Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people with burn injuries suffered in accidents such as explosions, motor vehicle collisions, building fires, work-related accidents and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has collected a series of burn accident FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of an accident involving burns. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Direct exposure to hot surfaces, open flames, and excessive heat can cause first, second and third-degree burns that all require immediate care or medical attention. If scar tissue develops in a mild to moderate burn, it can take up to three years to heal completely, although wearing a specialized orthros or pressure garment could shorten healing time.
The Burn Injury Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have represented clients who have suffered devastating, painful burn injuries. We fight aggressively on their behalf to ensure they receive for monetary recovery to minimize the financial burden of their healing process, so they can quickly move on with their life. Our legal team has assembled the comprehensive list of the most common burn injury frequently asked questions and provided the answers below.
Why are Burns so Painful?
All burns, from mild to intensive, produce specific levels of pain that can range from tolerable to excruciating. The agony, ache, and discomfort can be exacerbated during wound cleansing, rehabilitation, and dressing changes. The burn doctor will attempt to treat the patient's pain levels by controlling their discomfort through methadone or morphine IV injections for acute pain and oral medications to treat tolerable pain.
Why Does the Burned Area Itch?
The itching tingling sensation that occurs during the healing process is an indicator that the nerves had begun to regrow or that the skin area is under repair and has dried out from a lack of natural oil production. The burn might have destroyed or damaged the skin oil glands that may take weeks, months or even years to repair fully. Applying lotion to the burned area up to six times every day can minimize the desire to scratch the itch. Consider wearing pressure garments and avoid any activity or drinking alcohol that causes perspiration. Your doctor may prescribe anti-itch drugs to minimize or discomfort.
Why has the Burn Site Developed Blisters and Open Areas?
During the healing process of burned skin, the epidermis layers have not yet reattached to the deeper skin layers. The fragility of the new growing skin might create a blister, tear or opened area. A blister is a frequent problem that is often remedied using a skin graft to ensure the skin repairs as normally as possible.
Is the Donor Tissue Graft Over my Burned Area Supposed to Scar?
The donor skin will never grow as dense or thick as your normal skin. The thin components of donor skin tend to create scar tissue or a noticeable discoloration when compared to your healthy pigmented skin.
My Burned Skin Feels Tight. How Long Will That Last?
Tight skin over the burned area can be especially challenging if it extends over an elbow, knee, ankle, wrist or another joint. The limited range of motion you experience with burned skin could be permanent if the new growing skin fails to stretch while it matures during the healing phase. Your doctor may recommend anti-contracture positioning to minimize skin tightness that might require you where plastic orthros devices 24 hours a day.
I Burned my Legs. Why Does my Doctor Make me Walk so Much?
Your doctor likely told you that encouraging the flow of blood and improving circulation in your legs will ensure that your wound heals much faster than without exercise. Daily exercise can avoid many of the common complications associated with severe burn injuries including the development of deep main thrombosis (DVT - leg-associated blood clots) and contractures. Walking will improve your complete recovery especially at the burn site.
Should I be Worried That I Could Develop Skin Cancer at my Burn Site?
Probably not if the burn area is receiving appropriate care. A neglected burn site can quickly develop chronic ulceration that in some rare cases can cause Marjolin's Ulcer, a fatally malignant condition that develops on neglected scar tissue with associated recurrent ulcerations.
Will the Dark Spots that Developed on my Burned Skin be Permanent?
If your doctor prescribed silver sulfadiazine when the burn first occurred, it could turn the skin black as the cream oxidizes. That said, the blackened pigment will not remain in the newly healed skin but could cause a temporary discoloration while using the cream. During the newly forming skin maturation process, the body will develop melanocytes that will allow the normal color pigment to return. However, individuals of Mediterranean and Asian descent have only a minimal amount of skin pigment and are at greater risk of permanent dark skin discoloration at the burn site after the healing process is complete.
How are the Different Degrees of Burns Categorized?
According to the US National Institutes of Health, physicians and medical experts categorize burns in four different degrees including:
- First-Degree Burn – This burn is considered superficial and damages only the outermost skin layers.
- Second-Degree Burn – This burn causes considerable damage to the skin's outer layer and layers just under the skin.
- Third-Degree Burn – This level of burn causes significant deep tissue damage that usually requires surgical repair.
- Fourth-Degree Burn – It is uncommon for anyone to experience a fourth-degree burn caused by an electrical accident. This type of burn damages skin, underlying tissue, bones, tendons, and muscles.
