Were You Injured in a Burn Accident in West Palm Beach?
Reportedly, one of the most intensely painful types of medical treatment one can receive is the treatment of a burn injury, which often involves removing the damaged skin to provide new skin the opportunity to grow in its place. In West Palm Beach some of the biggest sources of burn injuries are in our homes and other residential or commercial properties, as well as on the busy and often congested roadways after car accidents.
If you have suffered burn injuries in West Palm Beach, the experienced West Palm Beach burn injury lawyers at The Shiner Law Group don’t need to tell you how painful or expensive this type of injury can be. We can tell you, however, that you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury.
The Shiner Law Group has been assisting the injured throughout Florida for many years now. If you would like to know more about the personal injury claims process or how our firm can help you with your claim, be sure to contact Shiner Law Group now for a free case evaluation.
Table of Contents
Causes of West Palm Beach Burn Accidents and Injuries
There are many different ways that you can find yourself in a situation where you have an injury that is a burn and an accident that you have been through that has resulted in personal injury. The causes can vary from case to case.
Work related injuries
You may find that you are in a working environment that requires you to work with tools, machines and even chemicals that could potentially cause you an injury if not handled correctly. Accidents in the workplace can be extremely common. This can be down to negligence when it comes to health and safety policies being put in place by the employer. There may not have been as many regular risk assessments done, or simply the issue can be accidental where a tool or a machine malfunction.
Personal injuries in the home
Another place that you can find that you receive a burn injury is in the home. This can be more common with people unaware of temperatures of water or finding themselves exposed to a substance that can cause a burn to the skin. Even piping hot food or drink that gets spilled onto you can cause a burn injury that can be very painful and need treatment straight away.
Burns can also be acquired as you live your day to day life. We have mentioned work related injuries and also personal related injuries but you may also want to be more aware of the causes of the actual burn injury as well, which are:
- Fire – This is one of the most common ones and we can be exposed to fire in many different circumstances.
- Hot liquid or steam – This is another common way that we can become injured through a burn and we are exposed to hot liquid and steam on a daily basis.
- Hot metal, glass or other objects – An example of materials that can cause burns and injury.
- Electrical currents – Electrical currents can cause injury. Many people may be exposed to things like this in their workplace.
- Radiation, such as that from X-rays – This could be caused through a routine check or because you work in the field.
- Sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet radiation, such as a tanning bed – Would you believe that the sun can be a huge issue when it comes to burn injuries.
- Chemicals such as strong acids, lye, paint thinner or gasoline – The likelihood is that you are more exposed to these things when either taking on repairs or in the workplace.
- Abuse – Unfortunately there can be times in your life where you are in an abusive relationship and burns can often be a form of abuse in many different ways.
Types of Burn Injuries
A burn involves damage to the skin that is often the result of heat or flames.There are many types of burns, including:
- Thermal burns, which result from touching a very hot surface or coming in contact with scalding water, steam, hot metal, or direct contact with flames.
- Chemical burns, which are sustained when the skin makes contact with strong acids, solvents, or detergents.
- Electrical burns, which result from contact with an electrical current.
- Friction burns, commonly referred to as road rash, are abrasions that occur when the skin makes contact with a rough surface like a roadway during a motorcycle or bicycle accident.
- Cold burns. Just as exposure to extreme heat can result in a thermal burn, exposure to extreme cold can result in frostbite.
- Radiation burns, which are caused by exposure to the sun, X-rays, or radiation therapy.
The Severity Levels of Burns
Doctors evaluate the severity of a burn by degrees.
- First-degree burns are minor burns that only involve the top layer of skin and generally present with a reddish appearance to the skin but no blisters.
- Second-degree burns involve both the outer layer of skin, known as the epidermis, and the inner layer of skin, which is known as the dermis. Second-degree burns cause the skin to appear red and shiny, almost as if it is wet. There are generally blisters present and the skin will hurt when touched.
