Burn Injury Lawyers Representing People Injured in Chicago, Illinois
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people who have sustained life-altering burns due to accidents caused by others' negligence. Our Chicago burn attorneys have won cases for clients who were harmed by the negligent actions of property owners and by third parties in work-related accidents.
Our law firm is here to answer any legal questions on this topic, including how to receive monetary compensation if you were injured due to someone else's negligence. We invite you to contact our office for a free consultation so we can explain your legal rights during a consultation with a Chicago burn injury lawyer.
Burn Victims Face Unique Challenges
Burns are especially traumatic injuries because they can leave both physical and emotional scars that impact the quality of victims' lives forever. Should a burn be the result of a workplace accident, negligent property manager, or defective product design, victims might recover compensation for their injuries.
Insurance companies generally dislike having to pay substantial claims on behalf of their policyholders. So, it is not uncommon for burn victims to encounter resistance when seeking the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Burn Accident Injury FAQs
Are Burns the Most Painful Injury?
Severe burns can be some of life's most painful injuries any human can experience. Often, a severe burn requires ongoing wound care that could be more painful than the accident.
Medical professionals specializing in burn wounds treat burn victims in surgical units and burn centers. The journey to recovery can be incredibly long and require multiple surgeries, skin grafts, and other treatments to heal.
What Complications Might Result From a Burn Injury?
Widespread or deep burns anywhere on the body can create a host of health complications that require intense treatment and ongoing care. Some complications might involve a bacterial infection, sepsis (bloodstream infection), or hypothermia (shallow body temperature).
Some burn patients might develop hypovolemia (low blood volume) or the loss of body fluid. Others develop breathing problems during the burning event after inhaling smoke or hot air.
Is My Burn Infected or Healing?
Any severe burn about the size of the palm of the burn victim's hand will require your immediate medical attention to minimize potential infection. Within a day or two, the burned area could develop swelling or redness, foul odor, or oozing liquid from the wound.
The above symptoms might be the result of an infection, that if left untreated, could worsen over time. After the infection is under control, the doctor might decide to debride the wound by cutting away dead tissue that develops during the healing process.
What Happens if a Burn is Left Untreated?
Any moderate to severe burn requires immediate medical attention to avoid the development of a life-threatening infection. The doctor will evaluate the burned skin and likely prescribe pain medications and antibiotics, if necessary.
An untreated infection burn could lead to sepsis (blood poisoning), skin infection, or toxic shock syndrome. A severe burn left untreated could develop severe medical conditions that could be deadly.
Should I Cover a Burn?
Avoid using fluffy cotton to cover a burn that might not allow sufficient airflow to heal damaged skin. Instead, use sterile gauze bandages by loosely wrapping the gauze to minimize pressure on the damaged skin.
The bandage will protect blistered skin while reducing the burn victim's pain.
What Does the 2nd Degree Burn Look Like?
Partial-thickness burns (second-degree burns) damage the lower layers of skin (dermis) and the epidermis causing blistering, swelling, pain, and redness.
Severely burned skin (third-degree burns) damage the full thickness of the skin from the dermis to the deeper tissue. Full-thickness burns char the skin and produce a blackened or white appearance that might be numb to the touch.
Types of Burn Accident Claims and Their Causes
The statistics are sobering. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly half a million fires in 2017 occurred in building structures, with 72 percent of those in residential buildings.
There were 3,400 civilian fire deaths, with 77 percent of those deaths occurring in the home. However, our Chicago burn accident attorneys know that fires can happen just about anywhere, from an apartment complex to your workplace to a car accident while traveling on the highway.
If you have been burned from a fire or contact with a heated object, it is essential to know if your accident was due to another person's or a company's negligent actions.
Types of Burn Lawsuits our Chicago Burn Injury Attorneys Handle
Our personal injury lawyers are experienced with the physical pain and emotional trauma related to severe burn injuries related to accidents, workers' compensation, and even medical malpractice. We fight hard to prepare your case for the best possible outcome via settlement or trial. Many burn injury victims we represent throughout the United States requires immediate medical attention in cases that involve:
- Apartment complex fires
- Motor vehicle accident fires
- Explosion accidents
- Fires caused by poorly designed products, such as Pam Cooking Spray
- Burns and smoke inhalation resulting from victims being unable to leave the premises because of locked fire exits
- Chemical burns
- Thermal burns from scalding hot water or liquid
- Electrical burns on a construction site
The causes of burn injuries in the above examples often left the victims with permanent disfigurement and nerve damage. The severity of the burn is often crippling, creating permanent or temporary disabilities.
Types of Burn Injuries and Their Medical Treatment
Burns are among the most painful injuries and require specialized care because the skin contains a high density of nerves. A victim with severe burns might need a surgical skin graft followed by ongoing medical treatment that could cause additional pain.
