Truck Accident Case
We took more than 60 depositions in five different states. Because of Stephenson’s tireless advocacy, shortly before the trial was to commence, the defendants settled the case for $48.5 million.
Burn Injury Lawyer Fights for Compensation
Our Indiana burn injury lawyer has the experience you need to help you get the justice you deserve.
Burn injuries can cause excruciating pain and tremendous suffering, and they can lead to scarring, disfigurement, and paralysis. Severe burns may require multiple surgeries, skin grafts, hospitalizations, and continuing care, and victims may be unable to work. 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. When a negligent party caused or contributed to the situation which caused you to suffer a burn injury, they should bear the costs associated with your treatment and recovery.
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe burn or someone has died due to a burn caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, you may be entitled to compensation through insurance or a personal injury lawsuit. However, Indiana personal injury laws are complicated, making mistakes can be costly, and insurance companies have high-powered lawyers on their side who will attempt to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible. This is not something you should deal with on your own.
The burn injury attorneys at Stephenson Rife, LLP understand what you are going through and have the experience and resources necessary to fight for the compensation you deserve. We know the courts, the system, and the tactics insurance companies use and are fully prepared to handle all legal hurdles necessary to go up against them. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to help.
Don’t delay. Call the experienced Indiana burn injury attorneys at Stephenson Rife today.
How Our Indianapolis Burn Injuries Lawyer Can Help You
Why Choose Stephenson Rife?
There are many attorneys out there, and it’s important for you to find one you have confidence in and feel comfortable with and who has the qualifications to get the settlement you need. Here are some reasons why we think Stephenson Rife is your best choice:
- We are experienced. We have been meeting the needs of people throughout Indiana since 1976. Mike Stephenson has 40 years of experience handling injuries and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies.
- We get results and win large settlements, such as the $48.5 million we won in a truck accident case. We have a strong record of success for a wide range of personal injury cases. You can read their testimonials and about the cases.
- We are recognized in our field. Attorneys Mike Stephenson and Brady Rife have both been named as Indiana Super Lawyers.
- We handle all legal paperwork and court appearances required by Indiana law.
- We deal and negotiate with insurance companies, so you won’t have to.
- We are recognized for our expertise and are the law firm that other law firms consult.
- We offer free initial consultations to get you started.
- We are able to provide cost-effective legal services to keep fees low, and you pay us nothing unless we win and you get your money.
Our Burn Injury Attorneys Work for You
When you have our Indianapolis burn injury attorneys on your side, you no longer have to file forms, deal with insurance companies, or worry about whether you have the best settlement offer. We will get to work to build your case immediately. We will:
- Meet with you to discuss how the burn injury happened, who the at-fault parties may be, and determine if you have a valid lawsuit and what it should be worth
- Conduct investigations to gather evidence to prove how the burn injury occurred, such as photographs and videos, and police, ambulance, and medical records and reports
- Interview witnesses and first responders
- Get expert opinions from accident reconstruction professionals, medical professionals, therapists, and life-care specialists as to how your burn injuries will affect your life into the future
- Negotiate with insurance companies and their lawyers for a fair settlement
- Build your case and bring it to court and present it in front of a judge and jury if necessary.
We strive to give our clients the personalized service they deserve. By tailoring our approach to meet the individual preferences of each client, we are able to help clients feel confident in the steps we are taking together. Let us put our resources to work for you, because we believe justice matters.
Our Burn Injury Attorney Must Prove Negligence
Some burns occur in unavoidable accidents, but others are caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness. The burn injury attorneys of Stephenson Rife in Indiana 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.
When this is the case, our personal injury attorney can help win compensation from the responsible parties – compensation that can offset the high cost of treating the medical complications caused by catastrophic burn injuries and provide some measure of relief for the pain and suffering they cause.
To win your case, our attorneys must prove that your burn injury was caused by another party’s negligence, recklessness, or fault. Legally, this means showing the following elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care to prevent harm.
- The defendant breached this duty by acting or failing to act.
- This breach caused your injury.
- You suffered actual damages as a result.
