Manhattan Burn Injury Attorneys
Accidental injuries of all types can devastate a person’s life. Few traumas we encounter as Manhattan personal injury lawyers, however, are as physically and emotionally painful for victims as severe burns are. Burns inflict agony from the moment they occur and for years afterward. They take a long time to heal, require excruciating treatments, and leave disfiguring scars.
If a severe burn injury resulting from someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional actions causes devastation in your life, you may have the right to recover substantial compensation by taking legal action. Call the Manhattan personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today for a free case evaluation.
About Our Manhattan Burn Injury Law Practice
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP is a Manhattan personal injury law firm. Our team commits itself to a singular mission: recovering compensation for Manhattan residents and visitors injured because of someone else’s wrongful actions.
We are a New York law firm through-and-through. Our Manhattan offices are located at 39 Broadway, just south of Trinity Church and north of Bowling Green; hallowed ground for New Yorkers like us who lived through 9/11 and know that nothing keeps the city and its 8.5 million residents down.
Our lawyers push, day-in, day-out, to fight for the rights of burn victims and their families. Burns are preventable injuries. Anyone who failed to take the necessary steps to stop a burn from happening to our clients needs to be held accountable under the law. That is our mission.
Over our decades representing injured Manhattanites, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation from parties who did our clients harm, including by failing to prevent severe burns. No Manhattan burn case has a guaranteed outcome, of course. However, when burn victims and their families hire Jacoby & Meyers, LLP to represent them in seeking damages, they can rest easy knowing their legal team has a reputation for getting results, and the track record to match.
“I had an amazing experience with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. I would highly recommend them for anyone needing a law firm.” -Paul T.
Severe Burn Injuries: An Overview of a Trauma That Affects Our Clients
Severe burns are disturbingly common. According to the American Burn Association, burns represent “one of the leading causes of unintentional death and injury in the United States.” Over just four years, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated nearly half a million fire or burn injuries. The vast majority of burns occur in the home, and disproportionately affect children, who suffer nearly one-fourth of all burn injuries.
Manhattan, however, is home to some of the greatest hospitals on the planet. One of those, New York Presbyterian on the Upper East Side, operates a top-flight burn center where some of our clients have received treatment. (It is one of four burn centers in the five boroughs.) The information below about severe burns is taken from New York Presbyterian’s online Health Library, where patients, their families, and anyone else, can obtain important information about health conditions that Manhattan hospitals routinely treat.
Severe Burn Modes
Generally speaking, a burn is an injury to the skin and (sometimes) muscles, bones, and other tissue beneath it. Burns happen in many different ways:
- Heat (or “thermal”) burns result from exposure to high heat, such as from a fire, steam, liquids or coming into contact with a hot object. The burn you get from touching a hot pan on a stove is a thermal burn.
- Cold burns result from prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. Frostbite is a form of cold burn, for instance.
- Electrical burns result from exposure to electricity (which may include live wires or lightning). An electrical burn may happen, for example, when a construction worker’s jackhammer cuts through a buried power line.
- Chemical burns result from contact between the skin and caustic substances, materials, or gases, such as acids. A burn from getting household solvents like drain cleaner on your hands is a chemical burn.
- Radiation burns result from exposure to high-intensity waves or particles. A sunburn, for example, is a form of radiation burn (not a thermal burn, as one might think). So is a burn that results from exposure to a radioactive substance.
- Friction burns result from the heat and abrasion that occurs when skin rubs against another surface. “Road rash” is a sort of friction burn.
Ranking Burns by Severity
Medical professionals “rank” burns by their degree of severity, which in turn helps to determine the appropriate course of treatment.
- First degree burns are the sort you get at home or by staying out in the sun too long. They affect only your outer layer of skin, called the “epidermis.” You can usually treat first degree burns with over-the-counter products and painkillers, and they will usually heal on their own within a week’s time.
- Second degree burns (also called “partial thickness burns”) affect several layers of skin. They have varying symptoms, but may cause pain and blisters, or may leave the skin looking white or spotted. They frequently require medical attention, and pose a risk of infection.
- Third degree burns (or “total thickness burns”) cause damage to all of a person’s skin layers and the tissue beneath. They leave the skin hard and leathery. They virtually always require medical attention and pose a high risk of infection.
- Fourth degree burns damage not only skin and tissue, but bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or organs beneath. These burns are life-threatening and require emergency medical treatment.
For anything but the most obviously minor burn, seek medical attention. Do not try to “play doctor” by diagnosing the severity of your burn on your own. Any burn other than a first degree burn risks potential life-threatening infection.
