Have You Been Severely Burned?
When Recommending a Boston Law Firm in Connection with Serious Burn Injuries, Lawyers Turn to Parker Scheer
Those who have suffered the agony of second, third, and even fourth-degree burns describe the pain they’ve experienced as among the most severe of all traumatic injuries. In addition to the pain of the burn, burn injuries have high risks of infection and complications. Personal injury cases involving severe burns commonly result from the following:
- Explosions. There are many different causes of explosions, from faulty gas lines to combustible materials that have not been handled correctly to open flames. Negligence of some kind often causes the explosion.
- Building Fires. People who are caught in fires in residential and commercial structures often have severe burns, and can suffer from smoke inhalation as well.
- Defective Products. A defective product fire will usually result from one of three scenarios. First, the product itself can cause a fire due to its improper manufacturing. Second, the manufacturer could have missed a fire-causing element in its design. Third, a product can fail to detect a fire at a time when it should have, such as a faulty fire alarm.
- Motor Vehicle Collisions. These may result in fires or explosions, both of which pose a great risk to the passengers and drivers involved in the accident. Most commonly, fires in car accidents are the result of gas explosions or contact with something else in the road.
- Electric Shock. When someone is exposed to high voltage electricity, this causes an electrical burn injury. Unsurprisingly, this danger is most present for those working in the electrical field. An electrical burn injury is unique from many other burns in that it results from the electric current flowing through the body, and the wound is the current’s exit. Depending on the voltage, this can also lead the heart to stop beating and have very serious complications.
- Accidental exposure to harmful chemicals and radiation. Chemicals that cause burns include both strong acids and bases and are most commonly found in laboratories. In severe chemical burns, the chemical can melt the skin. This makes it very hard to remove the chemical and clean the affected area, which in turn can increase the injury.
- Hot Liquids. This area includes burns from a variety of hot liquids such as coffee and boiling water. Liquid burns are often very painful and can occur in restaurants and kitchens. In most cases, they do not cause as severe of injuries as the other types.
Those plagued with the most severe burn injuries often face life-threatening infections and are required to undergo a variety of skin grafts using their own bodies (autografts) as well as using the skin of cadavers (allografts). The shock caused by fluid and electrolyte imbalance and resulting secondary infection are perhaps the most common cause of post-accident burn-related fatalities.
Parker Scheer personal injury attorneys have successfully represented clients in a wide variety of serious personal injury cases involving severe burns and the often complicated recovery periods following the initial injury. A Parker Scheer Boston personal injury lawyer can help you recover the compensation you may be entitled to, including damages for your pain and suffering, related medical expenses and lost wages.
How are the Different Degrees of Burns Categorized?
According to the US National Institutes of Health, there are four degrees of burn injury, each one progressively more severe than the last.
- First Degree: These burns are relatively superficial and only damage the outermost layers of the skin.
- Second Degree: This type of burn damages the skin’s outer layer as well as the layers just underneath.
- Third Degree: These burns usually require surgical repair due to the significant degree of deep tissue damage.
- Fourth Degree: This burn is the most severe. It not only damages skin and underlying tissue, but muscles, tendons, and even bones.
How Long Do You Have to Bring a Boston Burn Injury Case?
In Massachusetts, in most cases, you have three (3) years from the date of your injury to file a burn injury claim. There are, however, exceptions:
- If your case is against a Massachusetts governmental entity (i.e. the Commonwealth, or a city or town, etc.) you must first deliver a “notice of claim” (also referred to as a “Massachusetts Tort Claims Notice”) to the appropriate governmental person(s) designated to receive such notice, within two (2) years of the date the injuries were sustained. The deadline for filing an actual lawsuit against the governmental entity (Commonwealth, city or town, etc.) is prior to the third anniversary from the date of the incident. If the injured party is a minor, they have until their 21st birthday to file a burn injury claim in Massachusetts but notice letters must be sent within two (2) years of the incident.
Your Boston personal injury lawyer will advise you of any deadlines or procedural prerequisites to suit, that could apply to your case.
What if You Were Also at Fault for the Accident Which Caused Your Burn Injury?
Massachusetts is a modified comparative negligence state, so you can sue for compensation even if you are partially at fault for the accident. However, the amount of your recovery will be reduced by your degree of fault. For example, if you receive $1,000,000 for your injuries but are found to be 40% at fault, you will only receive $600,000.
It is important to note that your degree of fault could impact your ability to recover damages. Your own negligence must not exceed the combined negligence of the defendants. Parker Scheer’s legal staff can provide you with a comprehensive assessment as to how comparative negligence may impact the recovery in your case.
What Damages Are You Entitled to Recover in Your Boston Burn Injury Case?
Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff who has suffered a personal injury is entitled to recover damages for:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
- Permanent injuries such as disfigurement, permanent scarring, or loss of body function
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning capacity
- Aggravation of a pre-existing condition
A close family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent, may be entitled to pursue damages for “loss of consortium” if your injuries negatively impacted your relationship with them or your ability to provide them with financial or emotional support.
If you have been injured in Massachusetts and the defendant is a public employer, the damages cap is set at $100,000 per plaintiff, as per the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. In addition, you will not be eligible for punitive damages or pre-judgment interest, as is otherwise available in cases against non-government entities.
Do you need a Boston Burn Injury Lawyer?
If you have suffered a burn injury, contact us for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours, or call (617) 886-0500. If you need a burn injury lawyer outside of Massachusetts, contact us for a referral.
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