Burn injuries can be extremely painful and often lead to consequences like scarring and disfigurement. These injuries can result from motor vehicle accidents-but also from chemicals, defective products that malfunction, job site injuries, electrical accidents, and many more types of unexpected incidents.
Often, the most difficult thing about dealing with serious burn injuries is that, in many instances, they would not have happened had someone else not engaged in reckless, careless, or negligent actions. If you suffered a burn injury because of another person’s negligence in an accident, you might be in a position to file an insurance claim or lawsuit seeking damages.
Damages reimburse you for the losses you experienced as a result of your injury. The skilled team of St. Louis and Metro East burn injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can determine if you are eligible to file a claim, and if you are, we can assist you throughout the entire process. Our legal team can pursue all of the monetary compensation and damages that you deserve for your burn injury, as well as for any scarring or other lasting effects that result from your injury.
How Do Burn Injuries Typically Occur?
Burn injuries can occur during any serious accident.
Some of the most common types of accidents that can lead to one or more burn injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents – In a serious motor vehicle accident, a driver or passenger’s side airbag can deploy, causing the accident victim to suffer a burn to their skin. In addition, serious car accidents that occur at high rates of speed can start a fire in which the motor vehicle driver or passenger suffers a burn injury.
- Defective product malfunctions – When a defective product malfunctions and does not work the way it should (when the consumer uses it properly), the product can burn the consumer. At other times, product defects that result from faulty wiring can lead to an electrocution injury.
- Jobsite accidents – In many occupations, such as in the building and construction industries, employees must work around dangerous chemicals that can burn the worker, as well as heavy machinery that can malfunction, cause a fire, or otherwise injure the worker. Workers who are injured on the job while they are performing a job duty might be eligible to pursue a workers’ compensation claim for various benefits.
If you have experienced one of these types of accidents and you suffered a burn injury as a result, the experienced team of St. Louis burn injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can help. Our team can investigate how your accident occurred and can determine the potential avenues of monetary recovery available to you in your case. For example, you might be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party personal injury claim under certain circumstances.
Common Consequences of Burn Injuries
Individuals who suffer burn injuries while they are in an accident or while working on the job may need to undergo medical treatment. In addition to urgent care or emergency room treatment following the accident, the injured person might also need to undergo a painful medical procedure, such as surgery, to treat the burn injury.
Sometimes, these procedures are successful in treating the burn, but at other times, there are not. If the burn injury affects the arms, hands, or feet, it might prevent the person from working, taking care of themselves, and doing other activities that they are accustomed to doing.
Finally, burn injuries often lead to scarring. If the scar is visible, it can cause the accident victim to experience shame, humiliation, and embarrassment-especially when going out in public.
If you have suffered any of these consequences after sustaining a burn injury in an accident, you need skilled legal representation on your side. The knowledgeable St. Louis burn injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can help you recover the compensation that you need for all of these burn injury consequences in an attempt to make you whole again following your accident.
Filing a Negligence Claim Arising From a Burn Injury
Burn injuries sometimes occur when consumer products wind up being defective. The product can fall apart, explode, or electrocute a consumer, resulting in a painful and unsightly burn injury. Product manufacturers and distributors must make reasonably safe products. When their products malfunction and cause a consumer to suffer a burn injury, they can be held accountable.
Similarly, motor vehicle operators are responsible for operating their vehicles responsibly, safely, and carefully at all times. When they violate traffic laws (such as by failing to yield the right-of-way to another driver when it’s appropriate to do so) or break the speed limit-and an accident occurs in which the driver or passenger suffers a burn injury-then the accident victim can bring a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
As part of any negligence claim that arises from a defective product or a motor vehicle crash, the accident victim has the burden of proving all of the legal elements in the case. Specifically, the accident victim must show that the other party owed them a duty of care and violated that duty of care, resulting in the accident and injuries. In the event the burn injury victim can satisfy these legal elements, they can receive monetary compensation in the form of damages.
The claims process begins when the accident victim’s lawyer files a demand package and submits it to the at-fault person’s insurance company. The adjuster assigned to the claim will then review the demand package, evaluate it, and make an initial offer to settle. In making its offer, the adjuster should consider all of the accident victim’s medical treatment, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and permanency.