Treatment for burns varies by burn severity and burn mode. As noted above, you can treat minor burns at home with over-the-counter ointments and painkillers. Treating severe burns may require wound care, antibiotics, skin graft and/or plastic surgery, life-support interventions, prescription medication, and various forms of physical, mental health, and occupational therapy. Many of these treatments may last months and can cause significant physical and emotional pain. Even after burns heal, they can also leave permanent scarring.
How Our Clients Sustain Severe Burns
Statistics show that most burns happen at home. The vast majority of those burns, however, consist of first-degree burns such as by touching a hot pan on the stove or spilling hot liquid on exposed skin. When it comes to severe burns, however, a wider variety of preventable incidents can play a contributing role. Below are some of the more common ways clients of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have sustained severe burns. No matter how a severe burn occurs, however, if it results from someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentional conduct, then you may have legal rights to significant compensation.
Building fires, including fires at home or in a workplace, cause a significant number of the severe burn injuries that happen in Manhattan every year. According to the American Burn Association, a civilian fire death occurs every 2 hours, 35 minutes in the United States.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents can cause several types of severe burn injuries. Thermal burns occur when a collision causes fire to break out. Friction burns occur frequently when one of the motorists involved in a motorcycle accident.
Workplace and Construction Incidents
A workplace or construction site can contain a wide variety of hazards that could cause severe burns. Industrial chemicals and solvents can cause severe chemical burns. Heavy equipment overheats, risking thermal burns for those who touch it. Welding torches pose a danger of thermal and electrical burns. Work activities around electrical or gas lines risk accidental burns from arcing electricity or explosions.
Consumers have every right to expect that the household cleaners, appliances, children’s toys, and other products they bring home will work as expected and not put them in danger. Unfortunately, time-and-again, products on store shelves contain hidden dangers and defects that can cause severe burns, either by igniting a fire, inflicting a toxic exposure, overheating, or in extreme cases, exploding.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Burn injuries cause immense pain and suffering. Burn victims often face a long road to recovery, including the potential for setbacks from complications and permanent scarring. Below we answer some of the most common questions we receive from clients and potential clients. If you have questions about your legal options after sustaining a burn injury, then contact our attorneys for a free case evaluation.
Do I have grounds to sue for a burn injury?
If someone else’s dangerous decisions or careless actions caused an incident that left you severely burned, then you may have grounds to take legal action seeking compensation.
In general, New Yorkers have the right to take legal action for damages when someone owed them a duty of care, violated that duty through action or inaction, and as a result caused them severe burns. For example, a homeowner who fails to warn a visitor about an exposed steam pipe that causes the visitor a severe burn may have liability for that burn injury. Likewise, a construction contractor who is told it is safe to dig in a certain location but sustains severe burns when his equipment contacts a buried power line may have a claim against those who gave him faulty information.
These are just examples, of course. Every burn injury results from a unique series of events and actions. Speak with an experienced Manhattan burn injury attorney to evaluate your rights.
How much compensation do I deserve for my burns?
It depends. The compensation a person may have the ability to receive for burns tends to vary depending upon:
- Burn severity. Burns can cause long-term medical issues, high risk of complication, scarring, disfigurement, and overwhelming medical expense. As a general matter, the compensation you may have a right to receive for your burns will depend on their severity and, as a consequence, their impact on your health, wellbeing, day-to-day life, and finances.
- Who has a legal liability to you. As a practical matter, the amount of money you may receive for your burn injury can also depend on who has the legal liability to you for causing that injury, and that person’s or entity’s financial resources. Oftentimes, the party at fault for your burn injury will carry some form of liability insurance that covers your injury. The higher the limits of that insurance, the greater the likelihood that you may recover the full amount you deserve. The legally-liable party may also have other assets that could serve as a source of compensation for you.
I suffered serious complications while recovering from my burns. Can I claim compensation for those medical expenses, too?
Yes. Burns can bring with them a host of potential complications, including:
- Scarring, which may require plastic surgery to help restore normal appearance or mobility around a joint impacted by the burn
- Fluid loss and blood loss, both immediately after the accident and during the healing process
- Substantial risk of infection
- Failed skin grafts, which can require future procedures to repair
As a general matter, you can claim compensation for any medical expenses associated with your burns, including the cost of treatment for complications. Many burn injury victims suffer some type of complication at some point during their recovery. Staying in a specialized burn unit can help reduce the risk of complications by reducing infection risk and ensuring treatment by doctors who specialize in handling burns; however, even with the highest quality of care, you may still face severe complications and their associated medical expenses.
Who has to pay my medical bills after a burn accident?
Your medical expenses belong to you. It is your responsibility to pay them. Most burn injury victims, however, do not have the financial resources to pay those bills out of their own pockets. Instead, personal insurance often covers at least some of that expense. For example, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will tend to cover the costs of treating burns suffered in a car accident. A person’s health insurance will also routinely cover the medical costs associated with a severe burn.
Insurance coverage, however, has its limits. Not only do insured parties have co-pays and deductibles to cover, but the insurance itself may run out after expenses reach a dollar-value threshold.
Many burn injury victims find themselves in that frightening situation. If a burn results from someone else’s wrongful actions, however, those victims may have the ability to seek compensation for burn injury costs from those at fault parties, whether they are individuals or entities. Many legally-liable parties will also carry liability insurance that will provide coverage for the medical expenses associated with a burn.
How soon do I need to file a personal injury claim for my burns?
The timing for when and how to pursue your legal rights after suffering a burn injury depends upon the facts of your particular case. However, the sooner you get started working with an experienced burn injury attorney, the better. The outside time-limit for taking legal action for your burn injury is known as a statute of limitations, and in New York is generally three years from the date of your injury. If you fail to take action to preserve your legal rights within that three-year window, then you risk losing your rights to receive compensation for your injury from the party who caused it.
Why should I hire an attorney to handle my burn injury claim?
Many burn injury victims worry about the expense of hiring an attorney to help them. They need not have those worries. Our burn injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis in which they only get paid when our client recovers compensation.
As for why a person should hire an attorney, the short answer is: because you cannot hope to recover the compensation you deserve on your own. Lawyers have years of training and experience in how to protect and enforce an injured person’s legal rights against anyone who caused that person harm. Among the many important services attorneys routinely perform for their clients:
- They investigate burn incidents to determine who has a legal liability and how much they owe. It may seem obvious to you how your burn happened. However, an experienced attorney digs deep into the facts to understand not just the burn incident itself, but also the whole series of actions and decisions that led to it. The goal of that investigation is to identify every person or entity who may have a legal liability for a burn injury, and to figure out which of them has the ability—either through assets or insurance policies—to pay damages. The attorney also works to calculate the amount of money a burn injury client should receive for those injuries.
- They negotiate with legally liable parties. Attorneys frequently engage with legally-liable parties to attempt to reach a negotiated settlement of a burn injury claim. The goal in these negotiations is typically to achieve maximum compensation for the client as a settlement payment in exchange for the client agreeing to release the parties from liability. Settlement negotiations around burn injuries can get complicated, because disputes often arise about the client’s future financial needs to pay for ongoing care.
- They take burn cases to court, if necessary. Sometimes, a lawyer will advise a burn injury client that the best way to achieve maximum compensation is to take a case all the way to a trial in front of a Manhattan judge and jury. Experienced lawyers have the skills and resources to present a complicated burn case to a jury in simple, compelling terms.
The liable party’s insurance company has been very accommodating—they offered me a settlement check right after the accident and said they could have it to me in a matter of days. Should I accept?
Never accept any settlement offer without first consulting with an experienced Manhattan burn injury attorney. Be especially wary of any settlement offer made quickly by an at-fault party’s insurance company. It is a sure bet that offer does not even begin to pay you the amount of money you deserve for your burn injury. As tempting as it might feel to take the money, speak with a lawyer right away to protect your rights to the compensation the law entitles you to receive.
How long will it take for me to get a settlement for my burns?
First, not all cases settle. Some go to trial. Others do not succeed. There are no guarantees of how a case will end.
That having been said, the timeline for how long a burn injury case may take to achieve a positive resolution—a payment of one kind or another—can vary widely. We have represented burn injury clients who have recovered money in just a few months. We have also handled cases that took years to achieve a successful outcome.
The duration of a burn injury claim depends on a wide variety of factors, including:
- The complexity of the case. Generally speaking, the more complicated the facts, the higher the likelihood of dispute about them, and the longer a case can take.
- The number of parties involved. The greater the number of parties, usually, the longer the timeframe.
- The amount of money involved. Small dollar cases tend to reach a resolution faster than big dollar cases.
- The parties’ willingness to negotiate. Some parties take a deal-minded approach to a burn injury case. Others want to fight the issues out in court first. The more willing parties are to sit down and talk about a settlement, the faster—usually—a case will move.
Speak with an experienced Manhattan burn injury attorney to get a sense of the potential timeline for your burn injury claim.
