Experienced NJ Burn Injury Attorneys Seeking Compensation for Victims of Burn Injuries in Ocean County, Monmouth County, and across South Jersey
Burn injuries are an often overlooked category of injury that is associated with substantial morbidity (i.e., illness or disease) and mortality (i.e., death). Over 500,000 people seek medical treatment for burns every year in the U.S. More than 40,000 of them end up in the hospital, and 4,000 people die every year from burns. Experts estimate that it costs more than U.S. $ 1 billion to treat burns every year, and this number does not include the cost of loss of wages and rehabilitation.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, adults 55 and over have a greater relative risk of fire death, and adults 85 and over have the highest relative risk of fire death, than the general population. Males are 1.7 times more likely than females to die in fires. African Americans and Native Americans are at greater risk of dying by fire than the population at large.
If you or a loved one went through the painful experience of sustaining burn injuries in a fire or another type of accident in Colts Neck, Berkeley, Jackson, Point Pleasant, Stafford, Ocean Township, Rumson, Asbury Park, Freehold, or elsewhere in Monmouth or Ocean County, our experienced team of personal injury lawyers is prepared to help you seek compensation. We work under the contingency basis model. This means that you pay only if you win your case. Free consultations are available at (732) 303-7857 with our lawyers anytime. Call now to find out if you might have a case.
How are Burn Injuries Classified in NJ?
A burn occurs when the body’s tissues are damaged by chemicals, heat, radiation, electricity, or the sun. Burns are classified by medical professionals. First-degree burns affect the first, topmost layer of skin, known as the epidermis. A sunburn is a good example of a first-degree burn—usually there’s no worse after-effect than a change of skin color. These burns can heal at home with standard treatments.
Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and, partially, the lower layer of skin, known as the dermis. The burn is red and blistered, and it may swell and be painful. Third-degree burns are deeper. They destroy both the outer and inner layers and may even affect the underlying tissue. The burn may look white, or black and charred. Third-degree burns threaten a person’s life and require the care of a hospital staff that specializes in burns.
Main Reasons that Burn Injuries Happen
There are many causes of burns, including thermal burns, which occur around flames, hot surfaces, steam, or hot liquids such as hot water, oil, or grease. Under the category of thermal burns is a type of burn known as a scald, which is caused by hot liquids or steam. Hot drinks, hot bathwater, or cooking steam can cause a scald.
If a person comes in contact with an electric current, he or she can get an electrical burn. Exposed wiring, faulty electric equipment, and lightning strikes can cause this type of burn. Chemical burns happen when a person’s skin or eyes come into contact with acids, alkalis, solvents, or industrial chemicals. This can happen in industrial workplaces, in laboratories, or at home with accidental exposure. A person can also be exposed to X-rays, nuclear radiation, or radiation therapy for cancer treatment, which can cause radiation burns.
And never underestimate the sun and its ability to cause sunburns, which come from too much ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds. If a person inhales hot gases, steam, smoke, or toxic chemicals, they can get a burn to their respiratory tract, resulting in an inhalation burn. This type of burn is common among people in burning buildings.
Devastating Consequences of Burn Injuries
There are many consequences to suffering a burn, and all of them are very difficult. Depending on the depth and size of the burn, a person is going to feel pain and discomfort, especially early on in the healing process. A person’s skin may be damaged, even multiple layers of skin. As the burn heals, it may leave scars, ones that may disfigure or impair a person’s function. A person is more susceptible to infection because micro-organisms can more easily enter the body through the damaged skin. Infection can slow down the healing process.
If the burn is around joints, it can impair mobility as it heals because muscles, tendons and skin can tighten and shorten. This can make daily activities difficult.
Being burned can also have a profound effect on mental health and wellbeing. People may feel depressed, anxious, or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. And they may face long-term health consequences, including respiratory problems, lower immune function, or chronic pain.
Painful Signs of Burn Injuries
The symptoms of a burn will depend on severity or degree of the burn. People usually feel pain and often see blisters and swelling of the area. Their skin may peel. A more serious burn will make skin white or black (charred).
Possible Treatment Options after a Burn Injury
There are a wide variety of causes for burns, and a wide variety in severity, but certain treatments are true in all cases. Burns must be kept clean, and the right dressing or bandages must be applied. Treatment for pain is very important because inadequate pain control can be a roadblock to wound care. Burns need to be checked regularly for infection and for issues like scarring and tightening of the skin, especially over joints.
