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Burn injuries have been known to be some of the most excruciating injuries a person can experience. Not only can the accident that causes your burn injuries be traumatic, but the recovery process can be particularly painful for burn injury victims. If you have suffered severe burn injuries caused by the negligent actions of another, you may have the right to financial compensation. 

An experienced Los Angeles burn injury lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers could help you get the most out of your claim. Contact our office today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free consultation.

How to Build Your Burn Injury Accident Claim

Burn injuries are among the most painful and devastating injuries anyone can possibly experience. Due to the severity of these types of injuries, medical treatment will often require extensive treatment, costly plastic surgery, and victims may still be left with permanent scarring. Many burn injury victims also suffer from excruciating pain and psychological scars that make it nearly impossible to ever live a normal life.

Los Angeles is a hot spot for fires, as well as products and activities that can cause burns. Southern California is a desert land susceptible to wildfires, and according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s Statistics, there were a total of 1,291,500 fires throughout the country, which resulted in 16,600 injuries and 3,704 deaths in 2019.

However, fires aren’t the only cause of burn injuries. A burn injury can be caused by many circumstances, such as a product defect, a workplace injury, or because of someone’s negligence. In essence, the individual or company responsible for a burn injury will generally be held liable to the victim for his or her losses.

Who Can File a Burn Injury Claim in Los Angeles?

According to recent data, which comes courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 486,000 burn injuries that required significant medical treatment occurred in 2011. The total number of deaths was more than 3,000 people in that same year.

A burn injury is technically a type of personal injury, and victims are entitled to file a personal injury claim to seek money damages for their physical injuries and financial losses.

However, if you hope to win your Los Angeles burn injury claim, you will need to show that someone else’s negligence or misconduct is the cause of your burn injury. The type of accident that you were involved in could be a key indicator in revealing who is responsible for the accident that caused your severe burns.

Common Types of Accidents That Cause Burn Injuries

There are virtually endless types of accidents that have the potential to cause burn injuries in Los Angeles. However, there are some types of accidents known for causing catastrophic burn injuries more frequently than others. These include:

These are just a few of the more common types of accidents and incidents that have been known to produce burn injuries in Los Angeles. Still, several of these accidents occur with alarming frequency. These include premises liability claims, defective product lawsuits, and burn injuries at work.

More About Premises Liability Burn Injury Claims

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.

Burn Injuries Caused by Defective Products in Los Angeles

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 or proper instructions

In order to successfully pursue a product liability lawsuit after a burn injury, a victim must prove that the:

  • Burn injury victim used this product in a reasonable way
  • Defendant designed, manufactured, or sold a defective product
  • Product defect was the significant factor that caused a burn injury victim’s losses
  • Product already had a design, manufacturing, or warning defect when it left the defendant

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.

Los Angeles Burn Injuries at Work

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
  • If that employer doesn’t have any workers’ compensation insurance when the accident took place

How to Win Your Los Angeles Burn Injury Claim

If you are hoping to bring the liable party to justice for your burn injuries, you will need to show that their negligence or misconduct is the cause of your accident.

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; and
  • The defendant’s failure to comply with their duty of care was the significant factor that caused a burn injury victim’s losses.

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 in very sensitive areas, it’s likely that Bob would also qualify for additional damages to compensate him for his pain, suffering, and physical disfigurement.  

How Shared Fault Laws Could Impact Your Burn Injury Claim in Los Angeles

You might be surprised when you attempt to hold a liable party accountable for your burn injuries, and they argue that you are partially at-fault for the Injuries used to stand. Arguing that you are partially at-fault is common in personal injury claims of any kind. 

This is because of the fact that California follows a pure comparative negligence system. Here, sharing fault for your injuries will result in the reduction of your injury settlement. The amount your injury settlement will be reduced will be dependent on the portion of liability assigned to you. 

