Indianapolis Burn Injury Lawyer
Our Indianapolis burn injury lawyer has the experience you need to help you get the justice you deserve.
If someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the situation which caused you to suffer a burn injury, they should have to bear the costs associated with your treatment and recovery.
You probably don’t give it much thought as you go through your daily routine, but the fact is that every day you encounter numerous situations which could result in a burn injury. From preparing breakfast in the kitchen, to being involved in a highway collision on your commute to work, to experiencing a chemical burn in the workplace – your environment is likely to be full of conditions and situations that could subject you or a family member to a burn.
The American Burn Association estimates that each year around 450,000 people in the U.S. receive burn treatment in a hospital, either in-patient or in the emergency room. Many more seek treatment in clinics and doctors’ offices. The Burn Association’s 2012 Fact Sheet reports that annually about 3,400 people die in this country as a result of a burn.
Was it Negligence? Ask Our Burn Injury Attorney
Some burns occur in unavoidable accidents, but others are caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness. When this is the case, a personal injury attorney can help the family receive compensation from the responsible parties – compensation that can offset the high cost of treating catastrophic burn injuries and provide some measure of relief for the pain and suffering they cause.
Successfully litigating personal injury cases in Indiana since 1982, Mike Stephenson a burn injury lawyer in Indianapolis, offers compassionate counsel while aggressively seeking justice from those who have injured his clients. Call Mike at 317-825-5200.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM WORKING WITH A BURN INJURY LAWYER?
At McNeely Stephenson, you can expect compassion, intelligence and expertise when dealing with our Indianapolis burn injury lawyer. We have filed lawsuits on behalf of many burn injury victims and are aggressive about representing their rights under the law.
WHY SHOULD I FILE A BURN INJURY LAWSUIT?
After a severe burn injury, your life is forever changed. You may have limited mobility, follow-up surgeries and large medical bills, and a reduction in your ability to work and earn a living. A burn injury can mean the end of a career, with years of financial hardship. That’s why victims need to file a burn injury lawsuit – to protect themselves financially and protect their family’s future. To learn more about filing a burn injury lawsuit, contact Mike Stephenson at 317-825-5200.
WHAT ARE POTENTIAL SETTLEMENTS IN A BURN INJURY CASE?
As with any personal injury, it’s very difficult to make an accurate prediction as to what a burn injury settlement will turn out to be. The biggest factors are the severity of the burn injury, the intentions of the person or company who caused the burns (the defendant) and the extent to which a defendant can pay a settlement. Legal research shows that burn injuries tend to have higher settlement value due to the pain and permanent scarring.
What Is the Source of Most Indiana Burn Injuries?
Using the figures on admissions to burn centers, we can make some assumptions about burns in general. Listed here, in descending order, are the causes of most burns:
- Fire or flames
- Contact with a hot surface
Where Do Most Burns Happen?
Burn Injuries in Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents account for 300 burn fatalities each year. When cars or trucks collide, the gasoline in their fuel tanks can ignite, quickly engulfing the vehicles in flames. The occupants may have difficulty getting out and away from the fire due to injuries from the collision or because they are trapped inside by damage to the car. Motorcycle accidents can also cause burns, by contact with the hot exhaust pipe or muffler.
Burn Injuries at Work
The workplace is the next most likely setting for a burn injury. Nine percent of burns are occupational injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes strict safety standards on employers; nevertheless, workplace fires and explosions kill 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers annually. Electrical burns are most common, caused by arcing or explosion. Some employees work near boilers or hot machinery that can cause thermal burns. Restaurant workers are especially prone to thermal burns, from deep fryers and grills. Chemical burns are also a hazard in some industrial settings where caustic chemicals and acids are used. You can read here about how Mike Stephenson helped some clients who were injured by electricity while on the job.
Burn Injuries at Home
The vast majority of burns occur at home – 69%, according to the American Burn Association. The Red Cross reports that American homes suffer an unwanted fire every 10 seconds, and every 60 seconds they suffer a fire serious enough to call the fire department. Cooking is the primary cause of home fires, followed by heat sources (such as portable space heaters and wood stoves) and electrical malfunction. Faulty electrical wiring, lighting and appliances cause hundreds of deaths and millions of dollars in property damage each year. Clothes dryers, extension cords, and battery chargers are typical hazards.
Who Is Responsible in a Burn Injury Case?
In many cases, burns are caused by negligence. The burn injury attorneys of McNeely Stephenson in Indianapolis can assess the conditions that were present at the time of your injury to determine whether another person or entity was responsible and whether you may seek damages from them in court.
Companies which ignore workplace safety regulations, fail to provide sufficient training, or store chemicals or other materials in an unsafe fashion can be held liable for burn accidents. Even when the injured worker is receiving workers’ comp benefits, compensation may be sought through a workplace injury lawsuit against a third party who was responsible for causing or contributing to the injury — for example, the manufacturer of a defective product used on the job or a subcontractor.