To prove negligence, we would investigate how your brain injury occurred, gather evidence, and hire expert witnesses to reconstruct the accident and testify as to how the accident occurred and who the negligent parties were.
- 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, additional 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.
- Property owners and managers. 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.
Our burn injury attorneys will seek to identify all potentially liable parties, as they all may have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement.
Burn Injury Lawyers Recover Damages
What Are Potential Damage Awards in a Burn Injury Case?
There is a wide range of damage amounts victims can be awarded in a burn injury lawsuit, from the thousands to the millions of dollars, depending on the individual circumstances of the 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 insurance available and 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 involved and permanent scarring. Have more questions on the settlement process? Visit our FAQs page.
Damage awards that you may collect for a successful burn injury lawsuit in Indiana include compensatory damages that cover your economic and non-economic losses, and the possibility of punitive damages as well.
Economic damages (also called “special damages”) are for the monetary losses that result from your injuries. Examples include:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost income from being unable to work and for reduced future ability to earn
- Property damage related to the burn.
Non-economic damages (also called “general damages”) are for damages that do not have a specific dollar value, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium.
Punitive damages may be awarded in rare circumstances as well. These are intended to punish a defendant for especially malicious or intentional actions and to deter similar conduct from happening in the future. Punitive damages are capped at three times the compensatory damage award or $50,000, whichever is greater.
Be aware that Indiana requires that you take steps to minimize or “mitigate” the harm you suffered. To do so, you should follow your doctor’s orders and avoid activities that might aggravate your injury or slow your recovery time. You should also keep track of all your medical expenses and how your injuries impact your life, to maximize your settlement.
Indianapolis Burn Injury Lawyer Answers Questions
Dealing with a serious burn injury is difficult, and it’s natural to have questions and concerns. These are best addressed at your free consultation, but to get started, her are some answers to questions our attorneys are often asked.
In general, you have two years from the date of the accident that led to the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit, and, in case of death, two years to file a wrongful death claim from the day of the death. This time period is called a statute of limitations, and the provisions can be found in Indiana statute §34-11-2-4. With some exceptions, if you fail to file on time, the courts will refuse to hear your case, so get started with Stephenson Rife as soon as possible.
No, the less you say to insurance companies, the better. Insurance adjusters are not on your side; their goal is to increase the company’s bottom line and pay out as little as possible. They will use tactics to lessen or deny the payments, such as trying to get you to admit you were at fault for the accident, and anything you say to them can be used against you. They have high-powered lawyers on their side, so the best approach to take with insurance companies is to tell them to speak to your attorney, and let Stephenson Rife handle all dealings and negotiations with insurers.
In cases where you did something that contributed to your burn injury, Indiana uses modified comparative negligence (Indiana Code Title 34, Section 51-2-5, et seq.), also known as the “51% fault” method. This means you may still collect damages if you are less than 51% at fault, but damages will be reduced according to the percentage of fault you bear. For example, if the damage award is $100,000, and you are found to be 20% at fault, you can still collect $80,000.
Using the figures on admissions to burn centers, the causes of most burns are fire or flames, scalding, contact with a hot surface, electricity and chemicals. Motor vehicle accidents account for 300 burn fatalities each year. Workplace fires and explosions kill 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers annually, with electrical burns being most common, caused by arcing or explosion. Accidents at home, caused by cooking fires, 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. You can read here about how Mike Stephenson helped some clients who were injured by electricity while on the job.
The good news is that it doesn’t cost anything up front to hire our burn injury lawyers. At Stephenson Rife, we work on a contingency basis, which means we take on all costs and expenses of your case, and you pay nothing unless and until we win. Fees and costs are then taken out of the settlement award.
When you have our Indianapolis burn injury lawyers on your side, we will be there throughout the entire process to answer your questions and address your concerns.
Burn Injury Lawyers Explain What Happens After A Severe Burn
After the burn victim’s initial ride to the local emergency department, doctors and other medical personnel must make a number of decisions quickly that will ease pain, reduce the possibilities of scarring, balance the levels of fluids in the body, and prevent infections. If the burns are serious enough, it must also be determined whether the patient should be sent to a specialized burn care center.