For First-degree Burns
Run cold water over the burn. No ice. For sunburns, aloe vera gel works. If you have a thermal burn, apply antibiotic ointment and cover it gently with gauze. Over-the-counter painkillers are appropriate.
For Second-degree Burns
The treatment for second-degree burns is similar to that of first-degree burns. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment that contains silver, like silver sulfadiazine, to prevent infection. Elevate the burn to reduce swelling.
For Third-degree Burns
These burns can threaten a person’s life. Treatment will include extra fluids (usually administered by IV) to help steady the blood pressure and to prevent shock and dehydration. Third-degree burns often require skin grafts, where the damaged tissue is replaced with healthy skin from an uninjured part of the person’s body.
Identifying Responsibility for Burn Injuries
Liability will depend on the circumstances, and the state the accident occurred in, but potentially there are third parties who could be held liable. If an individual was negligent, or acted intentionally to cause the burn, they could be held liable. If the injury happened on someone else’s property and if they were negligent about hazards like faulty wiring, they could be found liable.
An employer who didn’t maintain safety standards, didn’t train people properly, or didn’t fix hazardous situations could be found liable. A manufacturer who put a malfunctioning appliance or faulty chemical product on the market could be held liable under product liability laws. In cases where the burn injury occurred due to medical negligence during radiation therapy or in addressing a burn infection during treatment, a medical professional could be held liable.
Steps to Seek Compensation for Burn Injuries in New Jersey
You’ll need to take several steps if you want to seek compensation. First, you’ll need to gather evidence. This includes photos of your injury and of the accident scene. Document your visits to the doctor and keep your medical records and statements from witnesses handy.
With that documentation in hand, you’ll need to consult with a personal injury attorney, preferably one who regularly handles burn injury cases. If you consult with our burn injury lawyers, we can discern your case’s strength and advise you about any compensation you may be entitled to.
With our attorneys’ help, you can establish who exactly is liable for your injury. This may involve an investigation, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts. Then, we will need to add up the damages you’ve suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages or ability to earn, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and rehabilitation costs.
When you get to the negotiation phase, you will really need an attorney on our team to advocate for you and seek a fair settlement. If negotiations fail to produce a fair settlement, our trial lawyers may recommend taking the matter to court. Regardless of the best approach to getting maximum compensation, our legal team will guide you through the legal process.
What Types of Compensation Can I Obtain for Burn Injuries?
Most importantly, individuals seek reimbursement for their medical expenses, which may encompass the cost of medical care, hospital stays, surgical procedures, medicines, recovery, and physiotherapy. Secondly, if you missed work because of your injury, or now are experiencing a decreased ability to earn, or are unable to return to work, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages.
Third, the pain and suffering you’ve endured, including emotional distress, may lead to compensation. If you were disfigured or scarred, you may be compensated for changes to your appearance and related emotional distress. If you need physical or other therapies in order to adjust as you try to recover, compensation for these expenses may be won.
If the burn injury has affected your ability to participate in activities and enjoy life as you did before the injury, you may be eligible for compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life. Similarly, compensation may be sought for the loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of companionship, support, and intimacy.
If the responsible party’s behavior was intentionally or extremely careless, punitive damages may be granted to prevent such actions from happening again in the future.
Contact our Dedicated Burn Injury Lawyers to Delve into Your Compensation Options in New Jersey
An attorney is essential in the case of a burn injury caused by someone else’s negligence in New Jersey, as you or a loved one may be up against unrelenting insurance companies and defense lawyers who want to deny you the compensation you deserve. At our personal injury firm, our lawyers can help you gather evidence, find witnesses, and investigate the accident in order to strengthen your case so that you have the very best chance at a fair outcome. We can help discern who is at fault and seek the best way to get compensation for you. When adding up all the costs and expenses, both in dollars and in pain and suffering, that you’ve endured, our attorneys are skilled at not overlooking a thing.
We know how to negotiate with insurance companies and get the best settlement for your burn injuries in Point Pleasant, Brick, Neptune, Manasquan, Tinton Falls, Colts Neck, Middletown, Long Branch, Ocean Township, Red Bank, and neighboring communities. If a good settlement can’t be reached by negotiation, our trial lawyers will represent you in court and guide you through this process, which requires extensive forethought to navigate successfully.
Contact our New Jersey burn injury lawyers at (732) 303-7857 today for representation with knowledge, know-how, and experience. We’re standing by to help you!