Defective products cause fires in residences and on the highway, as well as in industrial settings. Household products recalled due to fire hazard range from pre-lit Christmas trees to carpeting. Defective gas tanks or fuel lines and battery malfunction can cause vehicle fires. Even electric cars are at risk of fire from their battery packs. Manufacturers can be held liable when they produce items that cause injury to the consumer.
Sometimes burns happen on properties that do not meet current fire codes or which do not have adequate escape routes in case of fire. In these instances, the property owner can be named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for burn injuries.
Understanding the Impact of a Serious Burn Injury
A burn injury and its subsequent treatment are among the most painful experiences a person can encounter. The emotional needs of people with burns have long been overshadowed by the emphasis on survival, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NIH). Burn injury victims undergo various stages of adjustment and face emotional as well as physical challenges.
Psychosocial Effects of a Burn Injury
With the increased survival of victims with large burns comes a new focus on the psychological challenges and recovery that such burn injury victims must face. Most burn centers employ social workers, vocational counsellors, and psychologists as part of the multidisciplinary burn team. Physiological recovery of burn injury victims is seen as a continual process divided into three stages—resuscitative or critical, acute, and long-term rehabilitation, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The psychological needs of burn injury victims differ at each stage.
Resuscitative or Critical Stage
The psychological characteristics of this stage include stressors of the intensive care environment, uncertainty about outcome, and a struggle for survival. The intensive care environment can be both over-stimulating and under-stimulating with the monotony of lying in a hospital bed for weeks.
Cognitive changes such as extreme drowsiness, confusion, and disorientation are common among burn injury victims during this phase. More severe cognitive changes such as delirium and brief psychotic reactions also occur, usually as a result of infections, metabolic complications, or high doses of drugs. Burn injury victims may also be intubated with a respirator, which greatly limits direct communication.
The acute phase of burn injury recovery focuses on restorative care, but victims continue to undergo painful treatments. As burn injury victims become more alert during this phase, they face these procedures with less sedation. Also, victims are more aware of the physical and psychological impact of their injuries.
Depression and anxiety—Symptoms of depression and anxiety are common among burn injury victims and start to appear in the acute phase of recovery. Acute stress disorder (occurs in the first month) and post-traumatic stress disorder (occurs after one month) are more common after burn injuries than other forms of injury, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). People with these disorders typically have larger burns and more severe pain.
Sleep disturbance—Central to both anxiety and depression is sleep disturbance, the NIH states. The hospital environment can be loud, and burn injury victims are awakened frequently during the night for analgesia or for checking vital signs. Burn injury victims’ mood, agitation and nightmares can all affect sleep.
Grief—Burn injury victims may now begin the grieving process as they become more aware of the impact of the burn injuries on their lives. Family members, friends or pets may have died in the incident, and victims may have lost their homes or personal property. In addition to these external losses, burn injury victims may also grieve for their former life (such as job, mobility, physical ability, appearance). Mental health professionals and other staff should help burn injury victims grieve in their own way and at their own pace.
The long-term stage of recovery for a burn injury typically begins after discharge from a hospital, when burn injury victims begin to reintegrate into society. For people with severe burns, this stage may involve continued outpatient physical rehabilitation, possibly with continuation of procedures such as dressing changes and surgery. The first year after leaving the hospital is frequently a period of high distress for burn injury victims.
The Cost of Burn Treatment in Indiana
The financial burden of a serious burn injury can be overwhelming, both to the individual and his family and to society as a whole. More than $10.4 billion per year is spent on hospital treatments for burn injuries, according to the National Business Group on Health. Even moderate burns may turn out to be costly if there are complications. And for severe burns treated without complications, the average cost is well over a million dollars. With complications, a severe burn can cost more than $10 million to treat successfully. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates the total loss caused by burn injuries each year is $7.5 billion.
Burn injuries frequently require skin grafts or other surgical procedures, sometimes over a number of years. Disfigurement, scarring or tissue contracture occur in the majority of cases, as do psychological issues. Burn victims often suffer chronic pain, infections and impairments such as loss of eyesight. They and their families may have to deal with their loss of income and decreased future earning ability.
Our Indianapolis Burn Injury Attorneys Believe Justice Matters
If someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the situation which caused you to suffer a burn injury, they should have to bear the costs associated with your treatment and recovery. This could include both economic and non-economic damages. “Economic damages” are things such as past and future medical bills; the cost of rehabilitation; assistive devices and prostheses; and lost wages. Typical “non-economic” damages are compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish resulting from the injury. Let our Indianapolis burn injuries attorneys fight for you.
The experience of Mike Stephenson and the resources of McNeely Stephenson can be your means of achieving justice when you are the victim of someone’s negligence or recklessness. Call 317-825-5200 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim.