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What To Do After Sustaining A Burn Injury in California

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

Here's How To Make Sure You Recover From A California Burn Accident


Serious burns have devastating effects to those who are burned and their families. If you've ever had even a mild burn, you know how painful and difficult it is to recover from these injuries. If you have suffered accidental burn injuries in California, you are entitled to high-quality legal representation to assist you in recovering from this traumatic event.

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Chances are, all of us had gotten burned at some point. Whether it's a mild burn from cooking in your kitchen or a major injury from an explosive car crash, they're painful, and the recovery time can be long.


Suits for Burn Injuries In California


The following are examples of common burn injury cases:

  • Portable stoves and butane burners, for example, are defectively constructed or made

  • Feature flaws in cars, trucks, and other vehicles (for example, inability to shield the gas tank from interference by other artifacts in the vehicle in the event of a rear-end collision)

  • Accidents at work

  • Owing to a person's negligence, there have been many houses and residential fires (an example is leaving a lit cigarette on furniture).

Individuals who experience fire-related injuries as a result of a faulty product or another's negligence have civil claims and the right to compensation in most states. Charges for compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs, lost past and future earnings, and burn survivors and other fire victims can file punitive damages.


According to the American Burn Association, almost half a million people are treated in U.S. hospitals for burn injuries each year, with up to 10,000 people dying from burn-related infections.


According to the American Burn Association, the following happened in 2016:

  • A total of 486,000 people sought medical help for burn injuries.

  • 40,000 people treated for burns in hospitals.

  • 30,000 people were treated for burns.

  • Just 8% of burn patients make it through their ordeal.

  • Burns occurred in 73 percent of cases at home.

  • Fires or open flames caused 43 percent of burns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, during the year 2000, someone died in a fire every two hours in the United States. In the year 2000, a fire injured someone every 23 minutes, and burn-related burns claimed the lives of up to 10,000 people.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of people treated for burns experience thermal burns caused by contact with flames, hot liquids, hot surfaces, chemical burns, or electrical burns, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If someone is killed or injured as a result of a fire in a house or other structure, it is more likely that they were consumed by smoke or poisonous gases rather than flames.


Burn Injuries In California and Their Causes


When a person is exposed to high temperature or intense heat, such as contact with scalding surfaces and liquids and chemicals, sunlight, and radiation, burn injuries may occur.


The following are the most common causes of burn injuries:


1. Thermal Contact


Thermal contact refers to burns caused by coming into contact with extremely hot objects. Anything that generates high temperatures by design, such as an oven or an iron, could cause burns by even the tiniest touch. Defective products that malfunction and overheat can also cause thermal burns. Heat-generating objects with metal surfaces are particularly hazardous due to their high conductivity.


2. Contact with a fire or an open flame.


Fire contact is the most common cause of burn injuries. This may result from a deliberate (arson) or accidental burn (such as an electrical fire or a blaze started by a cigarette). Temperatures in fires can reach over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.


3. Scalding


Scalding liquids are one of the most common causes of skin burns. This may be due to a spilled cup of hot coffee or coming into contact with boiling water while cooking. These liquids can reach temperatures of over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in immediate and painful burns.


4. Burns caused by chemicals.


When a person comes into contact with a material that contains irritants, chemical burns, also known as caustic burns, occur. Acids and bleaches, for example, can cause burns if they come into contact with a person's skin or eyes.


5. Inhalation Accidents.


Burn patients who still have inhalation burns have a higher risk of dying due to their injuries. According to the United States Fire Association, smoke inhalation of toxic gases emitted by a fire is responsible for 75% of all burn deaths, with actual fires and burns accounting for just 25% of all fire-related deaths.


Three forms of inhalation injuries are linked to fire:

  • Toxicity causes damage. Burn smoke contains over a hundred identified toxic substances. Toxins obstruct the body's ability to consume oxygen properly and can result in irreversible organ damage.