My Burn Injury was not my Fault. Can I File a Lawsuit Against Those Responsible?
If you can prove that your burn injury is the result of someone else's negligence, intentional act, or reckless behavior, you likely have the right to seek compensation to recover your damages. You may be able to prove that your burn was caused when others handled materials improperly or dangerously that led to your injury. You could file a claim if a fire started by another's negligence caused your injuries or a faulty gas control valve failed to safely shut off which led to an explosion that resulted in your damages.
Who do I Hold Responsible for Causing my Burn Injury?
Identifying defendants in a burn injury compensation lawsuit might not be obvious. An attorney working on your behalf can review your case and identify the specific facts of the event that led to your injuries. In many cases, it is not just a reckless or negligent action that led to the event, but a malfunctioning product or faulty equipment that caused the accident. That said, there may be multiple defendants in your case including a property owner, equipment manufacturer, machinery installer, gas company, electrical company, or others.
What Happens if I am Partially at Fault for Causing my Accident?
Some circumstances might preclude you from filing legal action against others to receive compensation. If your portion of responsibility for causing the accident is less or equal to any other party involved in your lawsuit, you can still seek legal action. An attorney evaluating your case can help identify your level of responsibility and provide numerous options on how to proceed.
What Happens if the Person at Fault has no Money to Pay my Damages?
Most commercial enterprises and property owners, including homeowners and renters, maintain liability insurance. It is extremely rare that the individual who caused the accident will pay the damages. Instead, the funds are provided by the insurance policy that is either paid out through a jury trial award or a negotiated out of court settlement.
What Happened is Obvious. Why Does my Attorney Need Hire Experts to Prove my Case?
To successfully resolve most burn cases, the attorneys need to hire expert professionals to provide testimony at trial or in depositions. While it might be obvious what happened in your case, proving who is responsible is an essential component of developing your case. By law, you will need to prove how a negligent or intentional act directly caused your injuries and identify who committed the irresponsible, reckless or negligent act.
Expert witnesses can provide the necessary testimonial need to prove a case based on their specialized field of knowledge. These professional witnesses could be a gas expert, building expert, or investigator. A medical professional can explain the extent of your injuries and why you need so much monetary compensation to recover from your injuries or maintain your normal activities now that you have been injured.
What can I Expect to Receive as Compensation?
Your attorney will build a case that seeks monetary recovery of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include:
- Past, ongoing and future medical expenses to treat your injuries
- Unearned wages lost due to your burn injuries
- Loss of future earning capacity due to your permanent or temporary disabilities
- Monetary compensation to pay for future out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injuries
Non-economic damages include:
- Monetary compensation to pay for past, current and future pain, disfigurement, suffering, disability and emotional harm now and in the future.
- Funds to pay for psychological, mental and emotional damage now and in the future while you deal with your life-altering changes associated with the accident.
Can I Wait to File a Claim for Compensation?
Probably not. The state statute of limitations restricts the length of time you can file a claim for compensation. Based on your specific circumstances, you may have only two years or less to file a claim against any defendants at fault for causing your damages. However, an attorney can provide legal advice and calculate the length of time you have until the statute expires based on the unique aspects of your case. There is more than one statute of limitation that could apply to your case based on the facts surrounding a potential claim.
Why can't I File a Compensation Claim or Lawsuit Without an Attorney?
You likely can. However, state civil tort law involving personal injury and wrongful death cases can be extremely complex. Because of that, many individuals hire personal injury attorneys to handle the case. A lawyer can ensure that all necessary documents and paperwork are filed in the appropriate county courthouse before the statute of buyers. Also, the law firm working on your behalf will gather evidence, conduct an in-house investigation, speak to eyewitnesses, review medical records, hire experts, and discuss your case with the defendant's attorneys to resolve the claim amicably.
Handling the case without an attorney might cost you more in the end. It is true that your attorney will be paid a specific percentage of the funds the jury award you or through negotiation. However, the law firm has an incentive to ensure you receive as much as possible.
But I do not Think I Have Enough Money to Hire a Lawyer?
Fortunately, the burn injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers accept all personal injury claims, wrongful death lawsuits, and burn injury compensation claims through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement postpones the payment of all your legal services until after we have successfully resolved your case through a negotiated settlement or a jury trial award. Additionally, we provide every potential client an initial, no-obligation consultation at no charge.
If you are ready to take the first legal step following a burn suffered in an accident, we urge you to contact our law offices today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. All information you share with our law offices will remain confidential.