Some of the most common burn injury causes include:
2.1 Premises Liability And Burn Injuries
A property owner may be held liable if a burn accident happens because of a hazard on their property. According to California premises liability law, all property owners and occupiers are legally required to maintain their property in reasonably safe conditions.
This means that every property owner has a duty of care to maintain their property, repair any hazardous conditions, or at least provide adequate warnings about any hazardous conditions on their property.
Let’s consider an example: Bill recently signed a rental agreement. The rental agreement mentions that the landlord is responsible for providing Bill with a working stove. Soon after moving in, Bill starts cooking a meal.
Through no fault of his own, the stove malfunctions and badly burns Bill’s hands. In this example, the landlord was responsible for providing Bill with a safe, working stove. The landlord would therefore be held liable for Bill’s injuries and losses.
2.2 Negligence And Burn Injuries
Negligence is essentially a wrongful act committed by an individual, company, or group that causes harm to someone else. In order to successfully pursue a burn injury claim, a victim must prove that:
- The defendant owed the burn injury victim a duty of care
- The defendant failed to comply with this duty of care
- The defendant’s failure to comply with their duty of care was the significant factor that caused a burn injury victim’s losses
California is a comparative liability state, which means that a burn injury victim may still recover some damages even if he or she is found partially liable for the accident. A burn injury victim’s available damages will of course be reduced by his or her degree of fault.
Let’s consider an example of negligence and burn injuries: Mary is having drinks at a local beach to celebrate the July 4th holiday. Normally, she wouldn’t be interested in fireworks, but because she’s been drinking, she lights a few fireworks. She then throws them in the direction of her friend Bob. Mary has no intention of harming Bob. In fact, she thinks it would be a hilarious practical joke to scare him.
Unfortunately, one of the fireworks lands in a bonfire which causes an explosion that burns Bob’s hands and face. Mary didn’t want to hurt her friend Bob, yet her negligent actions caused Bob very serious injuries.
In this example, Bob is entitled to file a claim against Mary. And Mary would almost certainly be held liable for Bob’s injuries and applicable damages.
Mary would likely have to pay for Bob’s medical bills and lost wages. And given that Bob’s burns happened on very sensitive areas, it’s likely that Bob would also qualify for additional damages to compensate him for his pain and suffering and physical disfigurement.
2.3 Faulty Products And Burn Injuries
A company who produces or sells a defective product that causes a burn injury may be held liable for any losses caused. According to product liability law, anyone involved in the chain of distribution — including product designers, manufacturers, or sellers — can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by the faulty product
Strict liability cases typically revolve around:
- Defects in the design process
- Defects in the manufacturing process
- Lack of adequate warnings about a hazard or proper instructions about how to safely use that product
In order to successfully pursue a product liability lawsuit after a burn injury, a victim must prove that the:
- Defendant designed, manufactured, or sold a defective product
- Product already had a design, manufacturing, or warning defect when it left the defendant
- Burn injury victim used this product in a reasonable way
- Product defect was the significant factor that caused a burn injury victim’s losses
Let’s consider the following example of a burn caused by a faulty product: Imagine that Jose purchased a brand new e-scooter. The e-scooter seems to be working just fine. However, while Jose is going for a ride, the scooter suddenly bursts into flames and Jose experiences severe burns to his legs and lower body.
Jose contacts a lawyer who helps him determine that the e-scooter was defective. However, the e-scooter manufacturer denies liability. The store that sold Jose the defective scooter also claims they had no idea about the product defect and are therefore not responsible.
However, all Jose really needs to do to successfully pursue a product liability claim is prove the defendant designed, manufactured, or sold a defective e-scooter, that the e-scooter already had a design, manufacturing, or warning defect when it left the defendant, that Jose used the e-scooter in a reasonable way, and that the e-scooter’s defect caused his injuries.
2.4 Injured On The Job
If you suffered a burn injury while at work, you will have to file a worker’s compensation claim in order to recover damages. An employee is not required to file a lawsuit or prove an employer’s negligence. Generally speaking, non-economic damages are not available.
An employee who suffered a burn injury on the job may have the option of filing a personal injury claim but only if their accident was:
- Caused by a third party
- Caused by deliberately harmful acts
- Made worse by an act or circumstance which the employer concealed by fraud, or
- If that employer doesn’t have any workers’ compensation insurance when the accident took place