- Third-degree burns, also known as full-thickness burns, damage both layers of skin as well as the tissues beneath them. Often, a third-degree burn will not hurt due to the destruction of nerve endings in the skin, but will make the skin appear black, brown, white, or yellow and often has a leathery appearance.
- Fourth-degree burns are the most serious burn, resulting in damage to the skin, fat, muscles, tendons, and other body structures. This type of burn usually causes scarring and presents a higher risk of complications or even death.
Liability for West Palm Beach Burn Accidents and Injuries
The liability for the burn accidents and injuries that you have can vary from person to person and is taken on a case by case basis. It is important to understand that it has much to do with the circumstances surrounding the burn injury as well as the actual injury that you have got. This is when a burn injury lawyer can best advise you on the next steps that you can take when it comes to your case and filing a complaint. Some people can often be a little fearful of pursuing a claim, because the liability may be within the workplace and it is often a situation that you don’t want to change. However, many businesses and public places will have insurances in place that will angle such claims to take place.
Filing a Claim for a West Palm Beach Burn Accident
There are different laws that govern the process but the main steps can remain the same when it comes to filing a claim for a burn accident. You will start by making contact with the place where you obtained the burn injury. This might be your workplace or another business or public area. You will also need to provide proof of what happened, such as witness reports, photographic evidence of the injury, and also pictures and statements that backup the version of events that you are trying to relay. A great tip is to also ensure that you keep copies of this so that you can refer back to certain documents if any are brought into questions during the filing process. A burn injury lawyer will be best to advise you on the next steps.
How Burn Injuries Occur in West Palm Beach
As previously stated, the most common places for individuals to incur burn injuries are inside the home and the car. In burns in the home, the most common area for those burns to occur is in the kitchen. This is because, of all places in the home, the kitchen is the one area where the top causes of burn injuries all come together, including heat, electricity, water, and grease.
There are more than 40,000 homes in West Palm Beach, and each contains a kitchen. However, the home is not the only place where a kitchen fire or an accident resulting in a burn injury can occur. There are more than 300 restaurants in the city, each containing the same potential for burn injuries. Additionally, there are hotels, nursing homes, hospitals, and other businesses with a kitchen where a burn injury can occur.
Traffic accidents are another major source of burn injuries, as the vehicles involved contain gasoline and other materials that are both flammable and caustic when they come in contact with the skin. There are also many sources of heat involved in motor vehicle accidents, and contact with the skin and any one of these heat sources can result in a burn.
How Are Burn Injuries Treated?
Most first- and second-degree burns heal well with home care, provided they do not cover a large part of the individual’s body or occur in areas particularly prone to complications, such as the hands, feet, groin, or face.
Those suffering third- or fourth-degree burns often are treated at specialized burn centers. Burn centers treat those with a high risk of complications, burns over large parts of their body, particularly serious or deep burns, or burns caused by chemical or electrical sources can seek treatment by those who are solely devoted to providing care for burn patients.
Some of the treatments provided in a burn center or a hospital’s burn unit include:
- Water-based treatments, such as mist therapy, to clean the wound.
- IV fluids to prevent organ failure from fluid loss from the burn injury.
- Pain and anxiety medications, which are particularly helpful during dressing changes.
- Burn ointments, which are applied topically to prevent infection and help the wound to close.
- Dressings, which often consist of dry gauze only and prevent bacteria from entering the open wound.
- IV antibiotics to fight infections caused by bacteria entering the wound.
- A tetanus shot.
- Skin grafting and other surgeries as necessary to improve mobility for the patient or to reduce the risk of scarring.
Common Complications of Burn Injuries
As with any serious injury, your immediate treatment is not the only concern. You also must prevent complications that can result in additional medical conditions or even death.
The complications commonly experienced with burn injuries include:
- A bacterial infection that can enter the bloodstream and cause a potentially fatal condition known as sepsis. This condition often presents as myriad serious, life-threatening issues, including organ failure.
- Loss of bodily fluids, including the body’s blood volume.
- A dangerously low body temperature.
- Breathing problems related to the intake of heat or smoke into the lungs.
