Bronx Burn Injury Attorneys
Life for Bronx residents can change in an instant because of a sudden, unexpected injury. Among the devastating, life-altering injuries a Bronx resident can suffer, severe burns stand out as some of the most tragic and painful. Burns cause extreme physical, emotional, and financial suffering. As largely preventable injuries, they can feel even more excruciating when they result from someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentional actions.
As “one of the leading causes of unintentional death and injury in the United States,” according to the American Burn Association, burns sent nearly half-a-million Americans to hospital emergency rooms between 2011 and 2015, and there is no reason to think that pace has slowed in the ensuing years. Tragically, children under 15 make up a disproportionately large portion of burn victims.
No one should ever have to suffer the agony of a severe burn caused by someone else’s poor decisions or dangerous actions. If a catastrophe does occur, however, then burn victims have rights to compensation that our Bronx personal injury lawyers can help protect. At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we fight to hold individuals and companies accountable for causing an innocent person’s severe burns. Call our Bronx office today at (718) 294-0813 for a free case evaluation.
A Bronx Law Firm for Burn Victims
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP is a New York law firm that represents Bronx residents who have suffered tragic injuries because of someone else’s poor decisions or dangerous actions. We exclusively represent victims of preventable injuries, because we believe no one should go without experienced, diligent legal representation after some other individual’s or company’s careless, reckless, or intentionally-harmful conduct upends their lives.
We are a New York City law firm with deep roots in the Bronx. It’s not just that many of our attorneys are also die-hard Yankees fans. It’s that our team lives here, too. We opened our office at 656 East Fordham Road (near the Botanical Garden) because the Bronx is our community, and we believe our Bronx clients, especially those struggling with the tragic aftermath of a severe burn injury, deserve a lawyer who lives and works in their community.
Our track record in burn injury matters speaks for itself. Over the years, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has recovered millions in settlements and jury verdicts for burn injury victims and their families. There is never a guarantee we, or any lawyer, can recover compensation for a client in any particular case, of course. However, our clients take comfort knowing their lawyer has a hard-earned reputation for getting results in the toughest, most emotionally-charged burn injury cases.
“I had an amazing experience with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. I would highly recommend them for anyone needing a law firm.” -Paul T.
Overview of Severe Burn Injuries
Bronx-dwellers have access to some of the finest doctors in the world. Many of our clients who suffer severe burns receive treatment in the burn units at Jacobi Medical Center on Pelham Parkway, Harlem Hospital in Harlem, and New York Presbyterian on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The online Health Library featured on the New York Presbyterian website serves as the source of the general information about burns below.
Types of Burns
Burns are injuries to one or more layers of skin and, in severe circumstances, tissue, structures, and organs beneath the skin. They result from a variety of causes.
- Heat. So-called thermal burns result from exposing the skin to extreme heat. Flames, steam, hot liquids, and hot objects can all inflict a thermal burn.
- Cold. Exposing the skin to extremely cold temperatures can also cause severe damage, such as when a victim suffers frostbite or windburn.
- Electricity. Skin exposure to a live wire, an arc, or lightning, can result in a serious burn akin to a thermal burn.
- Chemicals. When the skin comes in contact with caustic solids, liquids, or gases, the resulting chemical reaction can cause a severe burn.
- Radiation. High energy waves and particles damage skin unless it is shielded by protective equipment, such as a lead blanket. The sun’s rays, X-rays, and certain cancer therapies can all cause radiation burns.
- Friction. Skin rubbing against a surface generates heat and causes abrasion, both of which damage skin layers and surrounding tissue. Road rash is a common form of friction burn.
Burns Measured by Degree
Medical professionals assess burns by assigning them a degree of severity:
- First degree burns injure only the top (or outer) skin layer. They are considered “minor” injuries that will generally heal on their own within a week, and can be treated at home with over-the-counter remedies.
