East Meadow Burn Injury Attorney
With a dense, suburban feel and a wide variety of shops and restaurants, East Meadow is a popular place to live and work. Unfortunately, throughout East Meadow, accidents may happen and injuries may occur in many. Some of the most painful injuries to experience are burn injuries, which can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement as well as profound impacts on the sufferer’s life.
If you have suffered a burn injury due to the careless, reckless, or intentional actions of someone else, you may have the right to pursue the recovery of damages related to your injury. Call our East Meadow burn injury lawyers for help.
How Jacoby & Meyers, LLP Can Help
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP East Meadow personal injury law firm can help you understand the legal process of recovering damages related to your burn injury, at no cost to you through a free case evaluation. This is a time for you to learn more about our firm and to receive answers to your legal questions, while also giving us time to learn more about your case.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has assisted our East Meadow neighbors with burn injuries in obtaining the compensation they deserve, including:
- $4,200,000 settlement for a two-year-old child who suffered burns over most of her body after an unstable stove fell on her, along with boiling water that was on the stovetop and the gas flames.
- $3,250,000 settlement for the estate of a 25-year-old college student who suffered burns over 90 percent of her body after being unable to escape her sixth-floor apartment in a burning building. The young woman lived for 17 days in excruciating pain before succumbing to her injuries.
- $950,000 settlement for a baby who was burned after the landlord of the apartment where she lived with her parents failed to fix the hot water regulator for the building, causing the child to be scalded in the bathtub.
While these are only past examples and cannot guarantee an outcome in any particular case, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP is proud of our track record of success in securing justice for our East Meadow burn injury clients.
About Burn Injuries
Burns are damage to the skin that result from exposure to heat, flames, radiation, or chemicals. While many burns only cause mild pain for a day or two and can be treated at home, other burns are serious enough to pose life-threatening risks or even result in death.
The different types of burns include:
- Thermal burns: This type of burn is caused by a heat source that increases the temperature on the skin and causes cell death or charring. Examples of common sources of this type of burn include open flames, hot metals, scalding liquids, or steam.
- Radiation burns: This type of burn is caused by overexposure to the sun or other sources such as X-rays.
- Chemical burns: This type of burn results from direct exposure to the skin with strong acids, alkalies, detergents, or solvents.
- Electrical burns: This type of burn occurs when an individual comes in contact with a high amount of electricity either through a power line, power cord, or outlet.
- Friction burns: This type of burn occurs when a body part rubs against a hard or rough surface, causing the skin to slough off. This commonly occurs in a motor vehicle accident in which the individual’s skin makes contact with the roadway or other rough surface, creating a condition that is often referred to as road rash.
An Injury Defined by Degrees
Burns are categorized according to severity, with the levels of severity being referred to as degrees.
The four degrees of burns are as follows:
- First degree: A first degree burn is the mildest of the burn severity levels, in which the burn only affects the outermost layer of skin, which is known as the epidermis. The epidermis is made up of three layers and is responsible for producing keratin, which the body uses to keep fluid in and harmful substances out. This layer also houses new skin cells designed to replace the old cells as they die and are sloughed from the skin. Symptoms of a first degree burn include painful, dry, and red skin in the burned area that turns white when pressed. First degree burns rarely blister or scar, and generally heal within two or three days of at-home care.
- Second degree: A second degree burn involves damage to both the epidermis as well as the dermis, which is the inner layer of skin beneath the epidermis. The dermis contains important structures such as blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, nerve endings that transmit pain and touch signals, and collagen bundles. Collagen is produced to hold this layer together. A second degree burn is often painful to the point of being sensitive to air movement or air temperature. This red burn may blister or seep fluid. Second degree burns generally heal within one to three weeks but can result in a discolored permanent scar in the affected area.
- Third degree: A third degree burn causes damage to the epidermis, the dermis, and the deepest layer of skin, the hypodermis. Also known as the subcutis, the hypodermis is made up of collagen and fat cells that conserve the body’s heat and act as a shock absorber to protect the body from injury. Unlike a first or second degree burn, a third degree burn does not turn white when pressed. However, it is painful with deep pressure and almost always produces blisters. Third degree burns generally take more than three weeks to heal and are capable of producing severe scarring. The risk of infection also increases with this level of severity.
- Fourth degree: Fourth degree is the most serious level of burn injury, and occurs when the burn completely destroys the skin tissue and damages the underlying structure, including bones, tendons, and muscle. Fourth degree burns are generally painless, as the nerve endings have been damaged. This level of severity produces skin that looks waxy white, leathery gray, or even a charred black color. Fourth degree burns require surgical treatment and often result in severe scarring.
Complications Resulting From Burn Injuries
Burns are particularly prone to infection, as bacteria can enter the wound. Infections can then travel from the affected area to other parts of the body through the bloodstream, producing a condition called sepsis. Sepsis produces symptoms such as shortness of breath; rapid breathing and heart rate; confusion or disorientation; extreme pain or discomfort; fever, shivering, or feeling very cold; and clammy or sweaty skin.
Aside from sepsis, other complications can arise if an individual has suffered a burn injury, including:
- Fluid loss, including low blood volume. Low blood volume is known as hypovolemia.
- A dangerously low body temperature, known as hypothermia, results from burns severe enough to damage the collagen and fat cells of inner skin layers that are used to prevent body heat from escaping.
- Breathing problems caused by the inhalation of smoke or hot air.
- Scarred or ridged areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue. This condition is known as keloids.
- Bone and joint problems that occur when scar tissue causes a tightening or shortening of the skin, muscles, or tendons.
More severe burns will require more extensive treatment. If any of the following conditions are present, an individual may need treatment from a specialized burn treatment center:
- Third or fourth degree burns over at least 10 percent of the total body surface area.
- Fourth degree burns (known as full-thickness burns) occurring to anyone, regardless of age.
- Burns on the hands, face, feet, genitals, or groin area, or burns that extend around a certain body part.
- Burns that are accompanied by an inhalation injury to the airway or lungs.
- Burns that occur to an individual who has a pre-existing chronic disorder such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or kidney disease.
- Chemical or electrical burns, which require more extensive monitoring due to the risk that other bodily organs or systems were damaged as a result of the incident.
While many burns can be treated at home, a person should always seek medical treatment if the following circumstances are present:
- Burns caused by chemicals or electricity.
- A burn or blister that hasn’t healed after two weeks.
- Burns that cover a large area of the body or are present in specific areas such as the hands, face, feet, groin, genitals, or buttocks.
- Deep burns that affect not only all of the layers of skin, but the body structures beneath.
- Burns that create a leathery look to the skin.
- Burns that cause a charred appearance to the skin with white, gray, or black color to the affected area.
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing as a result of inhalation of smoke or heat.
- Signs of infection, such as oozing fluid from the wound, or an increase in redness, swelling, or pain.
- New or unexplained symptoms.
- Extensive scarring from a burn.
Recovering Damages From Your East Meadow Burn Injury
Burns can occur in many types of accidents, including:
- Motor vehicle crashes in which an individual makes contact with hot or rough surfaces, caustic chemicals such as gasoline, and flames.
- Premises liability cases in which a property owner failed to ensure that guests or tenants were not exposed to hazards that can result in a burn injury, including faulty cooking appliances or fireplaces, faulty wiring, or fire caused by dangerous property conditions.
- Medical malpractice cases in which a person was burned as the result of a medical error.
- Product liability accidents in which a manufacturer of a machine or appliance has failed to ensure that the product will not cause individuals to become burned.
- Construction accidents in which a worker or other person suffers a burn as a result of an electrical shock, open flames, or exposure to chemicals in the workplace.
- Burns that occur as a result of child abuse or domestic violence.
If your burn injury was the result of a careless or reckless action by someone else, or someone intentionally inflicted a burn injury on you, New York law allows you to pursue the recovery of damages related to your burn injury through a lawsuit in civil court.
Some of the damages you can seek to recover include:
- Medical expenses, including treatment of your burn injury at the scene of your accident or in the emergency department; hospitalization and/or extensive treatment at a specialized burn center; the services of your burn rehabilitation team, which includes psychologists or psychiatrists, physiatrists, physical and occupational therapists, plastic surgeons, internists, orthopedic surgeons, infectious disease specialists, rehabilitation nurses, respiratory therapists, dieticians, social workers and case managers, recreation therapists, and vocational counselors; prescription medication; and any medical devices necessary for your long term treatment and care.
- Lost income if you can’t work while recovering from the injury or being required to miss work to attend an injury-related medical appointment.
- Loss of future earning capacity as a result of significant scarring or disfigurement or a burn-related disability that renders a person unable to work at all or unable to return to the type of work or the position he or she held before the injury occurred.
- The cost of repairing or replacing property that was damaged as a result of the accident that caused your burn injury. For example, repair of a motorcycle damaged in a motor vehicle collision or replacement of personal belongings lost in a structure fire.
- Compensation for the non-economic impacts that the injury has had on your life, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring and disfigurement, and loss of the enjoyment of life.
While burn injury lawsuits are most often resolved through a settlement between the injured party and the at-fault party’s insurance provider, these cases can and do sometimes wind up in court. Get guidance from an experienced burn injury lawyer who can provide knowledge of this legal process and ensure that you have the evidence and testimony necessary to prove liability as well as the cost of the damages you incurred as a result of the at-fault party’s actions.
FAQs About Recovering Damages After an East Meadow Burn Injury
If you have suffered a burn injury in East Meadow, you likely have a lot of questions about the process of recovering damages related to your injury. Here are some of the questions most frequently asked by our burn injury clients.
How do I prove that someone else was liable for my East Meadow burn injury?
Liability is proven in East Meadow burn injury cases by establishing the following elements of negligence:
- The defendant (at-fault party) owed you a duty of care. The duty of care refers to a standard of conduct that a reasonable person would exercise in a specific circumstance. For example, if your burn injury resulted from a car accident that was caused by a negligent driver, the duty of care that the driver owed to you would be to operate his or her vehicle safely and legally.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. The breach refers to the action (or inaction) that the defendant took that was contrary to the duty of care that was owed. When determining if there was a breach, most U.S. judges use the Hand formula. This formula states that if the burden of taking precautions to avoid an accident is less than the probability of injury and the gravity of the personal loss associated with that injury, the defendant has breached his or her duty of care.
- This breach in care by the defendant resulted in the plaintiff’s injury and caused the plaintiff to incur monetary expenses and impacts on his or her lifestyle.
How are non-economic damages calculated when it comes to East Meadow burn injuries?
Burn injuries, along with the treatment of them, can often be among the most painful serious injuries a person can suffer. Pain and suffering, and other impacts that the injury has on a person’s ability to live a normal day-to-day life, are considered non-economic damages because it is difficult to put a price tag on suffering. New York allows for the recovery of non-economic damages in East Meadow burn injury claims. Often, attorneys may rely on medical records, expert testimony, and details of the victim’s life to help arrive at an estimate for non-economic damages.
My loved one is being treated at a burn center. How long will that treatment last and can I recover the expense?
It is impossible to say how long your loved one will need to be treated as an in-patient at the burn center. A general rule of thumb is one day for every percentage of the total body surface area that is burned. Medical expenses, including that which is received at a specialized burn treatment center, are recoverable damages in the New York burn injury claims process. You can seek to recover this expense by filing a claim against the party who was liable for the accident that caused your burn injury.
How long do I have to file a burn injury case in East Meadow?
Generally, the statute of limitations in New York civil cases is three years. There are limited circumstances in which a court can grant an exception to this time limit. Your attorney will make you aware if you qualify for a different deadline to file your claim.
What is the average settlement in an East Meadow burn injury case?
Burn injury cases are valued based on their own unique set of circumstances, including the severity of the burn, the existence of complications, the effects that the injury has on the sufferer, and the level of negligence or recklessness exhibited by the defendant that resulted in the accident that caused the injury. Because of this, there is no “average” settlement in a burn injury case. There are, however, several factors that can impact the valuation of a burn injury case.
Some of those factors include:
- The clarity of liability. In New York, more than one person can be found to be legally liable for an accident. If your own actions are partially responsible, you can still file an East Meadow burn injury claim against other liable parties. However, the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility for your accident that you bear.
- Your age and overall health at the time of the accident. Age can impact certain damage categories such as lost wages and loss of earning capacity, as an adult in the midst of his or her career would likely have a higher income and income potential than someone who became injured while still a child or a young adult who hasn’t yet had the opportunity to climb the income ladder, as well as a retired adult who no longer has an income. Pre-existing conditions can cloud whether certain treatments, pain, or other impacts are a result of the burn you experienced, or a previous injury. This can be a big sticking point in settlement negotiations.
- Your level of patience. Settlement negotiations can take a lot of time, particularly if you’re not willing to settle for a lowball offer. Often, the fairest settlement offers come just before the case has its day in court or even after the trial has begun but before a decision has been rendered. If you want to receive the maximum amount of compensation that you are eligible to receive, you must be patient while your attorney negotiates.
My burn injury occurred at the construction site where I work. Should I file for workers’ comp?
It depends on the circumstances of the accident in which you were injured. New York’s Workers’ Compensation program is a type of insurance policy that most employers in the state are required to provide for their employees. The policy is no-fault, meaning that you can obtain benefits such as coverage of medical treatment, wage loss, and permanent disability pay regardless of who was at fault for your accident, as long as it was work-related.
However, there are certain circumstances where a personal injury claim, not a workers’ comp claim, is the appropriate avenue to seek the recovery of damages.
Some examples of this type of circumstance include:
- Accidents resulting in a burn injury that occurred on the job and the employer did not have workers’ compensation, even though he or she was required to have it.
- Work-related accidents that were caused by a third party (someone who is not your employer or your co-worker). An example of this would be if your accident occurred in a road construction zone and it was caused by the negligence of a driver who was passing through the work zone.
An experienced East Meadow burn injury attorney can help you determine the proper claim to make based on the facts of your case.
My spouse died due to an East Meadow burn injury. Can I recover damages?
Yes, but instead of filing a personal injury claim, you would file a wrongful death claim. Like burn injury claims, wrongful death claims are filed in civil court, and plaintiffs must prove that someone is liable for the death. Wrongful death claims are filed by personal representatives of the decedent’s estate on behalf of family members, including the decedent’s spouse, children, or parents.
The damages you might recover in a wrongful death case include:
- Medical expenses for the treatment of the decedent’s final injury.
- Expenses related to funeral services and cremation or burial.
- The loss of future earnings that the decedent would have been reasonably expected to earn through the remainder of his or her career, had he or she lived.
- The loss of support and services provided by the decedent to his or her survivors.
- The pain and suffering that the decedent experienced between the time of his or her injury and death.
I have been told that my East Meadow burn injury claim will likely settle out of court. Is this true?
The vast majority of East Meadow burn injury cases are, in fact, settled before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is true because litigation is expensive and time-consuming, and an at-fault party’s insurance provider will be reluctant to pay for litigation in cases where their insured is likely to be found liable for the injured person’s injury. However, these cases sometimes do go to court, so seek an attorney who is equally comfortable representing your case in settlement negotiations as well as through litigation.
The person who caused my burn injury is uninsured. Is that a problem?
Maybe. Insurance is the way that most East Meadow burn injury claims are paid. While it is possible to file a claim against an uninsured party and even obtain a judgment in your favor, it will be difficult to collect that judgment as most people cannot afford to pay for someone else’s medical expenses out-of-pocket. Your attorney will carefully review your case to identify all potentially liable parties and all sources of insurance you can access for compensation.
Will I have to pay taxes on my East Meadow burn injury settlement?
For the most part, the Internal Revenue Service does not consider your burn injury settlement or award to be income and it will not be subject to tax.
However, there are a couple of exceptions:
- You received punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages that are not related to specific expenses or impacts caused by the injury but are, instead, awarded to punish the defendant for particularly reckless behavior. Because they aren’t tied to specific expenses or impacts resulting from your injury, the IRS does consider them to be income and subjects this portion of your award to tax.
- You claimed medical expenses related to your injury as a deduction on your taxes. If you claimed your medical expenses on your taxes, you will likely need to repay the amount of your deduction when you file taxes for the tax year in which you received your award or settlement.
Can’t I just file my lawsuit by myself? Why do I need your East Meadow burn injury attorneys?
Burn injuries are complex in that they produce a high number of non-economic impacts and can also result in multiple surgeries spanning years to deal with scarring and other complications. Hire an East Meadow attorney with experience in the damages related to burns.
Your attorney can provide these essential services:
- A free case evaluation where you have the opportunity to have your legal questions answered and learn more about the process without obligation.
- A contingent fee payment basis, where you will not be charged for your attorney’s services until there is a successful outcome in your case.
- A valuation of your case based on past, present, and future injury-related expenses and the impacts your injury has had on your life.
- Determination of all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can be accessed to compensate you.
- The collection of evidence and witness testimony to prove your claims.
- Skilled negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance provider in an attempt to obtain a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
- Litigation, including the delivery of opening and closing statements, the presentation of evidence, and the examination of witness testimony.
- Assistance collecting your settlement or award.
Let us help you understand your legal options for recovering damages related to your East Meadow burn injury. For a free case evaluation, contact the experienced burn injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP by starting an online chat with one of our live representatives, our online contact form, or by calling (877) 565-2993.
East Meadow Office
90 Merrick Avenue, Suite 601
East Meadow, NY 11554
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