- An overgrowth of scar tissue creates rigid areas, and can decrease mobility if the scar tissue surrounds a joint.
The Process of Obtaining Compensation for Your West Palm Beach Burn Injuries
An individual can suffer a burn injury in many ways that involve the carelessness or recklessness of someone else, including:
- Burn injuries occurring due to a fire in a rented home where the landlord failed to provide smoke detectors or an adequate number of exits or failed to replace faulty wiring or other known hazards.
- Burn injuries occurring at a job site where the victim was working. Most workplace injuries are compensated through the employer’s worker’s compensation policy, not through a personal injury lawsuit. However, the personal injury claims process is available to address the expenses and impacts of a workplace injury in some cases.
- Burn injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident that a negligent driver caused.
- Burn injuries sustained from a defective product such as an appliance that caught on fire, or defective auto parts that lead to an automobile accident.
To seek compensation for your injuries, you must be able to show that someone other than yourself was responsible for causing the accident.
Once you and your attorney determine all sources of liability for your accident, it is time to look for available insurance resources to provide your compensation. The availability of an insurance policy is actually one of the most important factors in your case, as insurance pays nearly all personal injury settlements and awards.
Making Your Demand
Your legal compensation claim often begins when your attorney submits a demand package to the at-fault party and/or their insurance provider. This demand package contains the facts of a case and the claim for the full value of your case as determined by the expenses and impacts you have already incurred as well as those you will likely incur.
Upon receiving your demand, the recipient has three options:
- Accept liability for the claim and issue payment;
- Deny the claim and notify the claimant, along with a stated reason for the denial.
- Offer an amount that is below the value of the case.
Negotiating Your Case
Negotiations in a West Palm Beach burn injury claim generally start in earnest once the insurance provider makes a settlement offer. Initial offers are often ridiculously low for the expenses and impacts of the injury, but serve as a jumping-off point.
Because insurance companies are in the business to make money, and one of the ways they do this is by avoiding large payouts on claims, your attorney is prepared for tactics such as:
- Claiming the injured person was partially or completely liable for the burn injuries.
- Claiming that the policy in question does not cover the incident.
- Claiming that the source of the victim’s pain is a pre-existing condition that the insured’s policy does not cover.
At some point within the four-year statutory deadline in which to file a personal injury claim after an accident has occurred, you and your attorney will determine that it is time to file your lawsuit. Your attorney may continue to negotiate with the insurance adjuster even as they prepare your case for court by gathering the needed evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim.
If you don’t settle by the time your court date arrives, your attorney may provide litigation services. After your case, they will help you to collect your settlement or award.
Guidance Throughout the Process
One of the loneliest times in life occurs when you are injured and no one understands the stress and pain of your injury. The Shiner Law Group understands the stress, the pain, and the loneliness, and is ready to provide compassionate services, along with plenty of guidance and information that can help you face the decisions involved in your claim. We can’t take the pain of the injury away, but we are happy to stand by your side and fight for your right to compensation.
Hiring a West Palm Beach burn injury lawyer
Shiner Law Group is a law firm comprised of Florida licensed attorneys who represent injured people and those who have suffered losses as a result of someone else’s carelessness or actions. They can specialize in a burn injury and offer the best possible advice.
Injuries resulting from an accident will impact all areas of a person’s life. The attorneys at our Firm have years of experience and knowledge in helping accident victims recover much needed financial compensation. If you suffer from an injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence then you need attorneys that focus on helping people recover.
Our award-winning personal injury law firm has been successfully fighting on behalf of Floridians who have been injured in damaging circumstances. All accident victims deserve to have their rights upheld and be fairly compensated when injured. At Shiner Law Group we believe that you should be able to live your life uninterrupted. Let our attorneys fight for you!
