, industrial explosions, workplace accidents, electrical mishaps, or a result of exposure to toxic chemicals. Below are four types of burns commonly sustained in accidents.
- Thermal Burns. Caused by contact with heated objects such as fire, boiling water, hot coffee, hot objects, and fireworks. Although burns are usually classified by degree (1st – 4th), the American Burn Association designates thermal burns as major, moderate, or minor.
- Chemical Burns. Occurs when living tissue is exposed to certain substances or agents, including strong acids, oxidizers, alkylants, and arsine. Chemical burns can occur when the harmful matter is exposed to the skin or swallowed.
- Electrical Burns. Occurs when electricity passes through the body. Often a result of contact with damaged or exposed electrical cords and outlets. Other sources include lightning and stun guns. Electrical burns can be fatal.
- Radiation Burns. Caused by exposure to certain types of radiation. Burns or damage may occur when radiation passes through the skin, sometimes during X-rays or radiation therapy when treating cancer patients. Sun exposure (UV radiation) and tanning beds may lead to radiation burns. Alpha burns are a result of exposure to alpha particles and can cause substantial tissue damage when inhaled.
Burns are generally classified into four categories based on severity. The categories include:
- a) First degree burn. The least severe classification of burns. Symptoms include redness, swelling, minor pain, and discomfort. First degree burns can sometimes be treated on their own without any medical attention necessary. Also referred to as a superficial burn.
- b) Second degree burn. More severe than first-degree burns. Occurs when the first and second layers of the skin are burned. Scarring, blistering, redness, and pain & discomfort are common symptoms. Second degree burns generally heal in a few weeks.
- c) Third degree burn. Also referred to as a “full thickness burn.” These burns destroy both layers of skin and may include damage to the underlying muscles, tendons, and bones. Third degree burns are extremely painful and the location of the burn is usually left white or charred. Skin graft surgery occurs with 3rd degree burns.
- d) Fourth degree burn. The deepest and most severe burns. Besides destroying all skin layers and damaging tissue, muscle, and bone, fourth degree burns cause excruciating pain, require long-term care, and may potentially be fatal.
Recovering Damages for Massachusetts Burn Injuries
In Massachusetts, burn injuries are sometimes the result of another individual’s negligent or reckless behavior. If that individual owed the victim a duty of care and their negligence or recklessness was the cause of the victim’s burn injuries, he/she may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and future earning capacity, rehabilitation costs, and pain & suffering.
When a burn injury occurs in the workplace, the injured employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and may file a complaint with the Department of Industrial Accidents as opposed to a civil personal injury lawsuit in one of the state trial courts. When a third party causes or contributes to the employee’s injuries, the victim may have a third-party liability claim in state court in addition to the workers’ compensation claim.
Contact a Massachusetts Burns Injury Attorney
Burn injuries are among the most painful injuries one can sustain. In addition to the physical and emotional pain, there is a lengthy recovery that may include surgery, rehabilitation, and therapy, all resulting in expensive medical bills and related costs. If a burn victim’s injuries were caused by another’s negligence or recklessness, working with an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to make certain the victim receives the compensation he/she is entitled to.
If you are in Massachusetts and you or a loved one suffered burn injuries because of someone else’s negligence, contact Riccio Law today to schedule a free case evaluation. We will fight to get you the financial compensation you deserve.