Many different legal theories can be used to recover if you have wrongfully suffered burn injuries but the most common are 1) intentional torts 2) negligence and 3) products liability.
The makeup of your burn injury case will depend on the type of lawsuit that you file. Here is a description of the most likely kinds of suits that emerge from fire incidents.
Intentional Tort Cases For Burn Injuries
Many fires start on purpose when someone lights a residential building, commercial building, or something else. When suing someone for an intentional tort, such as battery, trespass , property damage, you have to show that their intentional acts were wrongful. By wrongful, it is understood that the person did not have the authority, license, or permission to commit that act in those circumstances. For example, while tackling someone in a football game may be acceptable, tackling someone at work is not and that would be considered wrong. With fires, while you can start a bonfire in your backyard, you certainly cannot light your neighbor’s house on fire. If done intentionally, this would be an intentional tort. If done accidentally, you would have to sue for negligence. While the specific elements of every intentional tort are different, here are the broad points that you must prove in a case for your burn injuries:
- Harmful/Offensive contact
Negligence Cases For Burn Injuries
If you cannot show intent to actually start the fire, then you might have to file a negligence lawsuit for your burn injuries. The basis of negligence actions is that a defendant acted unreasonably in the circumstance or failed to meet the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would have in a given situation. They are highly subjective determinations made by a jury and fact-intensive for the given circumstances. However, in all negligence lawsuits, plaintiffs must establish that the defendant breached a legal duty and that breach was the cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries. In many burn injury lawsuits, evidence of a building code violation may be used as prima facie evidence that the landowner was negligent. To review, here are the elements you must prove in a negligence case for your burn injuries:
Products Liability Cases For Burn Injuries
If the origin of the fire that caused your burn injuries was a faulty product such as a cooking, heating, or other electrical item, then you might be able to bring a products liability case against the maker, distributor, or retailer. In products liability cases, you can sue anyone on the “chain of distribution.” This means 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 flavors:
1. that the design or manufacture of the product was defective and that caused your injuries (such as burns) or
2. that the warnings or instructions that came with your product were defective and that caused your injuries (such as burns). Like with negligence actions, products liability cases with burn injuries are extremely complicated and fact-heavy matters. However, unlike with negligence actions, where the real issue is often the reasonability of human behavior, products liability cases normally test the design or creation of commercial goods and, therefore, require expert evidence or testimony. What this practically means is that products liability cases require a great deal more money, skill, and resources to acquire this expert evidence and testimony.
No matter what kind of products liability action you bring for your burn injuries, you must allege and prove the following elements:
- The product/warning was defective.
- You were reasonably using the product.
- You were injured while using the product.
- The injury was caused by the product defect.
Can I Pursue Other Claims For My Burn Injuries?
Yes, Illinois law allows you to pursue other claims if you suffer burn injuries because of someone else’s wrongful conduct. We spend more time reviewing intentional torts, negligence, and products liability because they are the most common. However, if your loved one eventually dies from the burn injuries that he or she sustained from the incident, then you could also file a wrongful death action. This kind of claim offers that you uniquely suffered a loss because of the death and has the following elements:
- Someone died;
- The death was caused by someone else’s misconduct (intentional or negligent); and
- Surviving loved ones or family members sustained actual injuries because of the death.
Wrongful death cases are incredibly common for fire and burn accidents. Yet, people often forget that they can also pursue recovery for the harm and suffering that decedents suffered prior to passing away. This is a legally recognizably claim in Illinois and rewards families for the injustice of the indecent death that their loved ones were forced to endure. There are other forms of recovery that you should be aware of-like claims for support-and with the help of our legal team you can be sure that you won’t miss any of them!
How Will I Know Which Claims To Pursue For My Burn Injuries?
The process of researching and choosing which claims to pursue for your Illinois burn injuries can be overwhelming. There are many moving parts and lining up which most accurately align with the facts and circumstances of your case can be quite difficult. Also, you need to be cognizant of past cases and courtroom rules so that you don’t run afoul of the judge presiding over your lawsuit. Sound like a lot? Well, that is where we can help. We have experience helping Illinois burn victims see where they can gain the most in the legal system and then making sure that they do so. That all begins by identifying which form of lawsuit makes the most sense. Call us today to figure out how you should file your action for compensation.
Want To Know More About The Laws That Support Your Recovery?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has helped all different kinds of personal injury victims pursue recovery in Illinois courts. We have experience marshaling all the laws to the advantage of the injury victims we represent. You deserve to know every case and law that supports your right to recover. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers now and someone can walk you through every theory of recovery at your disposal.
If you would like to know more about burn injuries in Illinois, please read the following pages: