A burn injury can potentially alter your life and leave you with expensive bills. Find out how much compensation you can get for a severe burn injury in Ohio.
Burn injuries can be pretty life-altering. They usually result in pain and sometimes lead to disfigurement or permanent scars. Many people also suffer psychological distress and long-term financial consequences after a burn injury. There are times when you could suffer a burn due to someone's negligence. In these situations, you may be entitled to compensation.
You might want to consider reaching out to a personal injury lawyer that handles burn injuries to help you recover compensation from the negligent party in such scenarios. However, there's a need to know how much compensation you can expect. This knowledge will help you successfully demand the actual value of your compensation claim. In this article, we'll help you figure out what to expect after a personal injury accident like a burn injury.
Degrees of Burn Injuries
Doctors classify burns based on the distinct degree of injury. As burn injuries are physical injuries, the depth of the injury determines its degree. Below are the different degrees of burns.
- First Degree Burn: When a person suffers first-degree burns, it means there's mild damage to the skin's surface. A full recovery is typical in such cases.
- Second Degree Burn: This type of burn usually means more severe damage. It could be caused by a hot water incident or a similar incident. A full recovery is possible with second-degree burns, but you might suffer scarring.
- Third Degree Burn: Such burns usually cause deep tissue damage that chars the skin. In third-degree burns, permanent disfigurement is very likely.
- Fourth Degree Burns: When you suffer fourth-degree burns, it causes damage to all layers of your skin, including your tendons, ligaments, and bones. This type of burn causes deeper tissue damage and internal injuries. It could lead to permanent disfigurement or death in some cases. In extreme cases, the nerves themselves are so burned that the victim doesn't feel pain in the affected areas.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries
For your legal team to appropriately represent you, it's essential to know the cause of the burn injury. Below are some of the most common causes of burn injuries.
- Defective products like electrical appliances.
- Highly flammable garments like curtains, blankets, and more.
- Hot liquid like coffee, hot water, etc.
- Chemical spills like acids or gasoline could result in permanent disability.
- Motor vehicle accidents.
- Traffic accidents in which defective parts are to blame.
- Burns resulting from medical care; this is medical malpractice.
- Explosions could lead to catastrophic injuries like fourth-degree burns.
It doesn't matter where the burn injury occurred; if you hire a burn injury attorney, they will try to get the maximum compensation you're entitled to.
Treatments and Complications
The different types of burns require varying treatments. For example, a fourth-degree burn qualifies as a medical emergency and usually requires plastic surgery, skin grafts, and many more medical procedures. Additionally, burn injury victims might require painful scrubbing of wounded skin.
You are highly susceptible to dangerous infections when you suffer a burn. Depending on the degree, recovery could last for weeks, months, years, or the injured party might never fully recover from the injury.
Calculating the Compensation to Expect for a Burn Injury
There is no fixed amount for how much your compensation claim is worth. Instead, each settlement is awarded on a case-to-case basis. So what one person gets often differs from the other.
When calculating your compensation, there are several factors to consider. First, you must take into account the degree of burn you suffered. It simply means that what a person with a first-degree burn will get would be less than what a fourth-degree burn victim will get.
Burn injury victims with a fourth-degree wound get millions of dollars in compensation. Another thing to consider is how long you will be receiving treatment. Again, a first-degree burn victim will not need as much treatment as someone with a fourth-degree burn. As such, if you require life-long treatment, you can receive a substantial amount from the at-fault party.
Recoverable Damages After a Burn Injury
The severity of your injury determines the compensatory damages you can receive. The damages you can recover usually fall into economic and non-economic damages. Ohio personal injury law recognizes these two types of compensatory damages, and below is a breakdown.
Economic damages are damages you can calculate monetarily. These are the medical bills incurred while receiving medical treatment for your injury. When filing a personal injury claim, you can file for compensation for past, present, and future medical bills related to the accident.
If the burn was severe, leading to damage of several layers of skin, you might keep generating medical expenses for years. It also covers lost earnings because, as an injured worker, you might not be able to perform your work duties. Every out-of-pocket cost incurred as a result of the accident falls under economic damages.
The liable party has to compensate the victim. This type of compensation is usually higher than economic damages. This is because you cannot calculate them monetarily. Typical non-economic damage is emotional anguish.
It doesn't matter if it is thermal burns or due to electrical shock; a burn victim might suffer from emotional pain if the burn causes facial disfigurement or any other type of scarring. Typically, an emotional pain and suffering claim considers the extent of the disfigurement since it might likely cause the injured party to be embarrassed or depressed.
You could also get compensation for physical pain and suffering because burn injuries usually cause chronic pain. Compensation could also be given for loss of enjoyment of life in cases where the burn injury leads to disability.
Many victims base their claim on ordinary negligence, receiving compensation for their medical costs and chronic pain. However, you can also choose to file for punitive damages in cases of gross negligence. Punitive damages are only available when you can prove that the negligent party acted maliciously or egregiously.
Punitive damages punish a defendant who acted in a reprehensible manner. Therefore, they pay higher compensation costs to feel the sting. However, you should note that punitive damages are harder to predict. Ohio usually limits punitive damages to 200% of the compensatory or 10% of the defendant's net worth. Ohio's limit on punitive damages is $350,000.
All personal injury claims in Ohio are subject to the modified comparative fault principle. This law gives an adjudicating body the ability to determine the percentage of fault each party shares. Your compensation will be determined by the level of fault you're assigned. If you are partially at fault, your compensation costs will be lower. However, if your fault is higher than 50%, you might not be able to recover any damages.
The defendant claims that the accident was partly your fault in some cases. For example, the responsible party may claim that you failed to follow your doctor's recommendation. If they can prove this, it will relieve some of their liability. On the other hand, if you are fifty percent or less at fault, the court will proportionate your damages. That means, if you're 25% at fault, then the court will take away 25% of your damages.
Let an Ohio Burn Injury Lawyer Help You
Burn injuries could be severe and result in lifelong physical and emotional pain. However, if you sustained injuries due to another person's negligence, you're entitled to compensation. If you choose to work with a law firm, your Ohio burn injury lawyer will represent you and fight for justice on your behalf.
At Babin Law, LLC, we're committed to providing efficient and effective legal representation for our clients. We'll start by gathering evidence and seeking a fair settlement once you fully understand your claim and its value. Begin by contacting us today for a free consultation.