- Second degree burns cause damage to more than one of the skin’s layers. Although at times difficult to distinguish from first degree burns, at least initially, some signs of second degree burning include blisters, spotting, or a white appearance. Second degree burns sometimes require medical care, particularly if they get infected.
- Third degree burns harm all layers of skin in the area affected, as well as frequently the tissue beneath it. These burns are characterized by a tough, leathery appearance. They require immediate medical care, and carry a high infection risk.
- Fourth degree burns result in catastrophic damage to skin layers, tissue, and structures beneath them (bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and organs). These are life-threatening injuries that require immediate emergency medical care and (likely) long-term care.
Never underestimate the severity of a burn. Consult a doctor right away. Second, third, and fourth degree burns come with serious risks of infection. Seeing a doctor will help protect against that outcome, and will also generate important medical records that you may need later if you take legal action for damages against the person or company who caused your burn.
Treatment of Burns
A burn’s type and degree determine how a medical professional will treat it. First degree burns, as we said above, typically heal quickly with the help of over-the-counter remedies. Any other degree of burn, however, may require more intensive medical intervention. These treatments include courses of antibiotics to ward off infection, long-term hospital stays in specialty burn units, surgical procedures to remove, replace (or a graft), or reconstruct damaged skin and tissue, long-term physical and occupational therapy, and mental health care. Frequently, making a full recovery from a burn still leaves a burn victim with disfiguring scars and physical disabilities, not to mention severe emotional trauma.
Settings and Circumstances for Severe Burns in the Bronx
The American Burn Association data above reports that most preventable burns occur inside the home. Most of those burns, however, are first degree injuries. Higher-degree burns, in contrast, occur in a wider range of settings and circumstances, such as:
The most common circumstance leading to severe and fatal burn injuries is a building fire. Thousands of Americans, including many here in the five boroughs, die in fires every year. Preventable fires, in fact, result in fatal burn injuries every 2 hours 35 minutes on average, according to the American Burn Association.
Motor Vehicle Crashes
We tend to think of car, truck, and motorcycle crashes as causing injuries through violent impacts, and that certainly is one way catastrophic injuries happen. Crashes, however, also frequently cause severe burns, such as when the impact of a collision causes a fire or explosion, spills toxic chemicals that burn vehicle occupants, or throws victims from vehicles (particularly motorcycles) and leaves them with severe road rash.
Construction Site and Workplace Incidents
Virtually any workplace you can imagine hides severe burn dangers. Manufacturing facilities contain hot-running machinery and steam pipes that can inflict a severe burn just by touching them. Construction sites put workers at burn risk from welding equipment and working around power and gas lines. Catastrophic burns can even happen in a typical office setting when someone spills scalding liquid on themselves or someone else.
Unreasonably Dangerous Consumer Products
As consumers, we should be able to trust that the products we buy will not injure us during ordinary use. Unfortunately, appliances, household cleaners, children’s toys, and a host of other products pose potential burn risks when they overheat, explode, or spill. Some of the most traumatic and devastating burn injuries we have seen as lawyers have resulted from unreasonably dangerous products.
How Burn Injury Attorneys Help Bronx Residents
If a severe burn causes devastation in your life, do you know who to turn to for help? Family and friends, certainly, can help you with the day-to-day tasks of recovering your physical health, at least for a while. But as recovery stretches out into weeks and months, and you cannot return to work even as bills pile up, you may find you need additional assistance. People may even tell you to call a lawyer. But what can a lawyer do for you exactly?
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, our Bronx-based attorneys serve many of our burn injury clients by:
Investigating Burn Incidents and the Parties At-Fault For Them
Ask a burn victim what happened, and you are likely to hear about a specific incident involving one of the six types of burns listed above. Odds are lower, however, that the victim will be able to tell you details of the cascade of events, decisions, and actions that ended with the victim getting severely burned.
That is where our experienced Bronx burn injury lawyers can help. Our attorneys understand the modes and mechanisms of burn injuries and can take a hard look at the facts and circumstances that led to your burns. We aim to identify individuals or companies who made poor decisions or took dangerous actions that led to the injury. Those parties who could have, and should have, prevented our client’s burns have potential legal liability to our client for damages.
Evaluating How a Burn Affected a Client’s Life
The law entitles victims of other people’s wrongdoing to seek compensation (or damages) through legal action (suing or filing a lawsuit). In many such cases, the point of dispute is not so much that one person’s careless or reckless actions caused another person’s severe burn, but instead the amount of money the wrongful actor should pay.
Experienced burn injury lawyers spend a substantial amount of their time gathering evidence to prove the amount of money that would be fair for the legally liable party to pay. Some of this evidence constitutes documentation of out-of-pocket expenses and costs inflicted by a severe burn, such as medical copays, deductibles, and other expenses, and the amount of income a burn victim lost by missing work while recovering.
Other evidence relates to the harms done by a severe burn that does not come with a price tag attached: the suffering of physical and emotional pain, the ways a burn interferes with intimate relationships and a person’s quality of life, and so on. These harms are no less real or costly than out-of-pocket expenses, and it is a lawyer’s job to evaluate them, understand them, and assign them a dollar-value that reflects a fair payment to make up for them.
Armed with that information—the identifies of who caused harm to a client, and the amount of money that approximates that harm—an experienced Bronx burn injury lawyer frequently enters into negotiations with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers representing legally-liable parties. The goal of these discussions is to settle the matter by convincing the legally-liable party to make a payment to the client. Most, but by no means all, severe burn injury cases settle in this manner.
Going to Court
Some severe burn injury cases, however, do not settle. This can happen because the legally liable party may deny liability or may dispute the appropriate amount of money to pay, for example. Whatever the reason for a settlement not developing, an experienced burn injury attorney and the injured client may instead decide to take the case to a trial, where the lawyer explains to a judge and jury why the client should receive damages from the liable parties. If the lawyer’s argument proves successful, the jury delivers a verdict directing the liable parties to pay those damages to the burn victim.
Bronx Burn Injury FAQ
Burn injuries inflict terrible physical and emotional suffering. Here at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, Bronx burn victims and their families routinely seek our advice and counsel, coming to us with pressing questions about their legal rights. Below we answer some of the most frequently asked of those questions. For answers to your specific questions about a burn injury that harmed you or a loved one, contact an experienced burn injury attorney today.
I suffered a severe burn. Can I sue someone for damages?
Possibly, but we would need to know more about how your burn injury happened. Many burn injuries happen at work, for example, which would mean you may have a limited right to sue, but instead could have a significant right to recover workers’ compensation benefits. Speaking with an experienced Bronx burn injury attorney about the specifics of your injury is the most reliable way to find out about your legal rights.
To answer the question more generally, in New York a person injured because of someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions will often have the right to receive some sort of financial compensation. Obtaining that money may involve taking legal action against the individual or entity that caused the harm (suing, in other words), or pursuing insurance benefits, or both.
Who can I sue?
Again, the specifics of your Bronx-area burn injury will determine the answer to that question. As a general proposition, you may have the right to sue anyone whose dangerous decisions or conduct caused your burn injury. The various types of burns can happen in a wide range of scenarios, each of which may involve one or more parties with potential financial liability to you.
- Thermal burns result from extreme heat exposure. The most common cause of thermal burn injuries is fire in homes, workplaces, and other structures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), across the United States, one person on average dies in a fire every two hours and one is injured every 23 minutes. Anyone whose unreasonably dangerous conduct caused a fire or prevented a person from escaping it may face legal liability for that person’s thermal burn injuries.
- Electrical burns happen when victims suffer exposure to an electrical current. Many (though by no means all) electrical burns happen on construction sites where workers face the constant risk of accidental contact with live electrical wires. Workers who suffer electrical burns may have legal claims against third parties (someone other than their employers or coworkers) for their injuries.
- Cold burns result from prolonged exposure to cold materials or temperatures, such as in cases of working in frigid temperatures without proper protection, or from accidental spillage of extremely cold substances. Anyone responsible for putting a person at an unreasonable risk of suffering a cold burn could face liability for those injuries.
- Chemical burns are caused by exposure to corrosive chemicals, and occur primarily in industrial, academic, and government settings, such as chemical or research labs and construction sites. But household chemicals and gasoline are also potential sources of chemical burns. Inadequate methods of disposing chemicals or poor workplace safety practices can lead to chemical burns, and anyone responsible for those failures could face liability for them.
- Friction burns leading to personal injury lawsuits most commonly result from extreme friction between a person’s skin and a road surface, which results in a severe road rash injury frequently seen in motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents. Anyone at fault for causing preventable incidents leading to road rash or any other type of friction burn could face liability for it.
- Radiation burns stem from exposure to high radiation levels. Usually, X-rays or selected medical treatments are the only exposure people have to radiation, and these should typically be kept at safe levels. But improper treatment or failure to follow safety protocols can result in radiation burns and liability for causing them.
These are merely examples of who might have legal liability for causing various types of burn injury, of course. No matter what circumstances lead to your burn, working with an experienced Bronx personal injury attorney is the most reliable way to identify the parties who may owe you compensation.
What if I got burned at work?
Bronx workers who suffer work-related burn injuries typically have slightly different legal rights than other burn victims. Employer-provided workers’ compensation insurance covers the vast majority of Bronx workers for medical and disability-related costs resulting from a burn suffered at work.
In New York, workers’ compensation benefits generally include:
- Medical benefits to pay for care related to a work-related burn injury, including emergency treatment, doctor visits, hospitalizations, medications, and medical equipment.
- Cash benefits to replace part of a worker’s earnings for the period when a burn injury keeps the worker out of work; and
- Death benefits for the families of workers who die as a result of a work-related burn injury.
New York law requires injured workers, their doctors, and their employers to work together to file a workers’ compensation insurance claim.
So, can you sue for a work-related burn injury?
In many cases, the answer is yes—usually against the workers’ comp insurance company for a wrongful delay, denial, or reduction in benefits.
Under New York law, workers’ compensation benefits typically take the place of a worker’s right to sue an employer or coworker for causing a burn. In other words, a worker usually cannot sue an employer to recover damages, such as payment for pain and suffering, if the employer’s unsafe practices lead to a burn injury. As a result, in some cases, the law can limit the total compensation a person might otherwise receive for a burn injury, merely because the burn happened in connection with work. That is sometimes seen as the downside of workers’ comp.
On the plus side, however, workers’ compensation insurance pays benefits for all work-related burn injuries, even ones caused by a worker’s own careless actions. Without workers’ comp, a worker who suffers a burn as a result of his or her own dangerous conduct might not have any legal options to pay for medical care and disability-related losses. Workers’ comp ensures that no matter how a work-related burn (or other injury or illness) happens, the worker has a financial safety net.
The insurance companies that provide workers’ comp, however, may not willingly provide that safety net to you. They may try to delay, deny, or reduce the benefits you deserve. To recover the compensation they owe you, you might need to file a lawsuit against them. Call us for help in those cases.
How does a lawyer help with a work-related burn injury?
In two ways. First, a skilled workers’ compensation and burn injury lawyer works with burn victims to hold workers’ compensation insurance companies accountable. Sometimes, workers’ compensation insurance companies try to nickel and dime a worker’s benefits. An attorney works to ensure that the worker receives full benefits for any work-related burn injury.
Second, in some cases, a Bronx worker may also have the right to sue a third party (someone other than an employer or coworker) for causing a burn injury. An experienced burn injury attorney can evaluate whether a burn victim has the option of filing a third-party lawsuit, and can pursue that lawsuit on the worker’s behalf if so.
How much money can I get for my burn injury?
Every burn injury has its own circumstances that affect how much money the burn victim might have the right to receive. We have represented burn victims with claims worth anywhere from thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. It all depends on the facts.
As we described above, workers’ compensation will likely (although not always) determine the amount of compensation you may receive for a burn injury suffered in connection with your work.
For all other burn injuries, generally speaking, an injured person may have the right to recover compensation for the following categories of damages:
- Current medical bills – Payment for all medical bills related to the burns and related injuries (such as infection), including doctor’s visits, emergency room visits and transport, surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, medication, medical devices, and retrofitting a home for therapy or related medical issues, such as impaired mobility.
- Future medical bills – Payment for all medical bills expected in the future.
- Wages lost from work – If your burns and burn treatment keep a person out of work, then the person may seek compensation for wages the person could not earn.
- Future wages lost from work – If the burn victim will likely miss work in the future, or cannot return to work in some or any capacity, then the person may also seek compensation for that lost future income.
- Pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life – Burn victims may also recover compensation for the non-monetary harm they suffer because of a burn injury, including physical discomfort, mental anguish, and harm done to the ability to enjoy life and nurture relationships.
- Punitive damages – In limited cases involving particularly outrageous conduct, a court may award damages to punish the at-fault party.
No lawyer can guarantee that a Bronx burn victim will recover all, or any, of the categories of damages above. The amount and nature of compensation a burn injury victim may receive depends upon a wide variety of factors, including the severity of the burn, the prognosis for recovery, and the financial resources of the parties who have legal liability.
What will hiring a burn injury lawyer cost me?
An initial claim evaluation with our Bronx burn injury lawyers is free of charge. If the burn victim decides to hire the lawyer, then the lawyer will virtually always agree to work on a contingent fee basis. This is an arrangement under which the injured client pays no money up-front to the lawyer, but instead the lawyer and client agree that the lawyer will keep a certain percentage of any funds the lawyer’s efforts recover for the client. This way, the client has access to a highly skilled attorney, and the attorney has a strong incentive to maximize the client’s financial recovery.
What steps should I take now?
The first thing any burn victim should do is seek medical attention. All but the most minor burns pose the serious risk of potentially deadly infections. Always visit a doctor after suffering any type of burn that you are not 100 percent certain you can treat with a home remedy, including any burn that bubbles, blisters, blackens, or begins to show any telltale sign of infection (pain, swelling, growing redness, or oozing puss, for example).
Getting medical care serves two important purposes: It protects your health, and it creates medical records you may later need to prove someone’s liability to you for damages.
Next, if the burn happened at work, let your employer or supervisor know about it right away, and be sure to mention to your doctor that the burn happened on the job. This protects your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
If the burn did not happen in connection with work, consider whether you have any obligation to let your own insurance carrier know about it. (Ask an experienced lawyer for help if unsure whether you need to alert your insurance carrier.)
Do not speak with anyone else’s insurance carrier about your injury, however. If someone else’s insurance company calls you offering a settlement, do not take it without first speaking with an experienced lawyer. Direct, unsolicited settlement offers rarely account for the full measure of compensation you should receive for an injury caused by someone else. (Let a skilled lawyer negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf, instead.)
Finally, contact our experienced Bronx burn injury attorneys as soon as possible. The sooner you have a knowledgeable, hardworking local lawyer working to protect your legal and financial interests, the better your chances of receiving the full amount of compensation you deserve for your burn injury. Do not delay. Waiting too long to hire an attorney could result in the loss of some or all of your legal rights.
Our experienced burn injury attorneys will offer you a free initial case evaluation to discuss your claim. Bring all documentation concerning the accident with you, including records of your medical treatment, if you have them. We can talk about your recollections of what happened. Your attorney will advise you on the best course of action going forward.
Bronx Burn Injury Attorneys
The attorneys in the Bronx office of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, commit their careers to fighting for the rights and interests of injured New Yorkers. If a severe burn injury devastates your life, you can send us a message here, start a live chat with us, or call us today at (718) 294-0813 for a free case evaluation.