  • Inhalation of smoke causes damage. Smoke inhalation is thought to be responsible for 75 percent of deaths arising from burn injuries.

  • Heat inhalation causes harm. When a person breathes directly into a heat or flame source, or when high pressure pushes heat into the victim, heat inhalation occurs.

Consider one of our prescreened Los Angeles Burn Injury Lawyers in your California Attorney Search.


6. Others


Outside of these key categories, a variety of other burn injuries may occur. Some are much more uncommon than others. Electrical burns (from exposed wires, for example), fireworks burns, lightning strikes, extreme sunburns, and other types of burns are among them.


You might be entitled to file a burn injury claim if you have sustained one of the burn forms mentioned above or some other sort of burn caused by the negligence of another party.


What Kinds of Burn Injuries Do People Get?


The skin is the human body's largest organ, preserving your organs while also enabling you to experience and view the world around you. Burns to the skin can do more than just superficial damage; they can also cause discomfort and loss of sensitivity, making it difficult to keep a job and enjoy life.


The degree of the tissue damage is used to classify burns, which include:


a.) First Degree.


Only the outermost layer of the skin is affected by first-degree burns (epidermis). Pain and reddening of the skin are common symptoms, which may progress to a purplish mark as the wound heals. These burns usually recover in one to three weeks with little scarring. A sunburn is an example of a first-degree burn.


Although first-degree burns are normally treatable at home, the skin is burned and sensitive to touch, making them particularly painful.


b.) Second Degree.


This burn has penetrated the skin's lower layer (dermis). Blisters that crack, ooze, and become infected are common among victims, as are pain and redness. It can take up to a month for these burns to heal completely, and it may take much longer if they become infected. Scarring or tightening of skin and muscle tissue can occur over time, limiting mobility (contractures).


c.) Third Degree.


The soft tissues under the epidermis and dermis are also affected by these extreme injuries. Third-degree burn victims often need skin grafts, take months to recover, and experience temporary or permanent nerve damage.


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Third-degree burns necessitate hospitalization in a burn unit or intensive care unit. Since the person's nerves are weakened or dead, the damage can be so severe that the person does not feel pain. Third-degree burns may appear waxy and clean, burnt, dark brown, or raised and leathery, depending on the cause. Permanent scarring and excruciating pain resulting from these burns.


d.) Fourth degree.


A fourth-degree burn damages the victim's bones, muscles, or tendons under the skin. Even if the burns do not kill the victim, they are likely to cause permanent damage to the burned area and the rest of the body.


Burn burns come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The following are examples of different forms of burns:

  • When hot liquids come into contact with the skin, it causes scalding.

  • Electrical burns occur when the skin is burned by an electrical current, which may cause internal damage.

  • When a strong acid or base comes into contact with the skin, it causes chemical burns.

  • Thermal burns are caused by being exposed to flames, such as in a car accident or exposed to flammable liquids.

  • A gas leak that catches fire causes gas explosions.

  • Radiation burns may be caused by X-rays, medical radiation, or tanning beds.

  • Inhaling smoke, steam, or poisonous fumes causes inhalation burns.


Burn Injuries In California: Common Complications


For burn victims, everyday life is incredibly difficult. Not only is the accident itself excruciatingly painful, but the treatments that a survivor must endure are often just as painful.

The skin is the body's largest organ, and it acts as a shield against bacteria and evaporative water loss from the underlying tissues. Short-term complications from a burn injury include dehydration, inflammation, hypothermia, and damage to internal organs. Extreme mental and physical scarring are among the long-term consequences. Recovery from a burn injury takes a huge financial, physical, and emotional toll.

Rehabilitation can take years, causing the survivor to miss work and incur thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs as a result of:

  • Infections.

Any skin breakage raises the risk of infection, and infection from a burn can spread to the bones and bloodstream. If the patient has sepsis, it may require tissue removal or amputation to remove the contaminated tissue.

  • Respiratory issues

Smoke and hot air can scar a person's lungs, causing breathing problems like asthma, pneumonia, and respiratory failure.

