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Get Legal Insight on Burn Injuries in California by Our Expert Burn Injury Attorneys

Our burn injury attorneys know that burns can cause serious damage to the skin. The recovery process may vary depending on what degree of burn the victim sustained. Serious burns will require medical attention from a burn specialist. As medical expenses continue to stack up from having multiple doctor visits for treatment purposes, many victims may feel like they are falling into a financial burden. Fortunately, if your burn injury occurred due to the negligence of another party, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim to acquire recoverable damages.

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our qualified California burn injury attorneys are readily available to assist victims of personal injury. We will assess your case to determine what necessary courses of action should be taken in order to get you the compensation you deserve for your losses. With our track record of recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case.

To schedule a free consultation, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

California Burn Injury Statistics in 2022

An infographic on burn injury statistics from the burn injury lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers.

According to 2019 data collected by the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), 5.0 injuries and 1.7 deaths per 1,000 fires occurred in California. 17.6 injuries and 4.3 deaths per 1,000 fires took place in residential building structures. Based on the data collected, 51.2 percent of fire casualties occurred in residential and non-residential structures, 48 percent were in residential structures only, 44.6 percent were in vehicles, and 2.4 percent were outside. Lastly, in 2021, a total of 125 fire fatalities occurred in homes.

According to 2017 to 2019 data collected by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an average of 34,200 heating fires took place in residential buildings in the United States. It is estimated that a total of 600 injuries and 165 deaths occurred from these fires. Cooking was the leading cause of residential fires, while heating was placed second. Most of these fires took place from 5pm to 9pm, with a high peak occurring from 6pm to 8pm.

Burn Injuries at Work

If you sustained a burn injury at your workplace, you may be entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover damages. You will not be required to show proof of the employer’s negligence. Typically, non-economic damages will not be available.

In order to be eligible to file a personal injury claim, the burn injury accident must have been:

  • Caused by a third party
  • Caused by malicious and intentional acts
  • During the time the employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance when the burn injury occurred
  • Made worse by an action of which the employer concealed by fraud

Burn Injuries Caused by a Defective Product

If a company sells or produces a faulty product that causes a burn injury, it can be held liable for damages. According to California’s product liability law, those involved in the chain distribution, such as the product designers, manufacturers, or sellers, may be held accountable for any injuries and/or damages caused by the defective product. Strict liability is enforced when a defect is found during the design or manufacturing process. These burns could also occur in restaurants.  It may also become effective if there were no warnings or proper instructions given to the buyer about the product’s defect or usage. 

In order to pursue a product liability lawsuit, you will need to show proof of:

  • Using the product in a reasonable manner
  • The defendant designing, manufacturing, or selling a defective product
  • The defect being the main cause of your burn injury
  • The product already having a design, manufacturing, or warning defect when it left the defendant

Statute of Limitations to File a Burn Injury in California

Since a burn injury claim falls under personal injury, you will be given two years starting from the initial date of the incident to file a claim. If you exceed the deadline, you will no longer be qualified to pursue legal actions against the party at-fault for your burn injury. However, in California, there are a few exceptions that will grant you an extension. You must be a minor, out-of-state, incarcerated, legally insane, or incapacitated.

Common Causes Of Burn Injuries In California

First, let’s start with the fact that from 2014 to 2019 the state of California has had over 7,874 Fires and over 1,223,831 acres burned! California has spent well over $600,000,000 dollars in fire suppression costs alone and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Additionally, Southern and Northern California have combined property damages surpassing 7 billion dollars just from wildfires.

Besides wildfires, there are many other ways burn injuries may occur.

The most common causes of burn injuries come from: 

  • Boiling liquids
  • Steam
  • Hot objects
  • Radiation 
  • Tanning beds
  • Electrical currents 
  • Chemicals
  • Fires

All of these elements can cause severe burn injuries if not properly managed. 

Did you know that smoke exposure and inhalation are extremely dangerous and can cause severe and sometimes irreparable harm? Our burn injury attorneys have seen some smoke inhalation cases bring big settlements for clients. 

Chemical reactions involving hazardous substances, specifically with acids, can cause major burning of the skin and other body parts. 

Most common chemical acids to watch out for:

  • Sulfuric
  • Nitric 
  • Hydrofluoric
  • Hydrochloric acetic 
  • Formic
  • Phosphoric
  • Phenol
  • Chloroacetic 

Watch out for common household cleaning products as well! You would be surprised how many detrimental chemicals are found in them

One of the most serious causes of burn injuries is always due to someone else’s negligence. 

Whether it’s a car accident that led to your vehicle being set ablaze, a company not following safety protocols or a faulty product that was manufactured incorrectly. 

Having an expert California burn injury lawyer is essential in recovering any damages you may have incurred from your injuries whether they be from medical bills, emotional suffering, or lost wages. 

Types of Burn Injuries

While fire injuries are the more obvious source of burn injuries, there are many other types of burn injuries. 

Radiation Burns

Burns resulting from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays or other forms of radiation, such as X-rays and microwaves, are ratidation burns.

There are four major radiation types that cause damage due to prolonged exposure:

  1. Alpha
  2. Beta
  3. Ultraviolet 
  4. Electromagnetic waves such as gamma rays

Radiation burns may typically appear in days or weeks after exposure, whereas thermal burns appear instantly or shortly after exposure to the heat source. 

