Atlanta Burn Injury Lawyers
Burns are some of the most damaging types of injuries. Burns can affect the superficial and deep layers of tissues, as well as the underlying muscles and tendons. Severe burns can lead to scarring, disfigurement, and amputations – not to mention significant emotional damage. If someone else’s mistake or carelessness led you to sustain bad burns, you may be eligible for financial recovery. This recovery can compensate you for medical bills, physical pain, and emotional suffering. The Atlanta and Columbus burn injury attorneys at Butler Prather LLP can help with your burn injury case in Georgia. Call today at (404) 321-1700.
Burns From Negligence
Burns happen most often in the home. Accidentally touching a scalding pan or getting a mild steam burn while cooking might not be grounds to sue anyone, but an incident like a product defect could be. Product defects that lead to electrical, chemical, thermal, or radiation burns may come with the opportunity to bring a claim against the item’s manufacturer. Household items such as hot water heaters, electrical appliances, and chemical cleaners can all lead to serious burn injuries. In these cases, an Atlanta product liability lawyer could help you fight for compensation.
Another common circumstance that leads to burn injuries is a car accident in Atlanta, GA. Crashes can cause significant burns on victims in the event of a car fire. In these cases, burn victims could potentially bring claims against the at-fault driver or a third party. The workplace is another frequent setting for burn injuries. Employees who have to handle electricity, hazardous chemicals, or explosion risks like oil and gas industry equipment, are at high risk for burns in the workplace. Before you file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, explore your opportunities with the civil courts. If the incident involved negligence, you could receive more in a personal injury lawsuit.
Sadly, some burn injuries result in wrongful death. Fatal third-degree burns can occur in numerous circumstances. Most burn-related deaths do not stem from the burn itself, but complications that arise from this type of injury. Shock, infection, sepsis, respiratory failure, lack of oxygen to the brain, and hypothermia are all common causes of death following bad burns. If a loved one passes away from complications of a burn, you may be able to file an Atlanta wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased and your surviving family members.
Why Should I Pursue a Personal Injury Claim for a Burn?
Even if a burn doesn’t result in death, it often leaves behind permanent scarring. Burn survivors commonly have to undergo multiple surgeries, therapies, skin grafts, and rehabilitation sessions to get back to “normal” – typically a new normal that isn’t the same as before the accident. Burn injury recovery can be incredibly expensive due to extended hospital stays and numerous treatments. Burn survivors can lose thousands of dollars in missed time at work. Those with permanent disabilities will never be able to resume their old careers.
How Much Compensation Can I Get from an Atlanta Burn Injury?
After a burn injury in Atlanta, you may likely wonder how much a personal injury claim could be worth. At Butler Prather LLP, our Atlanta burn injury lawyers can assess your injuries, listen to what happened, and give you an accurate idea of the possible value of your case. We base case worth on many different factors, including the severity of your burns, cost of medical care, and time missed from work. You could be eligible to recover the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical costs. Burn injuries can cost victims and their families thousands of dollars in medical bills. Seek recovery for hospital stays, surgeries, skin grafts, medications, therapies, rehabilitation, medical devices, and live-in nurses for the duration of treatment and recovery.
- Lost wages/lost capacity to earn. The majority of burn injury survivors have to miss work for days, weeks, or longer during treatment and recovery. You can seek restitution for all lost wages, as well as future lost earnings if you have a permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering. Burns can be traumatic, painful, and permanently damaging injuries – inflicting a great deal of emotional suffering and physical pain on the victim. The Georgia courts permit plaintiffs to seek recovery for these intangible damages, in an amount the jury will decide after hearing the victim’s story.
- Punitive damages. A judge may award additional punitive damages if compensatory damages aren’t adequate to make up for serious losses, or if a defendant’s actions were intentional, malicious, wanton, or grossly negligent. Georgia has a punitive damage cap of $250,000, except in product liability claims or intentional torts.
- Wrongful death damages. As the surviving family member of someone who passed away from his/her burn injuries, you could be eligible to receive lost inheritance, loss of consortium, funeral and burial costs, mental anguish, and other damages for your family and the deceased person’s estate.
How Long Can I Pursue a Burn Injury Claim in Georgia?
According to the laws in Atlanta, GA the statute of limitations for a Georgia personal injury case is 2 years, and this begins from the date of the injury in question. This timeframe applies to wrongful death cases as well. There are special circumstances where you can go past the 2 year mark, but generally speaking, your case would be void after that period of time. Because of this, it’s important to not delay your case if you are the plaintiff. Get our experienced Atlanta, GA burn injury lawyers to help you quickly file your claim.
What Are Some Statistics About Burn Injuries?
Burns are surprisingly common injuries in the United States. The American Burn Association recorded 486,000 burn injuries that received medical attention in 2016. There were 40,000 hospitalizations related to burns the same years. The vast majority (73%) of serious burn injuries in 2016 occurred at home. “Occupational” accounted for 8%, “street/highway” for 5%, and “recreational/sport” 5%.
House fires are main perpetrators of burn injuries in Georgia and around the country. In 2017, one person died in Georgia home fires, and 85 people died in home fires around the country. House fires can start because of unattended cooking equipment, faulty appliances, old or frayed electrical wires, and candles. Scalds from hot liquids, house fires, and flammable liquids and gases are the most common causes of serious burn injuries.
