Austin Burn Injury Lawyer
Why It’s Important to Work with a Burn Injury Lawyer
A burn injury, with its pain, suffering, and financial losses, can upend your life. Sometimes lengthy recuperation times force you to miss work, render you incapable of providing care for loved ones, and cause you to worry about paying the continually mounting medical bills. Those are reasons why it’s crucial for Texans to contact an Austin burn injury lawyer promptly after receiving medical care for a burn.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half a million people seek medical treatment for burn injuries every year. Of the more than 486,000 people treated at emergency treatment facilities and nearby hospitals, approximately 40,000 required extensive treatment and care in specialized “burn centers.” Sadly, burn injuries ranked as the fourth highest cause of unintentional injury death among children in Texas.
If you have suffered a burn injury due to someone else’s carelessness, it would be fundamentally unfair to fall behind on your mortgage or car payments or take on medical expenses while the negligent party manages to escape responsibility.
Fire Isn’t The Only Cause of Burn Injury Our Lawyers Litigate On Your Behalf
Burns vary greatly in severity — from minor injuries that heal in a few days to major injuries that cause other health problems and require long-term rehabilitation. And while many burns are the result of accidents, those accidents are often the result of carelessness or negligence.
An experienced Austin burn injury attorney typically meets with victims and their families who sustain injuries due to a wide range of root causes. Burn injuries commonly occur when everyday people come in contact with hot or corrosive material. House fires and extreme heat in the workplace routinely send people to the emergency room or hospital.
Faulty Electrical Wiring Can Lead to Household Fires that Cause Severe Burn Injuries
Household fires and those in apartment complexes may occur due to malfunctioning electrical systems, either within the building’s walls or within its lighting equipment. The National Fire Protection Association reports that local fire departments respond to more than 1.3 million fires annually. House fires resulted in 73 percent of all civilian fire injuries. Electrical fires may be more likely in homes and multi-family complexes with old wiring and circuitry not designed to accommodate several electrical devices.
In January 2021, 29 people were displaced from a North Austin apartment complex when a fire ripped through the structure. Officials attributed the blaze to a malfunctioning water heater. In Bexar County, firefighters were forced to evacuate 50 residents from an apartment building during the February 2021 deep freeze that caused power outages and broken water lines. First responders didn’t have access to hydrant water because the system was frozen solid, putting emergency crew members and residents at heightened risk of injury.
Our Burn Injury Lawyers Help People Hurt by Chemical and Electrical Burns
Other incidents typically include skin contact with chemical agents, high voltage, and the presence of radiation that may damage skin cells. It’s also not uncommon for workers to inhale extreme heat and toxic chemicals when companies fail to provide personal protective equipment mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Burned lungs may call for extended hospitalization and extensive surgeries in work-related injuries. The CDC published a report highlighting the ongoing health and safety threats in the U.S.
- An American dies from fire-related injuries every 120 minutes.
- A burn injury occurs nearly twice every hour.
- Upwards of 20,000 people sustain burn injuries that cover 25 percent of their bodies.
- Close to 4,500 people die from burn injuries and another 10,000 from related infections.
In many instances, the physical injuries will heal over time. However, the emotional trauma may never go away. That’s why our burn injury lawyers work diligently to help injured community members secure compensation and hold irresponsible parties accountable.
Our Burn Injury Lawyers Represent People At Higher Risk
Children and elderly adults have a higher risk for burns than other populations, and they also are at increased risk of injuries caused by scalding hot water or liquids. In children, that risk is often associated with curiosity — they may reach for a pot on a stovetop or pull on a tablecloth, causing a hot substance to tip over onto them.
When children and older adults are dependent on others for their daily care, a negligent or inattentive caregiver is a severe threat to their safety. Several incidents in recent history highlight this danger:
- Officials shut down a daycare in Colorado after a 14-month-old boy suffered severe burns while at the facility — a crockpot of scalding water had been left within reach, and he grabbed the electrical cord and pulled it over onto himself.
- A worker at an assisted living facility in Pennsylvania faced homicide charges for spoon-feeding an elderly resident cereal so hot that it severely burned the inside of his mouth. After a three-day hospitalization, the resident stopped eating and subsequently died.