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns occur when external heat sources burn the skin and underlying tissues, leading to tissue cell death or charring. 

Contact with these sources can lead to thermal burns:

  • Hot metals
  • Boiling liquids
  • Steam
  • Flames 

Thermal burns range in severity from first-degree (causes skin redness) to fourth-degree (affects all layers of the skin)

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns occur when these substances come in contact with your eyes or skin

  • Strong acids
  • Alkalis
  • Detergents 
  • Solvents 

Symptoms may include:

  • discoloration 
  • swelling 
  • intense pain 

Depending on how long and at what strength the substances were in contact with your body the severity of your injuries may vary. 

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns occur when a person comes in direct contact with an electric current source such as:

  • Power lines
  • Outlets 
  • Electrical appliances
  • Lightning strikes  

Electrical burns can cause muscle contractions and/or serious nerve damage and can be difficult to identify these burns due to most damages being internal injuries.

If you’ve been injured by any of these types of burns in an accident you should talk to a qualified burn injury lawyer immediately!

Types of Burn Degrees

Burn injuries are categorized according to their severity, depth, and size. 

There are three common types of burn injuries:

  • First Degree 
  • Second Degree 
  • Third Degree 

In addition to these three categories of burn injuries, they can also be classified according to size:

  • Minor burn injury: Less than 3 inches wide
  • Partial thickness burn injury: More than 3 inches wide
  • Full-thickness burn injury: Affects more than two layers of tissues including fat layer beneath skin

First Degree

According to medical classifications, first-degree burns represent the least severe category of burns, characterized by superficial damage limited to the outermost layer of the skin. 

Typically, first-degree burns are comparable in intensity to sunburns, and may cause skin redness, dryness, and sometimes swelling, along with a painful sensation upon contact. 

Second Degree

Second-degree burns extend beyond the epidermis and into the dermis or deeper layers of skin. This type of burn often causes the affected area of the skin to become bright red and swollen, and blisters may appear on the burned skin.

Third Degree 

Third-degree burns are considered severe because they completely destroy both layers of skin including hair follicles, sweat glands and damage underlying tissues. 

Third-degree burns usually appear white or charred with no sensation due to damaged nerve endings.  

There are also more extreme degrees of burn injuries. 

  • Fourth Degree burns extend into the fat tissue 
  • Fifth Degree burns extend into muscle tissue
  • Sixth Degree burns extend into bone mass 

Additional Complications Caused By a Burn Injury

Burn injuries can lead to additional medical complications that may not be obvious at first. 

These include:

  • Infection caused by bacteria or fungi;
  • Fluid loss causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalances;
  • Severe pain during wound care procedures or when the affected area is touched;
  • Exposure to environmental toxins such as smoke inhalation which can cause long-term health problems.

Are Burns Considered a Traumatic Injury?

Burn injuries are by far one of the most painful and traumatic experiences that someone can go through. Not only can these injuries be life-altering for an individual, it can also affect their relationships with friends and family. 

The emotional trauma is understated. Let alone the physical ramifications. 

Hiring a California burn injury lawyer is pivotal in helping you fight back after a traumatic injury has happened. 

How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Burn Injury?

The recovery process may vary depending on what degree of burn the individual has sustained. 

First Degree Burn

First-degree burns are superficial and usually have minimal pain or discomfort associated with them; they will typically heal within three to six days. 

Most burn injury lawyers usually won’t take these types of cases due to the low probability of damages and settlement amount.

Second Degree Burn 

Second-degree burns extend into deeper tissue and may require medical attention in order to prevent infection and scarring. 

Healing times for these types of burns range from one week up to several weeks. 

All injuries are different and vary in severity, your recovery time can be delayed due to other limitations or ailments.

Third Degree Burn

Third-degree burns are more severe forms of burn injuries that cause permanent skin damage as well as nerve damage in some cases.

These types of injuries often require intricate reconstructive surgery; healing times vary greatly depending on how much tissue is damaged and how successful the surgical procedures are.

California Burn Injury Medical Costs

The medical costs associated with burn injuries can easily add up. Clients will find themselves undergoing multiple surgeries and specialized procedures, like skin grafts or reconstructive surgeries.

These procedures are not cheap and medical insurance companies may only cover a certain amount, leaving patients to pay for the extra costs and fees. 

Sadly, many of these injuries may have to be treated for a lifetime. Any ongoing rehabilitation programs and physical therapy treatments, makes an already expensive situation, even more costly. 

That’s why having a knowledgeable California burn injury attorney can really help you offset the cost of your damages. 

Be sure to contact our firm so that we can help you manage your medical bills and deal with insurance companies who may not have your best interest in mind.  

Damages Awarded to Burn Victims in California

Your damages may include:

  • Property damage
  • Punitive Damages 
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Medical Bills 
  • Legal Fees 

Our expert California burn injury lawyers can help you assess your damages and estimate the potential value of your claim. 

Factors that will determine a settlement amount: 

  • Who was responsible for your injuries?
  • How long ago did they occur? 
  • How many medical bills and losses did you accrue?

We represent our clients with expert legal advice and handle all communications with insurance companies, courts and other counsel.

West Coast Trial Lawyers will file your claim in a timely manner and strive to win a fair compensation amount for your damages, even if it means taking your case to court.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you have sustained injuries as a result of someone’s negligence or deliberate acts of malice, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. Our California burn injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can recover compensation for the losses you have suffered.

Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team..

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