Have You Suffered a Burn Injury in West Palm Beach? The Shiner Law Group Can Help
In just an instant, a burn injury can change your life, causing expenses you cannot afford, impacts on your mobility and your ability to earn an income, and even the inability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed. If you have suffered a West Palm Beach burn injury, we can help you make sense of the legal process of pursuing compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About West Palm Beach Burn Injuries
The members of the West Palm Beach Fire Department are 230 strong and work in nine stations throughout the city. They handle an estimated 27,000 calls for service each year. Whether your burn injuries were the result of a motor vehicle accident or a fire in a commercial building, the process of obtaining compensation for the impacts and expenses you have incurred as a result of the injuries is often overwhelming and filled with questions.
Be sure to read the answers to questions we most hear below, and then contact us for your free case evaluation.
What if it happened in a place of work where I want to continue working?
This is always going to be an emotional process to go through, but the best advice is to remember that the workplace or employer should of had processes in place and are likely able to prove that. You also need to be mindful that there are always going to be insurances and other procedures in place to cover the business, so they are likely to expect that these things will happen in time.
How long does the process take?
This can depend on the severity of the claim and also what is involved when it comes to gaining the result you are after. Some cases are clear and others will require extra work and evidence which can take time. If you are unsure then ask your Burn injury lawyer for some guidance.
How can a West Palm Beach burn injury lawyer help me obtain compensation?
A burn injury lawyer has a couple of key ingredients for resolving your case: a deep understanding of the process of obtaining compensation, and experience in the evidence needed to prove your claim.
Some of the services that a burn injury lawyer can provide to assist you in your claim include:
- A determination of all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can provide your compensation.
- The establishment of a value to your case based on the impacts and expenses you have already incurred as a result of your injury, as well as those you will likely face.
- Negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance provider in an attempt to garner a fair settlement offer for you.
- The filing of court-required paperwork within the statutory deadline for your case and attendance and representation at all pre-trial conferences and hearings.
- Gathering and organizing the evidence and witness testimony to prove your case in court.
- Litigation services, including the delivery of opening and closing arguments, the presentation of evidence, and the examination of witnesses.
- Assistance collecting your settlement or award.
What can I be compensated for in a West Palm Beach burn injury lawsuit?
Florida allows those who someone else’s carelessness or recklessness injured to recover both economic and non-economic damages. In the legal arena, the word “damage” describes a payment made in compensation for harm.
Economic damages are the compensation you receive for the expenses of your injury while non-economic damages refer to the compensation you receive for the quality-of-life impacts of your injury.
Burn injury damage claims may seek the recovery of:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage you incurred as a result of the accident
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
How do I prove who was liable for my burn injury in West Palm Beach?
The person or entity that is at fault for your West Palm Beach burn injury depends on the facts of your case. If a residential or commercial building fire burned you, the owner or possessor of the property may owe you restitution. If it resulted from a car accident, liability could fall on a negligent driver.
To prove who is responsible for your injuries, you must be able to prove the following elements in your case:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. “Duty of care” refers to the actions that a reasonable person would take in a given set of circumstances to prevent harm to the health and property of others.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. This refers to actions that the at-fault party took that violated the duty of care.
- This breach resulted in the accident, which caused you to incur a burn injury and suffer associated impacts and expenses.
My spouse died as a result of injuries incurred in a fire. Can I seek compensation?
The process you would use to seek compensation after the death of a family member is a wrongful death lawsuit. Like a personal injury claim, a wrongful death lawsuit is a legal claim filed in civil court that seeks to show who was responsible for the death as well as an accounting of the losses that were incurred by family members or by the estate.
In Florida, wrongful death claims must be filed on behalf of the family members by a personal representative of the estate, generally within two years of the date on which the death occurred.
The damages you recover in the claim can include:
- Medical expenses to treat the deceased’s final injury that the estate or a family member paid.
- Funeral and burial expenses that the estate or a family member paid.
- The loss of support and services that the deceased provided to his or her family members.
- The loss of companionship and protection provided by the deceased.
- The loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance that the deceased provided to their children.
- Mental pain and suffering.
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings from the date of the deceased’s injury until their death.
- The value of earnings and benefits the deceased person would have earned throughout their career if they survived.
I was burned as a result of a workplace accident. Is a personal injury claim the right avenue for compensation?
Individuals who have suffered a burn injury in a workplace accident often seek compensation through a worker’s comp claim. The Florida worker’s compensation program requires most employers to purchase a no-fault insurance policy on behalf of their employees.
This policy provides medical coverage and replaces a portion of the worker’s wages while they recover from the injury. The insurance also provides permanent wage replacement for workers whose injuries result in permanent disability and they cannot earn an income.
The family members of a worker who died of a burn injury occurring in the workplace can also seek death benefits such as wage replacement and funeral and burial expenses. Most of the time, the worker cannot seek compensation through a personal injury claim if workers’ compensation covers them.
There is an exception in workplace accidents that allows the injured worker to seek compensation through the courts, and this exception involves third-party injuries. If the carelessness or recklessness of a third party injured you—that is, someone who is not your employer or coworker—you can bypass the worker’s compensation system and seek the recovery of an expanded list of damages through a personal injury claim.
What is the average settlement in a West Palm Beach burn injury case?
Settlements are a combination of the one-of-a-kind facts of a case and the willingness of both parties to resolve the claim. Because of these very personal characteristics of a settlement, there really is no “average.”
Several factors can affect how much your case is worth, including:
- The amount of insurance the at-fault party has. It often comes as a surprise, but insurance is one of the biggest factors in determining the value of a personal injury case because that pays most settlements and awards.
- The severity of the injury. A more severe injury is likely to result in a higher amount of medical expenses, more days missed from work, an increased chance of permanent deficits that will impact the claimant’s future earning capacity, and a higher level of pain and suffering.
- Your patience in the negotiation process. The problem isn’t in getting a settlement offer; offers frequently come in cases where the source of liability is clear. The problem is in getting a settlement offer that will fairly compensate you. Insurance companies are in the business to make money, and one of the many ways they do this is by reducing the amount paid out on claims for injuries caused by their insured.
Do I have to pay taxes on my West Palm Beach burn injury settlement?
Generally, the IRS does not tax proceeds you receive from a personal injury or wrongful death settlement or award. However, there is one big exception that pertains to compensation you receive from punitive damages.
Punitive damages refer to payments made to you not in compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury, but rather as a financial consequence for particularly wanton or egregious behavior on behalf of the defendant that caused the accident. Because punitive damages are not directly related to the expenses and impacts of your injury, they can be considered income and subject to tax.
Does a burn injury meet the serious injury threshold in Florida?
In Florida, drivers must to purchase a no-fault injury policy that will provide them with medical coverage and wage replacement after an injury, regardless of fault. Only those who have maxed out their own insurance policy and those whose injuries meet the state’s serious injury threshold are permitted to file a claim against an at-fault party for burn injuries resulting from a car accident.
In Florida, the serious injury threshold involves injuries that result in death, a significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, a permanent injury, and scarring and disfigurement. Because burn injuries can result in a permanent loss of mobility, often produce scarring and disfigurement, and carry a risk of death from infection, fluid loss, or other injury complications, burns often satisfy the serious injury threshold.
I can’t afford to pay an attorney to help with my West Palm Beach burn injury claim. What should I do?
The experienced West Palm Beach burn injury lawyers at The Shiner Law Group understand that many individuals are reluctant to seek the assistance of an attorney because they are afraid they won’t be able to afford to pay for the attorney’s services. However, the deep understanding of the legal process—particularly in a highly complex train accident case—that an attorney can provide you is one of your best tools for obtaining the maximum amount of compensation in your case.
Because our services are so important to your ability to obtain compensation, we ensure that anyone who needs our assistance has access
- A free case evaluation, which is an obligation-free time you have with our attorneys to discuss the facts of your case, get answers to your legal questions, and learn more about the process of pursuing compensation through a legal claim.
- A client-friendly contingent-fee payment plan. This means that you do not owe for your attorney’s services until there is a positive outcome in your case. We will begin working on your case without the need for an initial investment from you.
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