Cosmetic surgery might be necessary to minimize the appearance of scars in situations where a burn results in scarring. According to the American Burn Association, physicians and medical experts categorize burns in four different degrees:
Just about everyone has experienced this mild type of burn at one time or another. These burns are considered superficial and damage only the top layer of skin, known as the epidermis.
First-degree burns are typically characterized by redness in the affected area, occasionally peeling skin, and moderate skin pain that subsides after 2 to 3 days. Sunburns, intense friction burns, electrical burns, burns from hot liquids, and non-blistering light burning on the skin are examples of common first-degree burn injuries.
In most instances, these burns clear up on their own and do not cause long-term tissue damage, but they can still be quite painful and may require medical treatment, primarily if they cover a large area. However, most first-degree burns can be treated at home with over-the-counter skin ointments and lotions, and ibuprofen or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for pain.
This burn causes considerable damage to both the skin's top layer and the layer underneath, known as the dermis. If the affected area is large, or the burn is on the delicate skin of the face, feet, hands, buttocks, or groin, it requires immediate medical help.
Second-degree burns are classified as either partial or full-thickness. Partial-thickness burns often involve the presence of blisters and wounds that tend to be red or pink, excruciating, and at times appear wet.
Complete healing usually requires up to twenty-one days without the need for grafting, with minimal scarring. Full-thickness burns tend to appear white or red, and dry.
The area usually has diminished sensation and will often need skin grafting or excision to heal completely. Burns three inches or less in diameter can be treated using over-the-counter products and cool running water.
If the area is sterilized, bandaged, kept clean, and monitored for signs of infection, most moderate burns will heal within a few weeks.
Third-degree burns cause significant deep tissue damage that usually requires surgical repair. It affects every layer of skin, including the epidermis, dermis, and the hypodermis, which is the bottom-most layer. These severe burns can also cause significant injuries to blood vessels, nerve endings, muscle tissue, and bones.
Common causes of 3rd-degree burns include fires and explosions; contact with scalding liquids, toxic chemicals or hot objects (such as radiators); and electrical sources. Nearly every 3rd-degree is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment from skilled healthcare professionals to ensure that the body does not lose critical fluids.
The most extreme burns often require hospitalization in a burn unit. As a full-thickness burn, 3rd-degree burns often result in blackened (charred) or white skin, where nerve endings become numb. Swelling often occurs along with eventual yellowing or browning of the skin.
These severe burn injuries can cause lifelong lasting injury and life-threatening infection. Because the damage is so severe, the healing process is extensive and painfully slow. Victims often suffer considerable scarring and require skin grafting and reconstruction surgery due to contracture (permanent tightening of tissue), which typically prevents normal body movement.
It is uncommon for anyone to experience a fourth-degree burn, usually caused by an electrical accident. This type of burn damages the skin, underlying tissue, bones, tendons, and muscles.
Because severe burns can have such a devastating effect on your health and quality of life, it is essential to consult a Chicago burn injury lawyer to protect your legal rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Apartment Buildings are the Source of Common Fire Hazards
One of the risks of apartment living is that despite being entirely responsible and taking all the precautions you can to avoid a fire, you may suffer consequences due to the actions of your landlord or neighbors. While apartment fires are often caused by tenant carelessness associated with cigarettes, stovetop cooking, and space heaters, improperly maintained buildings are also a significant cause.
According to NFPA, the great majority of home fires involving electrical malfunction can be traced to wiring issues and HVAC systems.
What is My Landlord Responsible for My Burns?
Building owners and managers in Chicago are responsible for taking the following fire-prevention measures as enumerated by the Chicago Municipal Code:
- Ensuring that the property is wired according to building code, as faulty electrical wiring can cause short circuits and fires that are difficult to contain
- Providing adequate smoke detectors inside units and maintaining smoke and fire detectors in common areas of the building, so residents have an adequate warning of fire
- Providing multiple exit paths that residents can use to reach safety in the event of a fire
- Keeping fire escapes and stairways free of clutter or blockage
- Providing and maintaining working fire extinguishers located in visible and accessible areas
- Providing fire-resistant doors in common areas of small residential buildings to contain the spread of fires
Property owners and managers must take every reasonable action to reduce the risk of fire for the safety of occupants and visitors. However, landlords often find it far more cost-effective to cut corners and neglect some of these duties, which is illegal.
Should a property owner fail to keep the building to code or provide a safe environment, anyone who is injured due to the negligent behavior has a right to recover compensation from the owner.
When landlords are in violation, and a fire occurs, they may wish to avoid being financially exposed. They will thus pressure or threaten injured victims into refraining from filing insurance claims to minimize their financial liability.