  • Damage to the brain.

Burn victims can experience brain damage due to oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) caused by smoke inhalation, inhalation of caustic chemicals, or electrocution injuries.

  • Blindness.

A victim's vision may be permanently impaired by heat from a fire or a chemical burn to the face, making it difficult for him or her to function.

  • Problems with mobility.

Loss of balance and agility may be caused by muscle contractures, nerve damage, and scaling or burns to the feet and hands. To recover lost range of motion, patients can need compression therapy and years of physical therapy.

  • Scarring.

Burn victims' faces and necks can need skin grafts to repair the damage, resulting in disfiguring scars that can seriously affect their quality of life. Plastic surgery, painful laser procedures, and other solutions that may or may not be covered by insurance are some of the current strategies for smoothing scar tissue.

  • Psychological harm.

After a fire, burn victims are particularly vulnerable to psychological injuries. The pain of the accident and the daily reminder of the scars may cause victims to withdraw, experience intense anxiety or depression, and need specialized therapy to cope with the accident's consequences.


The Costs Of Burn Injuries In California


Medical care for burn injuries can be costly, particularly if you do not have sufficient health insurance. Annually, more than $10 billion is spent on burn treatments. Additional injuries, such as infection and disfigurement, can require care in addition to basic burn treatment.

  • Disfigurement occurs in 66% of burn cases, and treatment can cost anywhere from $28,000 to $35,000.

  • Infection-related costs can vary from $58,000 to $120,000.

  • The cost of treating skin breakdown ranges from $38,000 to $107,000.

  • Treatment for psychological issues will cost anywhere from $16,000 to $75,000.

  • The cost of delayed wound healing treatment or skin grafting ranges from $37,000 to $110,000.

  • The average Californian does not have the financial means to care for burn treatments on their own. Even a minor burn will set you back more than $200,000 to treat.

Burn injuries can leave permanent wounds, restrict mobility, and make it difficult for people to return to work. You will need assistance with medical costs, doctor referrals, recouping missed income, and potentially accessing home health care. The path to physical and emotional rehabilitation for burn victims in California is long and painful. Recovery is time-consuming, frustrating, emotionally draining, and costly.


Minor burns may have a significant effect on one's life. You want experienced Los Angeles Burn Injury Lawyers to help you get the full compensation you deserve, whether involved in an explosion or an electrocution accident. Burn Injury Accident Lawyers know how crucial your recovery is, so they'll make sure they'll identify liable parties and build a solid case to forward your interests.


Things to Do in the Event of a Burn Injury

  • When you've been involved in an unfortunate incident that resulted in burns, the first thing you can do is look for medical attention immediately. In order to relieve the pain and heal the burns, you should follow the doctor's advice and take the medications prescribed.

  • The next move is to retain a California Attorney For Personal Injury to file a claim for the losses you sustained as a result of the accident. You can give the California Burn Injury Attorney all the relevant information about the incident and the names and contact information of any witnesses so that he or she can create a strong case to bring the lawsuit.

  • If you were involved in a car accident that resulted in a burn injury to your person, make sure to write down the specifics of the accident and give them to your California Burn Injury Attorney.

  • Call the insurance firm and let them know about the accident. Make sure you don't exaggerate or undersell the circumstances of the accident or distort the injuries. Simply state the facts so that firm can process the claim as quickly as possible. You can also attempt to get a copy of the accident report submitted by the police officers who responded to the accident scene or ask your California Burn Injury Attorney to obtain one for you. A small fee is required to obtain the police report.

  • You should keep track of your hospital visits, medications, and follow-up care for your injuries. Often, keep track of the hours you've missed at where you're employed and the income or wages that you've lost as a result. Include the things you were unable to do at home or at work due to your burn injuries. Similarly, strive to keep track of how the accident has impacted your personal and family life. All of these documents will be useful in calculating the damages, which your California Personal Injury Attorney will use to file a compensation claim.


