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Washington DC Burn Injury FAQs

Q: What is a burn injury?

A: Burn injuries include damage to muscle, nerve tissue, and bones as well as the skin. The most common type of burn injury is a thermal burn, resulting from exposure to fire, scalding water, or hot objects, including the sun. Chemical burn injuries are another type of burn injury. There are four main types of burns: (1) Thermal burns – caused by contact with flames, steam, hot water or other hot liquids, and other sources of intense heat. (2) Light burns – caused by contact with sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet light. (3) Chemical burns – caused by contact with an acid or an alkali. (4) Radiation burns – caused by contact with nuclear radiation or ultraviolet light.

Q: How do I know if my burn is serious?

A: The severity of a burn injury will fall into one of three categories. First degree, second degree or third degree which is the most serious. A first degree burn happens when only the first layer of skin is burned. A first degree burn is characterized by reddened skin that will heal in approximately one week and may peel. A second degree burn happens when the first and second layer of skin is burned. A second degree burn is characterized by moist-looking skin and blisters. Lastly, a third degree burn happens when all layers of the skin are burned and the underlying tissue is damaged. A third degree burn is a serious injury and is characterized by a white or black dry wound. Permanent scarring is inevitable with third degree burns.

Q: Who can sue for a burn injury?

A: Anyone who is seriously burned as a direct result of some other person’s negligent act can sue for their injuries. This could include a burn that is caused when another individual is handling a material in a dangerous way and spills it on you, causing a burn. It could also be a claim against a person who is burned in a home fire caused by another’s carelessness. Another example is when person is burned because of the failure of a product that was meant to prevent a burn, such as a gas control valve whose safety shutoff future does not function properly leading to a gas explosion and severe burns. That could be the basis for making a claim. Claims have also been brought for chemical burns caused by one person misapplying chemicals such as a hair dye, which leads to the development of chemical burns.

Q: Who can be held responsible for a burn injury?

A: It all depends upon the facts of the particular accident. Sometimes it is the manufacturer of product, such as a gas control valve that has a safety shutoff valve that fails to operate properly. It also can be an individual such as a cosmetologist who misapplies chemicals on a customer causing chemical burns. It could also be a homeowner who is involved in some activity that causes a fire that leads to burns on a visitor to the home. If you were burned as a result of a defective product, for example, it may be possible to file suit against anyone involved in the commercial chain, from the designer and the manufacturer to the marketer of the product.

Q: Is it important to quickly investigate an accident, which results in a burn injury?

A: Yes. It is very important to investigate quickly. Usually the burn is accompanied by substantial damage of surrounding property. The property needs to be investigated quickly and thoroughly to determine what the cause or causes of the fire were so a further determination can be made as to whether there is an individual or product manufacturer that was responsible for the cause of the fire.

Q: What compensation may I be eligible for?

A: The amount of compensation you are entitled to recover depends on a variety of factors, but can include compensation for medical and rehabilitation costs, loss of wages, inhibited earning capacity, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. If a member of your family has died as a result of his or her burn injuries, your family may be able to obtain compensation for funerary costs as well as the loss of companionship and support.

Q: Do I need an attorney if I received my burn injury while on the job?

A: Even if your employer acknowledges that your burn injury occurred in the commission of your normal on-the-job duties, it is a good idea to hire an experienced attorney to investigate whether you have a personal injury case in addition to your worker’s compensation case. In some situations, you may be entitled to bring a personal injury claim for an unsafe product or as the result of the carelessness of another company or person other than your employer. It can be difficult to obtain workers’ compensation, especially in the amount needed to cover all of the expenses and losses resulting from your injury. A burn injury attorney may be able to identify liability in your case and work to ensure that you are properly compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.

Q: Do I need a burn injury lawyer?

A: Filing a lawsuit is a complicated process, and it can be costly and difficult to bring your case to a successful resolution unless you have a thorough understanding of the law and have extensive litigation experience. The attorneys at Bertram & Amell have been involved in significant burn injury case and will work diligently to assert your rights and improve your chances of obtaining the full compensation that you deserve.

If you have question or want more information please call 202-803-5800 or email us to learn more.

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