Malfunctioning Smoke Detectors Consistently Responsible for Serious Burn Accidents
Smoke detectors must be installed in the correct locations and operate correctly. NFPA recommends that all apartments be equipped with smoke detectors in each bedroom and just outside of bedrooms and on each level of a multi-level home.
Most local governments mandate at least one working smoke alarm in an apartment. Unfortunately, many fires that start in the kitchen go unnoticed for too long because the smoke detector does not go off or is not located in the vicinity of the kitchen.
Additionally, ionization smoke detectors—which are among the most commonly used— may not always detect smoke from slow-burning, smoldering fires until the fire has significantly progressed. Know where all the smoke alarms in your home are located and check them periodically to ensure they are operating.
Workplace Burn Injuries
Burn accidents occur in workplaces, especially if workers are required to operate powerful machinery or work in proximity to flammable materials. OSHA reports that there are over 5,000 injuries every year resulting from explosions or fires on the job.
While workers' compensation benefits provide for the payment of medical expenses and lost wages, injured workers are often denied financial compensation for pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, or scarring from the burns.
In such cases, their workers' comp benefits could be supplemented through a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party entity, the manufacturer of a defective product, or a subcontractor who acted negligently.
Burn Injuries Caused by Defective Products
Was the origin of the fire that caused your burn injuries a faulty product such as cooking equipment, heating, or other electrical items? If so, you could bring a product liability case against the maker, distributor, or retailer.
In product liability cases, you can sue anyone on the "chain of distribution." Any person or entity that played a part in its design, creation, or sale from the very beginning until when the product came into your possession.
Products liability actions generally have two claims:
- The design or manufacture of the product was defective, and that caused your injuries.
- The warnings or instructions that came with your product were defective, and that caused your injuries.
Product liability cases with burn injuries are very dependent on the specific facts of the individual case. They examine the design or creation of commercial goods and therefore require expert evidence or testimony, which can be expensive.
No matter what kind of product liability action you bring for your burn injuries, you must allege and prove the following elements:
- The product or product warning was defective
- You were reasonably using the product for the purpose for which it was intended
- You were injured while using the product
- The product defect caused the injury
Our Chicago burn injury attorneys can evaluate your case and determine whether the facts support bringing a legal action for product defects.
What Compensation can I Receive for My Burn Injuries?
Did another's misconduct burn you? If so, you can recover financial compensation for the medical costs, lost wages, damaged property, anguish, and incapacity resulting in Illinois law.
Below is an overview of the economic and non-economic compensation a burn injury attorney can recover for you in an Illinois lawsuit.
- Medical Expenses: The responsible party must pay all of your medical costs, including, but not limited to, surgeries, doctors' charges, medications, medical equipment, and long-term rehabilitative care.
- Loss of Income: If your ability to work has been partially or entirely diminished because of your burn injuries, then defendants must pay you an amount equal to what you would be earning if you could work.
- Property Damage: If the fire that burned you also damaged any of your property, then the wrongdoer is responsible for reimbursing these losses, including any damage to your home, personal property, or equipment.
- Pain and Suffering: Like many other accidents, burn injuries often also impart significant mental anguish and general pain and suffering. This intangible kind of harm is no less real to victims than physical scars.
- Disfigurement and Disability: One of the more immediate and visibly apparent consequences of burn injuries is the scarring, which fundamentally changes a person's appearance and damages their self-esteem and self-image as much as it does their skin. For this injury, and for any disability that accompanies it, defendants must pay, and you should recover.
How Long do I Have to File an Illinois Burn Injury Lawsuit?
Illinois gives victims of personal injury, including burns, two years to file their claims. (See 735 ILCS 5/13-202) The law says you have only two years to decide to file a civil lawsuit if you sustain a severe burn through the fault of another party.
Illinois law extends the filing deadline for minors injured in burn cases. The two-year window does not begin until you realize you have a case, but it still takes a lot of work to get a suit ready regardless of when the clock starts.
Therefore, it is critically important that you consult an attorney as soon as possible after an accident that burns you so that he or she can protect your future recovery should you decide to file an action. A lawyer will be able to tell you how the law applies to your circumstances.
Sample Illinois Burn Accident Lawsuits: Settlements and Verdicts
$18.2 MILLION SETTLEMENT, St. Clair County, IL
A 29-year-old woman was killed, and her husband severely burned when they drove a tractor-trailer on I-64 in Clinton County. They were struck by a vehicle that crossed the median, causing their truck to roll over burst into flames.
The 29-year-old husband suffered second and third-degree burn over nearly half of his body. He was in a coma for three months, and scarring left him with limited ability to work or walk.
He suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and racked up past medical bills totaling $2.2 million, with an estimated $1.3 million more in future medical expenses. The at-fault driver, who was killed in the crash, was in a rental car for work but was not acting in the course of his employment.