Things You Shouldn't Do in the Event of a Burn Injury


Never confess to someone that you were at fault for the accident that resulted in your burn injuries. Furthermore, do not communicate with the defendant's insurance firm without first communicating with your California Personal Injury Attorney.


Most insurance companies are skilled at negotiating with beneficiaries to get the lowest possible payout sum. The firm can also attempt to obtain a signed statement to use in court to either mitigate their financial responsibility or even dismiss your claims. As a result, make sure you don't give someone a recorded comment.


You should just discuss the case with your California Personal Injury Attorney to be safe and sure. You should never tell someone else (might it be friends or family) about the accident, no matter how close they are to you, if you are contacted by another insurance provider that claims to provide you with better coverage. In that case, you can provide the insurance company's information to your Burn Accident Attorney so that he or she can handle the situation appropriately.


Legal Consequences of Burn Injuries In California


Burn injuries are often caused by someone's negligence or failure to act (negligence) or by a faulty product.


Negligence


Negligence is described as the failure to use proper due care to prevent an injury to an individual, location, or thing that the responsible party should have avoided. If you are reckless and your negligence causes harm to someone to whom you owe a "duty of care," you may be held responsible for any damages incurred by your negligence.


If a person fails to meet the level of due care that is required in a given case, he or she may be deemed "careless" or "negligent." In most cases, the law requires that an individual practice the same degree of "due care" that a fair person would under similar circumstances. The "reasonable person" or "reasonable man" norm is used to describe this.


Product Liability for Defective Products


Product liability refers to who is responsible for the harm caused by a faulty product. Any member of the distribution chain of a hazardous or faulty product, including the creator, manufacturer, parts supplier, wholesaler, and retail store that sold the product, may be sued for product liability.

Claims for product liability may occur as a result of negligence, warranty violation, or strict liability.

In a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that a producer, distributor, wholesaler, or other entity in the distribution chain owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise due care in the manufacturing or selling of a product and failed to do so, causing the plaintiff harm.


Negligence occurs when a person of ordinary prudence does not do something in the same or similar circumstances or when a person of ordinary prudence fails to do something in the same or similar circumstances.

Failure to foresee likely uses of the product, failure to properly inspect or test the product, failure to provide appropriate alerts or guidance for the product's usage or any other part of the production or delivery process where proper caution is not used are all examples of negligence.

A claim for breach of warranty occurs under contract law, which imposes such "implied warranties" on the selling of products. The warranty of merchantability (that the goods are in good working order and free of defects) and the warranty of fitness for a specific purpose (e.g., a refrigerator must keep food cold and fresh; a chair must carry a person's weight) are two examples of such warranties.


Since the law implies that these guarantees apply even though they are not explicitly specified, they are implied warranties. If a product fails to satisfy these requirements, the buyer will be able to return it and obtain a refund of the purchase price, or in certain cases, monetary damages. Economic damage incurred by violation of warranties in the selling of products is covered by contract law. Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code also addresses sales of goods and implied and express guarantees of merchantability in sales of goods (sections 2-314 and 2-315).


Strict liability applies to "faultless liability." In a strict liability case, responsibility for the damages is not based on the defendant's care or lack thereof; if the product is found to be faulty, the defendant will be held liable regardless of whether they took reasonable care. As a result, if the product has a flaw that causes damage, the defendant will be held responsible for the harm caused by strict liability. The plaintiff must prove the following in order to make a strict liability product liability claim:

  • A flaw in the product caused the injury

  • The product was being used in the manner in which it was designed to be used

From the time it left the seller's or manufacturer's hands, the product had not been significantly altered or updated.


Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Claims


The statute of limitations limits the amount of time you have to file a claim in any case. The statute of limitations for neglect in California is two years. 340 of the California Civil Procedure Code. However, if a lawsuit is filed against a government entity, municipality, or public employee, the statute of limitations is much shorter; such claims must be filed within six months of the date of the accident. CA 911.2 of the Code of Federal Regulations


In California, product liability lawsuits have a one-year statute of limitations. 340 of the California Civil Procedure Code. When the complainant becomes aware of the injury and assumes negligence, the statute of limitations starts to run. The presence of such knowledge is a factual decision that a jury must make. In making this decision, a jury will weigh the following factors:

  1. knowledge of the injury

  2. knowledge of facts that creates, or would create in a reasonable person, a presumption of negligence on someone's part.

According to the statute of limitations, a plaintiff must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of death in California. CALIFORNIA Civ. Code Proceeding. 377.60 is a number that you can find on a piece of paper. The statute of limitations is tolled (suspended) before the complainant reaches the age of eighteen if the plaintiff is a minor under the age of eighteen. If an heir or beneficiary is comparatively incompetent in the decedent's death, the heir's negligence can only be used to reduce his damages.


Failure to file a case under the statute of limitations has no legal consequences. As a result, it's important to speak with a California Attorney For Personal Injury as soon as possible to protect your legal rights before they're taken away by the law. It's important to investigate the details of an accident or injury as soon as possible to preserve information that could otherwise be damaged or lost, as well as to obtain testimony from witnesses who could vanish or whose memories might fade.


Industrial Accidents and Workers' Compensation


Many burn injuries occur as a result of occupational industrial accidents. Workers who are injured on the job in California are entitled to the following benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act:

  • The defendant must pay medical bills.

  • Payments for people with disabilities

  • Payments for vocational rehabilitation

  • Payment of death insurance and fair funeral costs if the employee's injuries are fatal.

Employers are liable for employee accidents that occur on the job under California law, regardless of the employee's negligence or fault.


However, California law stipulates that if an employee seeks Workers' Compensation, the employee is normally barred from pursuing all further civil action against the employer. As a result, the employee retains certain benefits without proving blame but foregoes the right to recover a broader spectrum of damages available in tort.


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There are a few exceptions to the generalization that an employee receiving Workers' Compensation insurance is barred from suing his or her employer:

  • An employee could sue the employer if the employer deliberately injured the employee or knowingly allowed the employee to work in a hazardous environment that the employer knew about.

  • Intentional wrongdoing is exempt from the statutory immunity, or exclusive remedy, of Workers' Compensation in California, and you may bring such lawsuits against the employer directly.

Even if an employee is barred from suing his or her employer by statute, the employee may be able to recover damages from third parties that are responsible or partially responsible for the employee's injuries; this is known as a "third party argument."


In contrast to a Workers' Compensation lawsuit, in which the victim is only entitled to a portion of their losses, a third-party claim allows the employee to seek damages for disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of quality life, and emotional distress.


Beauty Burns, Salon Injuries, and Medispa Risks


Burns from beauty treatments, including hair coloring, laser hair removal, and wrinkle removal, are becoming more common. Many of these incidents take place in medical spas in Los Angeles.


According to the International Spa Association, medical spas are the fastest-growing segment of the spa industry, with 471 in 2004 and 1,804 today. Unlike day spas, which focus on relaxation facilities like massages, facials, and body wraps, medispas include cosmetic procedures involving laser medical devices and other invasive and intensive technologies.

  • Injuries caused by laser hair removal

The melanin in the hair follicle is targeted by laser hair removal. Heat inactivates or kills cells in the target area when the procedure is performed correctly. If performed in a highly regulated environment, this can be done safely. If the operation is done correctly, there should be no significant effects on the surrounding cells.


On the other hand, laser treatment can result in permanent scarring, prolonged loss of color in the skin, or serious infection if it is not done according to strict guidelines.

  • Hair Dye-Related Injuries

In most cases, hair highlighting with chemical solutions to change the pigmentation of hair is extremely healthy. On the other hand, Hair dye may be caustic to the scalp, resulting in hair loss, painful blisters, and red, raw skin. Hair dye has the potential to damage hair permanently.