What should I do to protect my rights after suffering serious burns?
Your actions after suffering a severe burn can substantially impact the compensation you may ultimately receive. Take these steps to help protect your health and legal rights:
- Seek medical care immediately. Prompt medical care can make a huge difference in your recovery from even minor burns. Avoid using home remedies and treatments, which may increase the risk of infection or scarring. Instead, seek care from a medical professional right away. An experienced medical professional should evaluate your burns and take appropriate steps to treat them. Follow all advice given to you by medical professionals.
- Report your accident. Tell someone about your injury right away. Who you tell will vary depending on how you suffered a burn, of course. Tell your boss if you get burned at work, tell a business owner if you get burned at a store, and so on. Telling someone you have suffered a burn helps to ensure that important evidence of how the burn happened gets preserved, and helps to establish the timing and circumstances of your burn in case someone later questions how you suffered it.
- Beware of insurance companies and offers to settle. As discussed above, be wary of insurance companies who offer you a quick payment. Whatever they offer will not be enough to compensate you. Also, do not accept free products or perks offered by a business where you sustained a burn. Accepting these benefits could constitute an agreement to settle your claim and give up your legal rights. Never, ever, sign anything without consulting a lawyer first.
- Contact an attorney. Do not wait to contact an attorney after an incident in Manhattan in which you sustain a severe burn. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better your chances of receiving every penny of compensation you deserve.
How a Burn Injury Lawyer Can Help
Victims and their families face a sudden and seemingly-overwhelming transformation of their lives after a preventable incident inflicts a severe burn. First, they must contend with often-excruciating physical and emotional pain, accompanied by lengthy hospital stays and extended courses of medical treatment. Then, they must face the financial consequences of the severe burn; not just huge medical expenses, but the loss of the burn victim’s income temporarily or even permanently.
Amid such stressful circumstances, Manhattan burn victims and their families may realize they “need a lawyer,” but more often than not they do not necessarily understand what a lawyer can do for them.
In the simplest sense, an experienced Manhattan burn injury lawyer helps victims and their families obtain compensation for their injuries from the parties whose actions caused them to suffer a severe burn. No one should see their lives upended by a severe burn that could have been prevented, were it not for someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentional actions. Recovering money from wrongdoers cannot change the past, but it can help victims and their families pay for treatment and regain some stability in their lives.
What, specifically, do burn injuries attorneys do to help obtain that compensation? Here are some of the most common services an experienced Manhattan burn injury law firm like Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can offer clients.
They Investigate Burn Incidents and Find Out Who Was at Fault
The sequence of events that leads up to a severe burn is not always as clear-cut as it might seem. Burn victims typically know how they ended up with a severe burn, but they may not realize how many factors made that burn likely to occur, or whose actions contributed to those factors. An experienced burn injury attorney will often dig into the details of how a client’s burn happened, picking apart the facts to pinpoint how the burn could have been prevented, and who could have prevented it.
Why is this important? Because someone who could have prevented the burn may have a legal liability to the burn victim for damages. As a general matter, the more of those potentially-liable parties an attorney can identify, the better the chances of the client recovering the maximum compensation potentially available.
They Seek Settlements From Legally Liable Parties
Once a Manhattan burn injury attorney has identified the parties who have a legal liability to a client suffering from a severe burn injury, the attorney can decide when and how to begin trying to convince those parties to pay the client fair and appropriate damages as a “settlement.” Frequently, this process involves negotiating with insurance companies whose policies ensure against preventable incidents that cause severe burns and other types of injuries.
In many cases, these negotiations lead to a favorable settlement for the client.
They May Take Legally Liable Parties to Court
But not always. Sometimes, the individuals or companies who bear the blame for someone suffering a severe injury refuse to face up to their own actions. When that happens, an experienced Manhattan burn injury attorney, after consulting with his or her client, may decide to file a legal action in court. Oftentimes, taking this step will bring a legally liable party back to the negotiating table and lead to a settlement. But, if not, an experienced lawyer can take the burn injury case to trial to convince a judge and jury that the client deserves damages from the party who should have prevented the burn.
Call Our Tough, Experienced Manhattan Burn Injury Attorneys
For decades, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has committed its law practice to fighting for compensation on behalf of injured New Yorkers. If a severe burn caused by someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentional actions has led to devastation in your life, then our team of dedicated and tireless burn injury advocates wants to hear from you. You may have the right to recover significant compensation, but act soon. Call our Manhattan office at (212) 445-7000, start a live chat with one of our representatives, or contact us online for your free case evaluation today.