According to the American Burn Association, nearly a half-million people (486,000) suffered burns that required medical care in 2016 (the last year for which statistics have been published.) 40,000 burns required hospitalization. In other words, serious burn injuries occur more frequently than you might think.
Burn injuries can vary from first-degree to fourth-degree. First-degree burns are the mildest and typically do not require professional care, but even they can result in some scarring. Second-degree burns typically impact not just the top layer of skin (epidermis) but also the lower layer (dermis.) They often cause blistering and swelling. A third-degree burn may impact not only the epidermis and dermis but the surrounding tissue as well. These burns may char the skin and damage nerves, causing the victim to feel numbness rather than pain. Fourth-degree can damage the victim's epidermis, dermis, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and bones. A victim may require limb amputation as treatment. These kinds of burns can be, and many times are, fatal.
Burn injuries can arise in many different ways, and many of those may trigger a right to take legal action. One type of burn, for example, is a chemical burn. A person may incur a chemical burn because they used a defective cosmetic or skin care product. These can range from makeup to sunscreen to teeth whiteners.
If your burn injury occurred because the item you used was defective, then you may be entitled to take legal action in a product liability lawsuit. In these cases, you may have claims against the product's manufacturer, distributor, or both, even if you bought the item from a retailer. If that has happened to you, one important thing you can do to help your cause is to save the remainder of the product, taking care to preserve it in its existing condition (to the extent you can.)
Burn injuries in a vehicle accident can come from a variety of sources. For one thing, you may endure a chemical burn from an airbag or spilled fluid. Additionally, you could suffer injuries from your car catching fire. These types of incidents potentially can implicate issues of personal injury negligence (on the part of the at-fault driver,) product liability (if the burn occurred because one or more vehicle components failed to function as it was supposed to,) or possibly both.
Another circumstance in which burn injuries may take place is property hazards. Dangerous conditions on properties can come in many different shapes and sizes. They may arise from uncovered heat sources, exposed wiring on the property, or an improperly extinguished fire. Oregon premises liability law imposes on property owners (or whoever is in possession of the property) a duty to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition for invitees. (Generally, the possessor of a property owes trespassers a lesser duty than invitees, although an exception to that standard exists if the trespasser was a child lured onto the property by what the law calls an "attractive nuisance."
Furthermore, workplaces are also a source of burn injuries. A worker who has to work around dangerous chemicals, explosives, and exposed heat sources is a worker who's potentially vulnerable to a workplace burn injury. In this scenario, you may be entitled to file a claim and obtain workers' compensation benefits. If a third party was partially responsible for your injury, you can initiate a negligence claim in civil court. That lawsuit, in which you potentially may recover compensation for things like medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering, can allow you to reap a fuller recovery than with workers' compensation benefits alone.
Burn injuries impact the victim not just physically but also psychologically. That's why these cases require special attention from a knowledgeable professional. Matthew D. Kaplan is an Oregon injury attorney that will help obtain just compensation not only for past medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, but also for future long-term medical bills that can include skin grafting, scar revision, and counseling. Matthew D. Kaplan is committed to thoroughly investigating the cause of a significant burn injury to discover who was at fault and should be held accountable. Please contact the Oregon burn injury attorneys Kaplan Law LLC for a free consultation.