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San Diego Burn Injury Lawyer

Burn injuries can range from minor to life-threatening conditions. Whether it is caused by fires, chemicals, or hot liquids or objects, it can lead to intense pain and potential long-term health issues, which can impact one's quality of life.

These circumstances can cause financial difficulties, especially if you need multiple surgeries to recover from significant bodily damage. Burn victims who have been harmed due to someone else's negligence are entitled to sue to obtain compensation.

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our San Diego burn injury attorneys are available 24/7 to take a look at your case. With over 150 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases, we are confident that our team will deliver favorable results.

We run on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that you owe us nothing until we settle your case. To schedule a free consultation, we welcome you to get in touch with us by calling (619) 789-4494 or filling out our easy contact form.

Firefighters putting out a brush fire.

San Diego Burn Injury Statistics

A burn injury-related study shared on the National Library of Medicine provided details on emergency department (ED) visits relating to this form of bodily damage. It goes on to mention the following:

  • Each year, more than 400,000 patients are admitted to the ED due to burn injuries.
  • Between 2009 to 2014, 794,203,110 ED visits were made.
  • 50 percent of adult patients suffered from burns on high-risk body areas, including the eyes, face, head, neck, hands, or airway.
  • The average age of burn injury patients was 40 years old, and 47 percent were female.

In terms of thermal burns, the risk of getting injured or killed is not the same for everyone. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, only certain groups will react severely to fire and skin contact. They also compiled statistics dated back to 2021 that discusses additional findings, like how:

  • Men accounted for 63.8 percent of deaths and 61.4 percent of injuries, whereas women were involved in 26.2 percent of fatalities and 38.6 percent of bodily damage.
  • Cooking was the leading cause of residential and nonresidential building fires.

Common Types of Burns

Several types of elements can contribute to a burn injury. Below, we will explore each kind and what symptoms are expected to appear.

Thermal Burns

A thermal burn is the most common type of burn injury. It occurs after close contact with flames or hot objects or liquids. This can damage the skin and other body tissues due to excessive heat exposure.

Radiation Burns

Radiation burns may appear after you are impacted by radiation. This includes cancer-related medical treatments, accidents including radioactive substances, or a nuclear event. Those who suffer from this type of burn injury are expected to have scarring, a higher risk of developing cancer in the affected site, and differences in skin texture and pigmentation.

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns happen when you interact with harsh materials, like bleach or disinfectants. People who use chemicals for work-related purposes are at a high risk of sustaining such an injury. Younger children may also put themselves in a dangerous position if they notice a particular household object that contains toxins since their curiosity will influence them to touch or consume it.

Electrical Burns

You are likely to experience an electrical burn if you touch power sources, like outlets or wiring. Typically, external and internal injuries are reported. A burnt mark may appear on the stricken area. Other parts that may be subject to damage include the:

  • Muscles,
  • Nerves,
  • Blood cells, and
  • Organs.

Classification of Burns

Burn injuries are divided into separate categories that distinguish one from the other based on its severity and depth. In the following sections, we will present each classification and what it can do to the skin.

First-Degree Burns

A first-degree burn, also referred to as a superficial burn, is the least severe type of burn. They only affect the outer layer of the skin (epidermis), and do not usually require medical care. However, if it is a large wound that is causing you pain, you should visit your doctor to get it treated properly. Besides that, this type of burn usually has mild symptoms, which include:

  • Redness,
  • Swelling, and
  • Skin peeling.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns (partial thickness) impact the epidermis and the dermis, which is the second layer of the skin. Symptoms associated with this form of bodily damage include:

  • Severe pain,
  • Blisters,
  • Seeping wound, and
  • Skin discoloration, like white, dark red, or deep brown marks, on the affected area.

A second-degree burn can become dangerous if it occurs on the:

  • Joints,
  • Face,
  • Hands,
  • Genitals, or
  • Buttocks.

To avoid getting a serious infection, you will need to seek medical attention soon after the burn has settled. Your doctor will examine the area and create a treatment regimen to help with your recovery.

Third-Degree Burns

A third-degree burn (full thickness) destroys the epidermis and dermis. The impacted region may appear:

  • White,
  • Stiff,
  • Leathery, or
  • Tan.

If you endure this type of burn injury, you are likely to feel no sensation since the nerve endings have been eliminated. Skin grafts may also be required to heal the wounded area.

What to Do After a Burn Injury

Woman with blue gloves wrapping a bandage around a man's hand.

