Birmingham Burn Injury Lawyer
We Are Committed to Protecting the Rights of Burn Victims
Burn injuries are extremely painful, often debilitating, and can leave permanent, disfiguring scars. Depending on the severity of the burns, medical treatment may include several surgeries, a long period of hospitalization, and rehabilitation.
At Guster Law Firm, LLC, our team of burn injury lawyers have nearly two decades of expiring fighting for burn and other injury victims throughout Alabama.
We handle burn injury claims involving and not limited to:
- Contact with toxic chemicals
- Contact with hot surfaces
- Injuries associated with fireworks
- Flammable clothing
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Defective equipment
- House fires
- Electrical accidents
- Gas or chemical explosions
Different Degrees of Burn Injuries
“Degrees” are used to denote the severity of a burn. Typically, three to four degrees of damage are acknowledged by medical professionals and courts.
The classifications of burns and their effects are as follows:
- First degree: The least severe kind of burn only affects the outer layer of the skin. First degree burns may be painful and cause the skin to turn red, but rarely cause lasting or permanent damage. An example is a mild sunburn.
- Second degree: Second degree burns damage the outer layer of your skin as well the dermis, the secondary layer underneath. These typically cause blisters and make the skin appear bright red, swollen, and shiny. The most serious of these burns can cause scarring but otherwise should result in no serious long-term effects.
- Third degree: This type of burn destroys two full layers of the skin and may make the affected area appear black, brown, white, or yellow in color. There is usually no pain because this type of burn damages nerve endings. Also known as a “full-thickness burn,” third degree burns can cause permanent damage and disfigurement.
- Fourth degree: Fourth degree burns are the most severe classification of burn injuries. These burns destroy all layers of the skin, as well as the bones, muscles, and tendons underneath. Fourth degree burns are often life-threatening.
There are also numerous types of burns, such as:
- Chemical burns
- Cold burns (frostbite)
- Electrical burns
- Friction burns
- Radiation burns
- And more
"Scalds" or Scalding Injuries
Scalding injuries are often confused with burn injuries because the pain and scarring are much the same. Scalds, however, are caused by liquid or steam, such as placing your hand over a boiling kettle, while burns are caused by dry heat, such as accidentally touching a hot burner on the stove.
Regardless of what caused the burn or scald, they are usually handled the same way in court, and injured parties are often able to receive compensation for these injuries. However, the amount of compensation awarded will depend on several things.
Compensation Factors for a Burn or Scalding Injury
Just like other personal injuries, there is no “one type” of burn or scalding injury. Because of this, finding fault and awarding compensation depends on:
- The intent of the defendant (Was it an accident, or done on purpose?),
- The extent of the injury, and
- How much the defendant is able to pay.
Although burning or scalding is legally considered personal injury, these types of injuries can often warrant larger compensations because of the scarring and severe pain involved.
Finding Fault in Burn or Scalding Injuries
The first thing a burn injury attorney in Birmingham would do is look closely at the case to try and determine who, if anyone, was at fault for the injury. Sometimes it will be obvious, such as when a waiter at a restaurant accidentally dumps very hot tea all over you. Other times, it will be less obvious, such as when you are working in a restaurant and the hot oil from a deep fryer splashes onto your arm.
If there is clearly another party at fault for the burn or scalding injury (such as in the instance of the waiter), this is called gross negligence in the eyes of the law and that person will be held responsible for paying the burn or scald victim punitive damages.
Things become a bit more complicated when it's not clear who's really at fault, as in the example of the deep fryer. If the accident does happen at work and it's due to negligence on the owner's part, the owner will be held liable. However, if the accident was not due to faulty equipment or any negligence on the owner's part, compensation will be paid only through workers' compensation with no negotiation or settlement. This type of compensation is typically less than one would receive in court.
Compensation for Damages, Pain & Suffering
Punitive damages, or damages awarded to punish a defendant for willful or malicious misconduct, will be awarded depending on how much the liable defendant can pay. So, if the liable person/company is well-off financially, they'll have to pay more, while defendants that are struggling financially may be allowed to pay less.
In addition to punitive damages, compensation may also be awarded for any physical or emotional pain and suffering the injured party endured.
Burns can be extremely painful, and often for long periods of time. They can also cause severe disfigurement, which might cause the injured party emotional distress for years to come. A judge will take this into consideration when determining how much total compensation a plaintiff will receive. In any case, the attorneys on both sides will first try to negotiate a settlement based on what they believe the injured party (plaintiff) would receive as compensation if the case goes to trial.
Burn and scalding cases can be tricky, and it's not always clear who's at fault. Guster Law Firm, LLC is deeply committed to helping burn injury victims. We have represented injured clients since 2002 and have the legal knowledge that can benefit you.
We are passionate about helping our clients seek justice in burn injury cases. Our goal is to recover the maximum amount of financial compensation for physical and emotional healing. Contact our Birmingham burn injury lawyers as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been seriously burned. We understand how painful burn injuries are. If you are unable to come and meet with us at our office, we can come to you.
“Eric Guster and his team are some of the best attorneys in Birmingham. Mr. Guster and his team are knowledgeable, caring, and respected by other lawyers and the courts.”- Falen C.