For example, if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and were found 10 percent responsible for your injuries due to failure to wear a safety belt, and the jury awarded you $1 million for your damages, your million dollar burn injury settlement would be reduced by 10 percent, leaving you with a total injury settlement of $900,000. 

As can be seen, sharing even a moderate amount of liability could have a dramatic impact on the amount of compensation you can be awarded in your Los Angeles burn injury claim. If you hope to get the most out of your case, it is critical to protect the way liability is assigned in your case. Make sure you have a trusted legal advocate on your side who will ensure fault is accurately evaluated in your Los Angeles burn injury insurance and civil claims.

Statute of Limitations for Los Angeles Burn Injury Claims

Burn injury claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit. Here, your lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires if you hope to have your case heard in the Los Angeles civil court system. Under the law, the statute of limitations for burn injury claims is just two years. Two years may seem like more than enough time to move forward with your case, but the sooner you get started with help from an attorney, the more likely it is that you will have the evidence needed to support your case. 

Failure to file your Los Angeles burn injury lawsuit before the statute of limitation expires will result in your losing the opportunity to be awarded compensation through the civil courts. Unfortunately, the exact date the statute of limitations will expire for your case can vary considerably depending on the specific circumstances of your accident. 

You can avoid the statute of limitations becoming an issue in your case in two ways. First, be sure to contact a lawyer for help. Second, do not wait to contact a lawyer for help until it is too late. As soon as your healthcare providers have deemed you medically stable, it is in your best interests to get a burn injury attorney in Los Angeles on your side and work to determine who is responsible for your injuries.

Compensation for Burn Injury Victims in Los Angeles 

Burn injury victims’ lives are often turned upside down by their injuries. Fortunately, when someone else is responsible for causing your injuries, they should be compelled to compensate you for every loss you suffered. This does not just include economic damages, which consist of your financial losses. You also have the right to recover non-economic damages which encompass all of the ways your life has been affected by your injuries. 

Your attorney will need to separate your damages into each of these categories to ensure every loss is accounted for. Some of the more common types of economic damages you could be awarded in a Los Angeles burn injury claim include:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Unexpected childcare fees
  • Costs of household maintenance and upkeep
  • Hospital bills
  • Costs of prescription medications
  • Costs of medical equipment
  • Medical treatment and care fees
  • Costs of skin grafts
  • Occupational and physical therapy expenses
  • Other burn injury-related bills
  • Costs of increased insurance premiums
  • Property damages, where applicable

Non-economic damages are just as valuable, if not more so, than economic damages. Some of the more common types of non-economic damages awarded in Los Angeles burn injury claims include:

  • Diminished quality of life
  • Skin scarring and disfigurement
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship and love
  • Loss of guidance and support
  • Loss of advice and society
  • Reputational damages

You may also have the opportunity to recover punitive damages after a burn injury. California law allows judges to award punitive damages when they find the defendant’s actions egregious, abhorrent, or grossly negligent. They are awarded beyond your compensatory economic and non-economic damages as a way of punishing the liable party for their actions. 

Punitive damages also send a message to the public. The Los Angeles civil court system will not tolerate actions of this nature, and toward punitive damages in the hopes of discouraging future would-be negligent parties.

Los Angeles Burn Injury FAQ

The burn injury claims process can be confusing, overwhelming, and stressful. When you have already been through so much, you need answers and support. In the hopes of helping you through this challenging time in your life, we have provided the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding burn injury claims in Los Angeles below. Any additional questions you may have regarding your burn injury claim can be discussed during your free consultation.

Will I Have to Go to Court?

It is possible that your case will need to go to court. It depends on whether you are able to secure an injury settlement through the insurance company that adequately meets your needs. Remember, insurance companies only provide compensation for certain types in amounts of economic damages. This might include coverage of your medical bills and property damages, but what about the rest of your economic damages? What about your non-economic damages? 