What Degree is my Burn Injury?
Burns can be extremely painful, causing swelling, stinging, and blistering of the superficial dermal tissues and deeper layers. Damage to the underlying flesh, tendons, and muscles can occur in the most serious burns. The victim can go into shock and even die from these injuries. Recognizing the three degrees of burns and their symptoms can help you know when to go the hospital. The three degrees of burns are as follows:
#1. First-degree Burns
These type of burns damage the outermost layer of the skin. They do not affect the deeper tissues or muscles. First-degree burns are the mildest, but can still cause reddening of the skin and pain. You will not see blistering with this type of burn. You typically do not need to go to the hospital to treat minor burns, unless it affects an area of skin larger than three inches or if it’s on your face or a major joint.
#2. Second-degree Burns
This level of burns can cause blisters, redness, and soreness. They affect the outermost layer of the skin and the second layer. You might want to visit a doctor for second-degree burns because there is a greater risk of infection. You need proper antibiotics and bandaging to help prevent infection. Second-degree burns typically won’t leave scars, but they may affect skin pigmentation.
#3. Third-degree Burns
This is the most serious type of burn injury and can destroy the deepest layers of the skin and the underlying muscle. You may not experience any kind of pain with these burns since they can damage the nerves. You may notice your skin turns a white color or looks charred. Third-degree burns often require surgery to prevent severe scarring. Call 911 immediately if you have this type of burn.
What Are Burn Injury Phases?
In addition to burn injury degrees, victims should know about burn injury phases. Burn phases are important because they can decide on burn management and how to properly treat the injury. Severe burns don’t only affect the skin or dermal tissues – they can impact all the organs, as well. Learning the phases of a burn injury can help caretakers know which organs the burn may affect, and how to treat accordingly. Unlike degrees, there are only two burn phases:
- Ebb. The “ebb” phase of a burn comes first. It is the burn shock phase, in which the burned area loses intravascular fluids and plasma. The ebb phase can occur in the first 48 hours after a burn injury, or sometimes longer. During ebb, a burn can impair the passage of fluid through tissue and organ circulatory systems – causing fluid loss and a decrease in red blood cells. The treatment goal in this phase should be to preserve circulation by adding clear fluids to the intravascular system.
- Flow. The “flow” burn phase happens about 48 to 72 hours after a severe burn injury. During flow, a burn causes enhanced cardiac output and blood flow to the organs, due to greater oxygen intake and carbon dioxide production. This rush of blood to the organs (mainly the kidney, liver, and skin) combined with lower systemic vascular resistance could cause pulmonary edema or hyperglycemia.
The ebb and flow phases of a burn injury can cause many major, life-threatening complications, even if the individual survives the burn itself. The most common complications of a burn injury are shock, blood loss, and infections such as tetanus. Low body temperatures relating to a burn could also cause hypothermia, while losing too much blood could cause hypovolemia. As you can see, prompt medical care is vital to properly treat a burn injury and prevent possible complications.
Burn Injury Depths
The “depth,” or thickness, of a burn injury refers to how deeply into the tissues the burn impacted. The greater the depth of tissue damage, the more severe the burn. Determining the depth will help inform a prognosis in terms of wound healing time and the possibility of permanent damage. A main indicator of burn injury depth is the speed of capillary refill when someone presses on the burn. There are five different tissue damage depths in a burn injury:
- Epidermal. These burns only affect the outermost layer of the skin. The epidermis remains intact (unbroken). First-degree burns have epidermal depth.
- Superficial-dermal partial thickness. These may be moist and have oozing blisters, such as most second-degree burns.
- Mid-dermal partial thickness. These are similar to superficial-dermal, but slightly more severe. They can affect the top- to mid-level dermis and cause blisters.
- Deep-dermal partial thickness. These burns can be moist or dry with a white, pink, or red appearance. Blisters are easily unroofed, or rather the tops easily peel away.
- Full thickness. These are the most serious types of burns, and they affect the dermis as well as underlying fascia, muscle, and bones. These burns are life-threatening.
Physicians can generally assess a deep partial thickness or full thickness burn right away due to the severity of the wound. Intermediate-thickness burns, however, can be difficult to assess and classify until at least 48 hours after the injury occurs. Most burn wounds have different depths of damage in different places, making them even more difficult to assess. Epidermal to mid-dermal depths generally won’t have permanent complications, but deeper levels can affect a burn survivor for life.
What are the Different Sources of Burn Injuries?
Burns come in four different types:
- Thermal burn
- Electrical burn
- Radiation burn
- Chemical burn
The symptoms and treatments for burns will depend on the type. Electrical burns, for example, might not show outer signs of damage, but can severely damage the body internally. After any kind of burn, shock, or ingestion of harsh chemicals, go to the hospital. Prompt treatment can help prevent permanent scarring, disfigurement, and infections. You need professional help to treat your specific type and degree of burn.
Atlanta Burn Injury Attorneys – Free Consultations!
A personal injury lawsuit aims to compensate burn victims for all of these losses and more. With help from the Atlanta, GA personal injury lawyers at Butler Prather LLP, your injury lawsuit doesn’t have to be daunting. Our exceptional legal team will take care of the red tape for you. We can easily navigate Georgia’s civil legal system, maximizing compensation for catastrophic burn injuries. For a free consultation to discuss your recent incident, contact our team today. Call us today at (404) 321-1700.