In a consolidated case, a St. Clair County judge awarded $37.5 million against the driver and a "men's" club that allegedly served him alcohol. A settlement was reached in which Travelers paid $18 million on the employer's insurance policies; Geico paid $50,000 on behalf of the driver's estate, and Colony paid $194,131 for the men's club.
$2 MILLION SETTLEMENT, Cook County, IL
A 33-year-old woman took a shower at her Arlington Heights condo when she was blasted with 152-degree water, causing fatal burns. She was survived by a husband and daughter who brought a wrongful death lawsuit.
Allegedly, the water heater had been set at dangerously high temperatures and had been improperly inspected. Travelers Insurance paid the settlement for the condo association and management company.
$12.9 MILLION SETTLEMENT, Cook County, IL
Three construction workers at an apartment complex in Willowbrook were severely burned when vapors from a mastic remover used to loosen carpet glue allegedly ignited by the pilot light of an older model A.O. Smith gas water heater. The device did not have a flame arrest device.
Four children survived one of the laborers who died from his burns ten days after the accident. A second victim suffered second and severe burns over seventy-five percent of his body and face, which caused severe injury and necessitated multiple surgeries, and left him unable to return to work.
The third man sustained second and third-degree burns over twenty-one percent of his body and face. His injuries caused continued neuropathic pain in his extremities and post-traumatic stress disorder. The victim resumed working with limitations.
The plaintiffs claimed that A.O. Smith was aware of the fire hazard and that the water heater was unreasonably dangerous because a safe, feasible alternative design was available at the time of manufacture in the early 2000s.
The property owner and manager allegedly failed to have the natural gas turned off to the apartment when the work started. The lawsuit stated that those responsible did not elevate the water heater on 18-inch stands to reduce the risk of flammable vapors reaching the pilot light.
A.O. Smith and insurers for Laramar Communities and Laramar Management paid a combined $12.5 million to the injured plaintiffs and the estate of the deceased worker. The distributor of the mastic remover contributed $450,000. The plaintiffs had previously settled with the manufacturer of the mastic remover for a total of $2.7 million.
$580,000 JURY AWARD, Cook County, IL
A 55-year-old woman sued a cosmetic laser clinic for burns she sustained after a laser procedure to remove age and sunspots on her hands and forearms. She contended the operator of the intense pulsed light machine failed to apply any gel between the hand-held device and her skin while performing the removal procedure, causing her to sustain 56 separate burns to her hands and forearms.
She mostly had first-degree burns and several second-degree burns that left permanent scars. The clinic's employee denied she failed to use gel during the spot removals.
Still, the plaintiff introduced evidence that the employee altered the signed consent form, lost the photographs taken before the spot removal procedure, and that many of the burns were in the shape of the hand-held device.
The jury deliberated approximately one hour and returned a verdict of $280,000 for past pain and suffering and $300,000 for past and future disfigurement.
$928,568 JURY AWARD, Cook County, IL
A 30-year-old attorney who suffered second- and third-degree burns attempting to get out of a tanning booth at a tanning salon sued the salon for failing to install and set up the booth properly.
A jury returned a verdict of $928,568 as compensation for medical bills, disfigurement, loss of everyday life, and pain and suffering. The award was reduced to $687,140, as required by Illinois law, because the woman was found to be 26 percent at fault for her injuries.
Where are the Leading Chicago Burn Injury Treatment Centers?
Chicago has some leading hospitals and doctors that specialize in treating patients with burns. The primary Chicagoland burn treatment facilities include:
The University of Chicago Medical Center
Burn & Complex Wound Center
5841 S. Maryland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
2160 S. First Ave.
Maywood, IL 60153
Cook County Hospital
Trauma & Burn Unit
1900 W. Polk St. Rm 1300
Chicago, IL 60612
Lurie Children's Hospital
225 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Put Our Chicago Burn Injury Lawyers to Work for You
Were you, or a loved one, burned in a fire, workplace accident, or any other accident caused by the reckless actions of another person? If so, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC might be able to help you.
Our personal injury attorneys have assisted thousands of people in the past. We are confident we can secure the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills, recover lost wages, account for out of pocket expenses, and more.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation for legal advice on how to handle your burn injury case. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Our experienced Chicago burn injury attorneys can investigate your accident case and discuss your legal rights and options in greater detail.
- Flammable Clothing
- Chemical Burn Accident
- Combustible Dust Explosions
- Electrical Burn Accidents
- Extension Cord Fires & Burns
- Extinguishing Household Fires
- First Degree Burns
- Hot Liquid Burn
- Hot Water Heater Explosion
- Natural Gas Explosion
- Pain Related to Burn Injuries
- Propane Explosion
- Second Degree Burns
- Steam / Water Burns
- Tanker Truck Explosions
- Thermal Burns
- Third Degree Burns
- Treatment for Burns
- Burn Injury Accident FAQs