  • Tinting of the lashes and brows

Permanent lash and eyebrow tinting and dyeing can result in serious eye injuries, including blindness. Consumers should be aware that the FDA has approved no color additives for dyeing or tinting eyelashes and eyebrows.


Reduce Spa Injuries and Prevent Beauty Burns


Beauty burn injuries can happen in a salon or a medispa, so customers should do their homework before hiring a service provider. Ascertain that the supplier is fully certified and that the equipment used for services and treatments is current and properly used.


Furthermore, if you're thinking of going to a medispa, a qualified medical professional should be on hand in case something goes wrong during the operation.


Injuries Associated With Tattoo Removal


Tattoo removal is difficult since tattooing is intended to be permanent. Scarring burns, painful blisters and scabs, inflammation, pigmentation swelling, and other complications are also possible side effects of chemical and laser tattoo removal. After a laser removal treatment, cosmetic tattoos such as eyeliner, lip liner, and eyebrows can darken.


Consumers should seek out a dermatological laser treatment specialist and closely follow all medical advice to reduce the risks associated with tattoo removal procedures.


Statute of Limitations for Burn Injuries


You might be facing severe pain and suffering, medical costs, the need for ongoing medical care or hospitalization, or life-long suffering if you were a victim of someone else's negligence that resulted in some kind of burn. You only have two years from the date of the accident that caused your burn injury to file a claim for compensation for your injuries and damages in the state of California.


When the claim is against a government agency, the time limit for filing a claim is far shorter. Prior to making a lawsuit in court, there will be much different paperwork to fill out. Consult an experienced California Burn Injury Attorney right away to ensure that your civil rights are covered and that you do not miss out on the chance to file a claim for the money you deserve.


Damages for a Burn Injury in California


The amount of money you will recover from a lawsuit following an accident is referred to as "damages." Compensatory and punitive damages are the two types of damages available:


Compensatory damages compensate the injured party for both financial and non-financial losses incurred from the accident. Economic losses are those that have a monetary value, such as:

  • Medical treatments and perscriptions (including surgery, hospital visits, etc.)

  • Procedures for skin grafting

  • Wages that have been lost (past and present)

  • Earning potential has been lost (future)

  • Harm to property

  • Other costs of treatment and services that are needed in everyday life

Non-economic penalties are those that do not have a monetary value but are also part of the compensation package for the losses. Consider the following scenario:

  • Emotional anguish

  • Physical disability, disfigurement, and scarring

  • Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life's events


Pain and Suffering


Punitive damages are not included in the amount the plaintiff is due for their injuries because they are separate from compensatory damages. Punitive damages are designed to compensate a defendant for committing a wrongful act of malice or intent.


Any of the costs listed above will last a lifetime. Some insurance plans can not cover all related expenses, leaving a victim and his or her family in financial distress. If an entity or person is to blame for the injury, you will be able to claim compensation from them.


The state of California insists that those who require assistance should receive "only" compensation. While you may resolve these cases without going to court, there are occasions where the negligent party refuses to compensate the victim reasonably.


Working with a California Attorney For Personal Injury and going to trial could be appropriate in these cases. Having legal counsel who is familiar with the procedure and who would go to bat with you will make the process less difficult and confusing.


When it Leads to a Case of Wrongful Death


Burns are life-threatening burns that not everyone survives. The death of a loved one may be heartbreaking, but if the death was caused by the negligence of another person or party, you would be able to seek justice. Where there is a question of negligence, you and your California Burn Injury Attorney can file a wrongful death lawsuit.


In these cases, the victim's spouse, children, dependents, or other family members or estate members may file a lawsuit on the victim's behalf. Non-monetary costs, such as physical and emotional distress or loss of quality of life, may be included in damages.


Find Top Rated Personal Injury Attorneys In Los Angeles


Have you recently sustained burn injuries due to someone else's negligence? 1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Association Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to a qualified California Personal Injury Lawyers best fit to handle the unique conditions of your case. You can contact us through our 24/7 Live Chat (or complete our submission form) for a free initial consultation.

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