When the insurance company does not cover your economic damages in full, or refuses to cover any of your non-economic losses, the best way to recover maximum compensation in your case may be to bring your burn injury claim before a judge. With a powerful legal advocate on your side, you can feel better about bringing your keys to court.

Can I Sue if a Family Member Passed Away From Fatal Burns?

In some instances, or if a person gets trapped in a fire or if their burn injuries become severely infected, they can die. According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, there was an average of 1.1 deaths and 3.6 injuries per 1,000 fires in 2018.

Surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim if a family member was killed in a fire accident. A wrongful death lawsuit allows certain surviving family members to recover damages and also hold the wrongdoer liable for their actions.

In the majority of wrongful death cases, the surviving family members who are entitled to file a wrongful death claim include:

  • The spouse 
  • The children of the deceased 
  • The registered domestic partner 
  • The grandchildren of the deceased, if the children have already passed 
  • Any person who is entitled to the decedent’s property according to California intestate succession laws

Available damages after a wrongful death claim may include:

  • Burial costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of companionship, support, affection, and guidance
  • Loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided had they not been killed

What Does Burn Injury Treatment Cost in Los Angeles?

Given the severity of burn injuries, medical bills tend to be very high. Even with the best medical insurance coverage, most severe burn injury victims will have a hard time paying for necessary medical care. 

It has been estimated that even a moderate burn injury will cost a victim over $200,000. More serious injuries typically cost over $1.5 million, and that’s if everything goes relatively well. The most severe burn injuries with serious complications can cost an individual over $10 million.

These types of injuries will almost always require long term, specialized medical treatment such as spending time in a burn unit. Serious burn injuries also carry a much heightened risk of the following complications:

  • Infections
  • Skin graft failure
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Psychological/emotional issues

What Does It Cost to Hire a Burn Injury Lawyer?

You may be surprised to find that the cost of hiring a burn injury lawyer in Los Angeles is far less than you might have thought. Many respected burn injury attorneys will work with injury victims on contingency. 

Contingency agreements do not require injury victims to pay anything up front or out of their own pocket. In fact, your burn injury attorney will absorb all of the risks of pursuing your case. You will not be expected to pay your attorney anything unless or until they produce a recovery in your case. 

Your contingency agreement will outline the percentage of your burn injury settlement that will go to your attorney’s fees. If your attorney does not win your case, you will not be on the hook for any of their time, effort, or money spent building your case. In this way, there is little risk in reaching out to a burn injury lawyer to find out what legal options may be available to you.

Can I File a Claim on Behalf of My Child?

If your child suffered catastrophic burn injuries in a Los Angeles accident, they still have the same rights as adults to financial compensation. Minors may not be able to pursue legal action of their own accord, but with help from their parents or legal guardian, they can secure the compensation that is rightfully theirs. 

Keep in mind that children’s lives may be considerably impacted by burn injuries of this nature. Your attorney will seek to recover compensation that considers their current and future damages so your family can be prepared to support them no matter how their burns may impact their lives well into the future.

What Should I Expect From the Burn Injury Insurance Claims Process?

Unfortunately, dealing with the insurance company following a burn injury in Los Angeles may prove to be more challenging than you thought. Although this process should go smoothly, insurance adjusters are responsible for minimizing the amount they are required to pay out on your claim. After all, the insurance company will lose money by paying out on your claim. 

For this reason, you need to understand that the insurance company is not on your side. They will likely be looking for opportunities to reduce your benefits or deny your claim altogether. You can avoid being taken advantage of by profit-driven insurance adjusters by having your attorney step in and handle your burn injury insurance claim negotiations.

Get Help From a Burn Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles

Your burn injuries may have had a devastating impact on your life. However, with help from a dedicated Los Angeles burn injury lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers, you could bring the liable party to justice. 

Seek maximum compensation for your damages when you contact our office for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. Get started on your case as soon as today when you call our office at 213-927-3700 or complete our quick contact form to schedule yours.

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