- A babysitter in Massachusetts left two toddlers in a bathtub unattended, and they suffered severe burns when one of them turned on the hot water tap.
Families assume caregivers will keep their loved ones safe. When the opposite happens, family members may feel betrayed. The justice system does, in some instances, provide a means of holding negligent caregivers accountable — both through criminal charges and in civil cases that result in the award of monetary damages to the injured parties and their families. If a caregiver caused serious harm to your loved one, contact an Austin burn injury attorney today at (512) 732-2727.
What Are The Medical Outcomes Burn Victims Can Expect?
Burns can be complex injuries that cause other health problems, such as infections, including the life-threatening blood infection known as sepsis. Damage to blood vessels may interfere with the heart’s ability to move blood through the body, and burn injuries may cause a shortening or tightening of skin, muscles, and tendons, which can dislocate joints and lead to disability.
The University of New Mexico Burn Center classifies burn severity by degrees:
- First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis. These burns are usually dry, red, and painful, but they typically heal in three to five days. Occasionally, hospitalization may be necessary if the burn victim is in severe pain or has a fluid imbalance.
- Second-degree burns may be classified as partial thickness — affecting the epidermis, and parts of the underlying layer of skin called the dermis — or full thickness, which more deeply penetrates the dermis. Full-thickness burns may require surgery and skin grafts. Partial-thickness burns may heal in roughly 10 days to three weeks and cause some scarring.
- Third-degree burns penetrate and destroy all layers of the skin, turning skin black or white. While these burns are much more severe than burns of a lesser degree, they are often painless due to the destruction of nerve endings.
- Fourth-degree burns are often not recognized as a separate category of burns, and a health practitioner may instead describe them as the most severe form of third-degree burns. These injuries penetrate muscle and bone.
When burns are severe, a patient may require treatment at a specialty burn center, such as the Burn & Reconstructive Center of Texas at The Medical Center of Plano. The center’s operating rooms and intensive care units have special climate controls to regulate temperature and humidity because burn patients often have difficulty maintaining body temperature.
According to the American Burn Association, patients treated at specialty burn centers have a 96 percent survival rate, but their quality of life may be diminished. When a person is forced to undergo multiple surgeries to repair burn damage or is left permanently scarred or disfigured, the mental anguish a burn victim experiences can be extreme and life-altering.
How Can An Austin Burn Injury Lawyer Secure You A Settlement?
Calculating, negotiating, and litigating burn injury settlements in Texas involves wide-reaching factors. The complicated process requires an experienced burn injury lawyer to make a persuasive case on your behalf based on hard numbers and an understanding of the qualitative impact on your life. Texas allows injured people to seek compensation based on three types of damages — economic, non-economic, and punitive.
- Economic Loss: Under Texas law, burn victims can pursue complete compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and related expenses. As experienced burn injury lawyers, we urge you to get the treatment and care necessary to recover fully. Too often, people don’t get the medical care they need because they feel the pressure of medical costs. Your health and well-being are more valuable than money.
- Non-Economic Losses: Burns come with sometimes excruciating pain and suffering, and you are entitled to monetary compensation for that harrowing experience. Skin grafts, scarring, emotional harm, and disfigurement cannot be undone in many cases. But a powerful legal claim can at least get you some closure in the form of financial compensation.
- Punitive Damages: This type of compensation is not necessarily about vindication or retribution for your debilitating burn injury. Unless reckless parties are held fully accountable, they may do it again. Punitive damages go a long way toward preventing other innocent people from suffering the same fate.
Burn injury victims sometimes struggle through years of recovery. But it’s critical to contact a burn injury lawyer promptly after receiving medical treatment. In Texas, injured people have only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact Our Trusted Austin Burn Injury Lawyer for Help
Securing the full, fair compensation for burn victims requires a complex understanding of Texas personal injury law and the devastating impact such tragedies have on families. The cost of long-term care and rehabilitation must be factored into a claim that also accounts for diminished quality of life and issues unique to your circumstances. Our burn injury lawyers can do just that for you. It would be fundamentally unfair for you to suffer significant losses and shoulder the financial burdens caused by someone else’s negligence.