Necessary actions you should consider doing after a burn injury will vary depending on the severity of the wound. First and foremost, you should get treated to avoid getting an infection. If you experienced minor damage to the skin, the following at-home remedies are typically used:

  • Aloe vera,
  • Antibiotic ointment, or
  • Cool water or compress.

However, if you sustained moderate to severe burns, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Potential treatment methods that may be done to assist with the healing process include:

  • Multiple surgeries,
  • Medical treatment, and
  • Occupational or physical therapy.

If your burn injury was caused by someone else's negligence, you may pursue legal action against them to seek damages. You will need to collect the evidence listed below to submit a strong personal injury claim:

  • Photographs of your injury, damages, and where the incident occurred,
  • Witness statements,
  • A copy of your medical bills or receipts,
  • A copy of the incident report (if it occurred in a public setting), and
  • Health records pertaining to the services you received to treat your burn injury.

Once you have obtained these documents, you should hire a San Diego burn injury lawyer to assist you. They will evaluate your case based on what is presented, identify the liable party, and figure out what steps should be taken to ensure you get fair compensation.

Who Is Liable for a Burn Injury?

Determining liability in a burn injury case will require you to prove negligence. This includes incorporating the elements listed below:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care,
  • The defendant breached their duty of care, and
  • You, the plaintiff, sustained financial and/or emotional losses as a result.

A burn injury can be caused by several factors. In the sections below, we will dive into what potential parties may be found at fault for such a case.

Property Owner

Property owners are legally responsible for the condition of their premises. They are required to maintain safe conditions when visitors are present. If they fail to warn others of potential hazards or do not resolve the problem within a reasonable amount of time, they can face disciplinary action for any burn injuries (or other bodily damage) that occur.


If you sustained a burn injury at work, you may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. The insurance company will provide compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Once you accept these incentives, you will waive your right to sue your employer for damages. However, in some cases, you can take legal action against your employer if they:

  • Do not offer workers' compensation insurance, or
  • Portrayed gross negligence that led to your burn injury.

Manufacturing Company

Burn injuries caused by faulty products may put liability on the manufacturer, distributor, or other entities associated with the chain of distribution. Product liability cases usually involve the following:

  • Defective product manufacturing,
  • Flawed product design, or
  • No warning signs or inadequate instructions.

Government Entity

A government entity can be held responsible for a burn injury if:

  • Dangerous conditions were present on government-owned property,
  • Public utility systems were not properly maintained, or
  • A police car or fire truck caused a car accident that led to vehicle fires.

How Long Do You Have to File a Burn Injury Claim?

You will be given two years from the date of when your burn injury occurred or was discovered to file a claim. Although you are given a good amount of time to pursue compensation, you should act immediately. Be sure to collect as much evidence as you can and find an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you.

Burn Injuries and Wrongful Death

A cemetery statue hand holding a rose.

Burn injuries can cause wrongful death if the victim endured severe burns that progressively became fatal. The decedent's estate or surviving family may sue the negligent individual or entity to seek compensation.

Under California's wrongful death "one-action rule," only one lawsuit can be filed against the liable party. This will allow the court to determine a resolution in a timely manner without the need to handle multiple submissions that resemble one another.

Common damages that are awarded in such a case include:

  • Medical bills,
  • Funeral and burial costs,
  • Mental anguish,
  • Loss of financial support, and
  • Loss of consortium.

What Damages Are Available in a Burn Injury Lawsuit?

Damages available in a burn injury lawsuit will vary for each person due to unique factors that may affect the settlement. Generally, economic damages and non-economic damages are awarded. In rare cases, punitive damages could also be given.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are financial expenses you experienced as a result of the burn injury. This includes:

  • Lost wages,
  • Past and future medical expenses, and
  • Property damage.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are non-monetary losses you incurred, like:

  • Emotional distress,
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are given in nearly 5 percent of verdicts. It is granted on top of compensatory damages. This is done to punish the defendant for their egregious conduct and to prevent similar actions from continuing in the future. You will have to prove how they exhibited malice, fraud, or intentional harm to receive such damages.

Our San Diego Burn Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help

Burn injury victims who endured financial or emotional losses due to a negligent person or entity may submit a personal injury claim to recover compensation. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we are readily available to guide you through the legal process.

To schedule a free case evaluation with a San Diego burn injury lawyer, we welcome you to reach out by calling (619) 789-4494 or completing our quick online contact form.

More Resources

Restaurant Accident Burn Injuries

5 Common Places For Burn Injuries In California

Chemical Burn Injuries

Tanning Salon And Burn Injury Liability

5 Steps To Take To Win A Burn Injury Claim

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