Burn injuries are life-changing, and their impact can stay with you forever. In Indiana, if another party has caused you to suffer burns, you have the legal right to be compensated for your injuries. Consulting with an Indianapolis burn injury lawyer is your first step on the road to justice. Let us fight to get you the full value of your claim.
An attorney could increase the chance of recovering damages for burns that were caused by an act of negligence. A catastrophic injury attorney who has experience in burn injury claims understands how to use the legal system to your advantage and increase the likelihood of a successful lawsuit.
How an Accident That Causes Burn Injuries Can Impact Your Life
Burn injuries can lead to permanent disabilities and disfigurement, along with the permanent loss of the victim’s ability to work. A burn accident can lead to emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, all of which can result in the loss of ability to enjoy your life.
When the victim of a burn is the sole earner in a household, these injuries can also lead to the loss of financial support, which can be financially devastating to families – especially in the aftermath of a tragedy that could result in millions in medical costs.
When burn injuries are caused by avoidable accidents, lawsuits commonly follow due to the severity of the impact these types of catastrophic injuries have on the lives of victims and their families.
Filing a Lawsuit for Burn Injuries in Indianapolis
Anyone who was injured in an accident that was caused by something another party did or failed to do has the legal right to file a catastrophic injury lawsuit in Indiana. When someone else is negligent and it leads to injuries and damages, they are legally responsible for covering the cost of those damages.
Negligence happens when someone else, whether it is an individual, a business, or a company, fails to use the same level of care that would be reasonably expected in a similar situation. Burn injury attorneys in Indianapolis can help you determine whether or not you have a valid claim against a negligent party during your initial consultation.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Burn Injury Claim
There may be one at-fault party in your burn injury accident, or more than one party could share fault. Your burn injury lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, will investigate your case and identify all possible negligent parties so they can be named as defendants in your lawsuit. Some potentially liable parties may include:
- A negligent driver, such as one who was texting or speeding and caused an accident
- A product manufacturer who failed to adequately safety test a product, which then malfunctioned and caused your burns
- A contractor who performed their work improperly, leading to a fire
- A private homeowner who failed to repair faulty wiring or provide working smoke detectors when a fire broke out while you were a guest
How Much Compensation You Can Get for a Burn Injury
You may see compensation calculators online, but the truth is there is no way for these to be accurate because every case has unique factors that affect compensation. The only way you can get an estimate of your potential compensation is to meet with an Indianapolis burn accident attorney who can examine your evidence, such as medical bills and records.
In general, however, how much compensation you will be able to get for a burn injury will depend on factors such as how much work you have missed, your past, present, and future medical costs, and any other expenses you incurred as a result of the accident that caused your burn injuries. This could be anything from the cost of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Burn Injuries in Indiana
According to the American Burn Association, there were 3,275 deaths from fire and smoke inhalation in the United States in 2016 alone, and thousands more victims have died from burn injuries each year since then. If your loved one was a victim of fatal burn injuries and they were an adult, in Indiana, only the decedent’s personal representative can file a claim.
In cases where the deceased was a minor child, the estate does not have to file the wrongful death claim. Under the Indiana Child Wrongful Death Act (CWDA) Indiana Code 34-23-2-1, the claim must be filed by the parents when an unmarried child who is less than 20 years old dies or when the deceased is less than 23 and is still in college or technical school.
Damages You Can Claim for Burn Injuries
Whether the defendant caused the burns through an intentional act or negligence dictates the available damages. As a result, it is important to hold the defendant liable for burn injuries under the correct cause of action, something an Indianapolis attorney could assist with.
A burn injury caused by work entitled a plaintiff to workers’ compensation benefits under Indiana Code §22-3-3-10.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Economic and Non-economic damages are available for burn victims in both an intentional and negligence lawsuit. These damages provide the plaintiff with compensation for what they have lost due to the defendant’s actions.
Economic damages cover all monetary losses the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions. These damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages arise from the amount of pain and suffering, anguish, and loss of ability to enjoy life a plaintiff suffered due to the defendant’s actions. Emotional damages are also potentially available for trauma caused by a defendant’s actions.
How the Classification of Burn Injuries Affects Compensation
Available damages depend on the severity of the burn and the impact of the injury. Burn severity is determined on a four-level scale, and major burn injuries typically result in higher settlements. This is how your burn classification can affect your claim:
- First degree burns: First-degree burns result in red, non-blistered skin. You typically do not need to visit the doctor for a first-degree burn, and they are not at risk for long-term complications. Therefore, it is unlikely you’d seek compensation.
- Second degree burn: A second-degree burn begins to impact deeper layers of the skin and can be painful. The burn site will turn red, blister, and may become swollen. The plaintiff may have to seek medical treatment for the burn, depending on the location and size, leading to medical bills and other costs.
- Third degree burn: Third-degree burns require immediate medical treatment as the burn reaches beyond the skin and into the fatty tissue. Typically, these burns require skin grafts or wound closures to treat them effectively. This could lead to a lifetime of care and expenses.
- Fourth degree burn: Fourth-degree burns reach through both layers of the skin and underlying tissues with the potential to involve muscle, bone, and destroyed nerve endings. Plaintiffs will need to undergo skin grafts and possibly reconstructive surgery. This can also lead to a lifetime of medical bills and other costs.
Regardless of the severity of a burn injury, the plaintiff should discuss their options to recover damages with an Indianapolis attorney.
Hire An Indianapolis Burn Injury Attorney to Seek Justice
Burn injuries could cause your life to change instantly. If your world has been turned upside down, you deserve to hold the defendant responsible and recover damages. Trust an experienced Indianapolis burn injury lawyer with your case.
Our firm has experienced attorneys ready to assist your fight for damages arising from a burn injury. Contact a burn injury attorney in Indianapolis today for a free consultation.