However, initial offers from settlement adjusters are often low, and the accident victim’s lawyer may need to continue negotiations with the adjuster going forward. Sometimes, the attorney may even need to file a lawsuit in the court system, after which settlement negotiations can continue. If the insurance company refuses to offer fair and full compensation, the case can come to a resolution at a jury trial, mediation proceeding, or arbitration hearing for a determination on damages.
If you are pursuing a third-party claim or lawsuit arising from negligence, you might be eligible to recover various types of damages for your burn injury. The damages that you will recover depend upon certain factors, including the severity of your burn injury, the type and cost of the medical treatment that you received for your injury, and whether or not you suffered some type of scarring, disfigurement, or permanency as a result of the burn injury.
Potential damages that you can recover in a negligence case arising from a burn injury include the cost of your medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, you can file a claim for noneconomic damages to recover compensation for any permanent disability, disfigurement, loss of use of a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, mental distress, emotional anguish, or loss of earning capacity that you suffered.
The knowledgeable St. Louis burn injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can determine your eligibility for all of these types of damages and will work hard to maximize the compensation that you recover in your burn injury case.
The Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Claim Arising From a Burn Injury
Individuals who have suffered a burn injury in an accident do not have unlimited time to file a claim or lawsuit arising from their injury. Specifically, in the State of Missouri, victims of burn injuries (and other injuries) only have a period of five years from the date of their accident in which to file a lawsuit.
If no one files the claim or lawsuit within five years, the defendant’s attorney will likely file a motion to dismiss the case, and the court will grant it. Therefore, the accident victim will not be eligible to pursue monetary damages or other compensation at any point in the future for their injuries. The statute of limitations ensures that memories remain fresh and witnesses to the incident remain available if the case needs to go to trial.
Given the relatively short timeframe in which to file a claim or lawsuit arising from a burn injury, you must have skilled legal representation in your corner every step of the way after you suffer your injury. The earlier that an attorney gets involved in your case, the better off you will be. The knowledgeable and experienced St. Louis burn injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can evaluate your case and ensure that a claim or lawsuit is filed well within the statutory timeframe.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Burn Injury Sustained While on the Job
When construction workers, builders, factory workers, and others suffer burn injuries while they are on the job, they might be eligible to bring a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. For a person to be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits for a burn injury, the accident victim must have suffered the burn injury while they were working within the scope of their employment.
Only employees can file a workers’ compensation claim. Independent contractors are not eligible for these benefits. In addition, workers’ compensation benefits are available without regard to who or what caused the accident that led to the burn injury.
As part of a workers’ compensation claim, an accident victim can pursue and recover various types of benefits, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and in some instances, benefits for a permanent injury. To recover permanency benefits, a qualified medical provider must determine that the burn injury is permanent or that it resulted in some type of disfigurement or scarring.
In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker might also file a third-party claim arising from their burn injury. Although the worker cannot sue their employer directly, the worker can file a claim against the manufacturer of a defective product or an at-fault motor vehicle driver who caused the accident that led to the burn injury.
If you have suffered your burn injury while you were on the job, a knowledgeable St. Louis burn injury attorney at Dixon Injury Firm can determine your legal options. Specifically, we can help you determine whether you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a third-party claim against an at-fault individual. In either case, we will zealously advocate for your rights and pursue the benefits and other compensation that you deserve.
You want a legal team that knows how to maximize your compensation, and you should look no further than our firm if you are in the St. Louis or Metro East areas and you suffered serious harm and losses.
St. Louis Burn Injury FAQs
Burn injuries stand alone as some of the most dangerous, painful, and terrifying injuries you can endure. Burn injuries are very common to traffic accidents of all kinds, and if someone else’s negligence causes you to suffer a serious burn injury, it can be life-altering. The dedicated burn injury attorneys at The Dixon Injury Firm-who take great pride in serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas-are standing by to help. We have a wealth of experience helping clients like you obtain the compensation to which they are entitled, and we’re here for you, too. Someone else’s negligence has harmed you, but you are not alone-we have the legal insight and drive to help.