Severe burns, often classified as third-degree or advanced second-degree burns, call for immediate action. Third-degree burns are marked by injury to all layers of the skin, meaning the epidermis (top layer), dermis, and underlying tissue, which may also mean damage to muscles. Advanced second-degree burns injure more than the outer layer of skin as well.
Severe burns leave the body wide open to a number of medical complications:
- Infections are a common complication of serious burns when the skin barrier is broken down. If an infection becomes established, septicemia (blood poisoning) and septic shock are can lead to multiple-organ failure and, eventually, death.
- Hypovolemia (low blood volume) and fluid loss. When a burn injures blood vessels, it can cause fluid loss and mean a lowered amount of blood in the body. This can create an electrolyte imbalance (levels of elements such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium) that lead to heart irregularities and hypovolemic shock.
- Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). With severe burns that are classified as third degree, burn victims often need to remain bedridden. Extended periods of bed rest can increase the risk of blood clots because blood collects in veins due to the lack of bodily mobility.
- Compartment syndrome. A compartment is an enclosed space containing nerves, blood vessels, and muscles, surrounded by a layer of tissue called fascia. Fascia does not stretch, so if pressure increases inside the compartment due to a burn, the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles inside the compartment may become compressed, requiring immediate surgery.
- Breathing problems. If the burn situation involved breathing smoke, hot air, or caustic chemicals, damage to the lungs and airways can result in respiratory failure.
- Critically low body temperature (hypothermia).If a large portion of skin is damaged, the body loses heat because our skin helps control our body’s temperature. If hypothermia is serious enough and lasts for an extended period of time, death can be the result.
- Seizures are a secondary resultof the following problems: low levels of oxygen in the blood, electrolyte imbalances, and the accumulation of toxins in the body, especially from septicemia and septic shock.
- Psychological problems and PTSD. A serious burn can be emotionally devastating as well as physically difficult. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise from memories of the burn experience and the pain.
Moving the patient to a burn care center is essential for serious burns because such care centers have the knowledge and capabilities to best prevent complications from arising. If you have any doubt about the burn’s severity, visit your doctor or local emergency department as soon as possible. Time is of the essence when preventing burn complications.
Psychosocial Effects of a Burn Injury
With the increased chance of survival of victims with large burns comes a new focus on the psychological challenges and recovery that such burn injury victims must face. 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 Burn Injuries
The psychological problems at 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.
Acute Stage of a Burn Injury
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 and may suffer one or more of the following:
- Depression and anxiety—Acute stress disorder (occurs in the first month) and post-traumatic stress disorder (occurs after one month) are common after burns.
- Sleep disturbance—Central to both anxiety and depression is sleep disturbance, and 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.
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. This stage may involve continued outpatient physical rehabilitation and procedures such as dressing changes and surgery.
Get Help from Our Indiana Burn Injury Attorneys
We Take the Hard Cases – And Win Them
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 suffering and financial hardship. That’s why victims need to file a burn injury lawsuit – to protect themselves financially and protect their family’s future.
Injury cases can be complex legal claims that require thorough investigation and demand aggressive litigation to secure the best possible outcome for the plaintiff. Indiana burn injury attorney Mike Stephenson has more than three decades of experience and substantial financial resources to commit to your case. We build a legal team specifically for you.
If someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the situation which caused you to suffer a burn injury, they should bear the costs associated with your treatment and recovery, including both economic and non-economic damages. Let our Indiana burn injury attorneys fight to get compensation for you.
The experience of Mike Stephenson and the resources of Stephenson Rife can be your means of achieving justice when you are the victim of someone’s negligence or recklessness.
Call us today for a free evaluation of your claim.
Table Of Contents
- Burn Injury Lawyer Fights for Compensation
- How Our Indianapolis Burn Injuries Lawyer Can Help You
- Our Burn Injury Attorneys Work for You
- Our Burn Injury Attorney Must Prove Negligence
- Burn Injury Lawyers Recover Damages
- Indianapolis Burn Injury Lawyer Answers Questions
- Burn Injury Lawyers Explain What Happens After A Severe Burn
- Psychosocial Effects of a Burn Injury
- Get Help from Our Indiana Burn Injury Attorneys