Where are some of the injury risks in St. Louis
St. Louis is a major metropolitan area with plenty of things going on. Unfortunately, this very fact makes it no stranger to the dangerous accidents that are often responsible for serious burn injuries. Some of the more notable attractions in St. Louis include:
- The 630-foot Gateway Arch
- Busch Stadium, home the St. Louis Cardinals
- Union Station (once one of the world’s largest train passenger terminals and now a major shopping mall)
- Forest Park (one of the nation’s largest urban parks and host to tens of millions of visitors each year)
- Citygarden, which offers fresh air and a unique modern art experience
The city and its surrounding suburbs boast a vibrant dining and entertainment scene. Between the Central West End, the University City Loop, South Grand, and various other neighborhoods, you can find plenty to do every night of the week. This vibrancy also regularly subjects people to serious, preventable injuries.
What accidents are most likely to cause serious burn injuries?
Traffic accidents are one of the primary causes of serious burn injuries. The energy generated in any of the following types of traffic accidents can lead to burning heat and/or flames that vehicle occupants can be exposed to in the course of an accident. In addition, motor vehicle accidents can also result in explosions, which can also cause serious burn injuries.
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bike accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
Burn accidents, however, do not end here. Construction workers are also very vulnerable to burn injuries on the job, and poorly maintained commercial and residential properties can also lead to life-threatening burn injuries. For example, a landlord who fails to maintain a building’s electrical system can put everyone inside at risk.
How common are serious burn injuries?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) share exactly how dangerous burns are with the following statistics (culled over the years from various sources): In the United States, more than one million burn injuries require medical attention each year.
- About 50,000 of these injuries require hospitalization.
- About 4,500 of these injuries ultimately prove fatal.
- About 20,000 of these injuries cover at least 25 percent of their victims’ total body surfaces.
- Every year, up to 10,000 people die from burn-related infections.
What about burn injuries on construction sites?
Construction work is one of the most dangerous occupations. Statistics from an article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine highlight exactly how prevalent burn injuries are on the job:
- The construction industry was one of the business sectors with the highest rates of occupational burns.
- The construction industry accounted for nearly half of all electrical burns.
- Radiation burns constituted 42 percent of burn injuries on construction sites.
- A study found that burn injuries on construction sites that required treatment in emergency rooms were not declining, and a downward trend in the industry has not appeared.
Why are burns so dangerous?
Serious burns can cause damage far below your skin’s surface. In fact, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the affected area can all suffer damage. And if the injury is very serious, the underlying bone and even your blood can be affected. Burns are also highly susceptible to infections that can be difficult to treat and ultimately lead to death. In addition to being exceptionally painful and slow to heal, burns can lead to secondary health concerns as they heal. One such complication is that, as the skin and underlying damage go through the healing process, the skin thickens and constricts and can cut off circulation in that area of the body. When the burn encircles the victim’s chest, it can interfere with breathing ability. Finally, a burn on or near the victim’s face or neck can be permanently disfiguring.
What physical, financial, and emotional losses are common to burn injuries?
Suppose you have suffered a burn injury due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, the losses (or legal damages) you experience can be overwhelming and ongoing. Address them in your burn injury claim. By working with an experienced attorney in St. Louis, you can rest assured that your claim will identify all of your compensable losses and include supporting documentation to support your demand.
The medical bills associated with serious burn injuries tend to be immense-and they may extend far into your future as you move through the lengthy healing process and address secondary health concerns along the way. Consider all the common expenses:
- Emergency care at the scene of the accident and emergency transportation from the accident scene
- Surgical care, which may include plastic surgery, and medical follow-up
- Hospital stays
- Medical tests, procedures, and treatments
- Pain management
- Medical care from doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Home health care
- Assistance with the activities of daily living
- Adaptive physical devices
A serious burn can keep you off the job for a considerable amount of time, and it may stop you from returning to work at all. While you are recovering, you’re likely to experience a significant decline in earnings (just when you are facing mounting medical expenses). Your earning potential can also be affected, and because our careers are often closely tied to our overall sense of well-being, you may experience significant emotional setbacks.
Emotional and Physical Pain and Suffering
As mentioned, burns are exceptionally painful injuries, and the physical and emotional suffering you endure can be immense. Many victims of the terrifying accidents that are associated with burn injuries experience these emotionally crippling PTSD-like symptoms:
- Increased anxiety and panic attacks
- Bouts of depression
- Severe mood swings
- A shift in personality
- Increased irritability
- Sleep disturbances that can include nightmares, night terrors, and/or insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty connecting with others
- A tendency to self-isolate
- Emotional lability
- Terrifying accident flashbacks
- Difficulty taking the steps necessary to recover to the fullest extent possible
Unfortunately, these psychological consequences can distance the victim from their loved ones, family members, and others in their support system exactly when needed most.
What if I can’t afford a burn injury attorney?
Many people who have suffered serious burns due to someone else’s negligence are concerned about the cost of hiring an experienced burn injury attorney. Thankfully, you can retain a lawyer without having to spend any money up-front. Most reputable burn injury attorneys-including ours-work on a contingency basis. When attorneys work on contingency, their pay depends on the settlement or court award you receive. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t owe your attorney anything. In other words, there is no financial risk associated with retaining an experienced St. Louis burn injury lawyer to represent you.
Do I need a burn injury attorney?
The surest way to protect your claim-and thus to advance your recovery-is with a seasoned St. Louis burn injury attorney in your corner. Burn injury claims are complicated, and because your recovery is paramount, proceeding with professional legal counsel on your side is always well advised. Your burn injury attorney can assist you by:
- Gathering all evidence relevant to your claim and building your strongest claim
- Negotiating with the insurance company on behalf of your claim’s most favorable resolution
- Preparing to go to trial (in the event the insurance company refuses to negotiate fair terms)
- Hiring expert witnesses in support of your claim
- Rooting out any unfair dealings on the part of the insurance company and addressing the issues head-on
- Helping you make the right decisions for you throughout the legal process
While your attorney builds and guides your claim toward a settlement that addresses your physical, financial, and emotional losses in their entirety, you’ll have the time and space you need to focus on your recovery.
Why won’t the insurance company simply cover my losses fairly?
Many burn victims assume that the at-fault party’s insurance provider will simply swoop in and cover the losses they’ve experienced as a matter of fair business dealings, but the matter is not this simple. The insurance company handling your claim is in the business of making a lot of money, and the only way to continue doing so is by paying out as little as possible when it comes to claims like yours. There are many tactics that insurance companies may use to pressure you to settle for less, the most common of which we describe in the material below.
Denying Your Claim from the Get-Go
If the insurance company is feeling lucky, it may simply deny your claim outright regardless of its strength. They hope that you-like many other claimants before you-will simply give up. However, your health and recovery are too important not to fight for your claim’s best possible conclusion.
Making an Early but Low Settlement Offer
If the insurance company handling your claim comes back quickly with a settlement offer, you may feel tempted to take it and move on – and the insurance company is counting on this reaction. This response from the insurance company is almost certainly an attempt to settle your claim before you have time to recognize the full extent of your damages. Accepting a settlement out of financial desperation can leave you with immense losses that go uncovered, which can not only lead to financial ruin but can also hinder your ability to recover fully.
Prolonging the Claims Process
The personal injury claims process is plenty complicated and lengthy enough, and when insurance companies choose to make it more so, it’s generally a blatant bid to squeeze claimants like you into accepting settlements that are less than adequate. Unfortunately, this less-than-scrupulous tactic can be highly effective. The law prohibits artificially extending the claims process, and your burn injury attorney will hold the involved insurance company to them while assertively negotiating for a fair settlement.
The insurance company may pour considerable effort into shifting fault in the claim away from its shareholder and toward you (the injured claimant). While many burn victims are alarmed by this brand of attack and feel pressured to give up, you shouldn’t be one of them. You have rights that are worth protecting, and your skilled burn injury lawyer has the know-how to protect them. The fact of the matter is that, even if you share responsibility for the accident that leaves you injured, it does not bar you from going after the percentage of responsibility that the other party bears.
Denying the Severity of Your Damages
The insurance company may cast doubt on the seriousness of your injuries as claimed. Standing by your claim and allowing your burn injury attorney to defend the losses represented therein is the best way to counteract this bid to keep your settlement lower than it should be.
Reach out to an Experienced St. Louis Burn Injury Attorney Today
Burn injuries are as serious as they are painful. If you suffered one because of someone else’s negligence, the trusted burn injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm are committed to advocating for your claim’s most favorable outcome. We work with clients throughout St. Louis and the Metro East. We’re on your side and here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (314) 208-2808 for more information today.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132
I highly recommend Chris Dixon to anyone dealing with a personal injury case. He was there every step of the way, he was prompt and easy to get a hold of at any time during this process. He is very educated and highly skilled in his field and helped me receive the best medical attention possible. If you’re looking for the best personal injury in St. Louis, look no further. Chris Dixon, in my eyes, is the best!
– Ryan B.