A Columbia burn injury lawyer from Louthian Law Firm, P.A., may be able to help you recover compensation and get justice if you or a loved one suffered serious burns. In many cases, burns occur because of another party’s negligence. This is true in many building fires, car accidents, and other incidents. Our team can help you hold the negligent party legally responsible, and you could receive compensation for your medical bills and more.
Louthian Law Firm, P.A., offers free case assessments from our Columbia location. You can discuss your injuries and the circumstances that led to them with a team member for free today. Our Columbia personal injury lawyers will answer questions, offer advice about your legal options, and explain how our attorneys may be able to help. Contact us now online or on the phone 803-592-6231 to get started.
We Helped Clients in Many Types of Columbia Burn Injuries
When most people think of burn injuries, they think of fires and explosions. However, this is not the only way that burns occur.
There are several primary ways burns occur:
- Thermal burns: These burns occur when there is contact with high temperatures. This could include fires or explosions but can also occur with hot metal or glass surfaces, scalding liquids, steam, and more. Damage to the skin is often extensive when there is prolonged contact. Smoke inhalation and heat injuries inside the lungs are also a major concern for many patients.
- Chemical burns: When the skin, eyes, or airway contacts strong chemicals, burns can occur. Detergents, solvents, or other strong acids or alkalis may be to blame. Property owners are responsible for keeping these secure and away from children and others who do not know how to handle them properly.
- Electrical burns: Electrical current—whether alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC)—can cause significant burn injuries when handled improperly. Exposed wiring, poor designs that have outlets near water, and other hazards can lead to accidental electrocution.
- Radiation burns: When a person experiences prolonged exposure to radiation, serious burns can develop. While sunburn is the most common example, this is not usually an emergent concern. Most serious radiation exposures occur at work, although it may be possible to accidentally encounter large amounts of radiation in other locations.
- Friction burns: Friction burns, sometimes called “road rash,” include damage to the soft tissue that occurs when someone slides across a paved or textured surface at a significant rate of speed. It is common in motorcycle accident injuries, pedestrian collisions, and bicycle accidents.
In many cases, burn injuries occur because of someone else’s negligence. This most commonly happens in premises liability and traffic accidents. Property owners and occupiers are responsible for keeping visitors safe from fires, hot surfaces, steam and scalding liquids, exposed electrical work, dangerous chemicals, and other burn hazards.
Failing to do so could result in liability for their injuries.
At the same time, drivers must follow all applicable traffic laws to keep others in their vehicles and on the road around them safe. When an accident occurs, and the victim suffers burn injuries, the careless driver is likely legally responsible.
At Louthian Law Firm, P.A., our firm knows how to determine if negligence played a role in your burn injuries and who is legally liable if so. We may be able to help you recover compensation for your extensive damages, including your lasting scarring and disfigurement and any related disabilities. We are here to help after a Columbia burn injuries incident.
Burn Injury Dangers
While everyone, young or old, is at risk of a burn injury, the CDC indicates that men are more likely than women to experience these types of injuries. In fact, males account for 64 percent of the total costs related to fire and burn injuries.
The American Burn Association reports that 44 percent of patients admitted to burn injury centers in 2010 were injured by fire. Scalding injuries caused 33 percent of the injuries of patients admitted to burn centers, while 4 percent had suffered an electrical burn and 3 percent had suffered a chemical burn.
Injuries due to fire, electrical injuries, chemical injuries and other burns can occur in a variety of situations.
Some examples include:
- Residential fires — Home fires, which are often started by cooking, cigarettes, defective products or electrical shorts, cause an estimated 87.5 percent of burn deaths, according to the American Burn Association. Once a fire ignites, it is often fed by furniture, some of which is made with a type of polyurethane foam so flammable that some firefighters have referred to it as “solid gasoline.”
- Car wrecks and truck accidents — Cars and trucks can catch fire in accidents, often related to defects in their design or manufacture. When they catch fire, they have a large, conveniently located source of fuel to keep them burning — the gas tank. Occupants of the vehicle must get out quickly in order to avoid serious burns, but sometimes that is impossible when doors jam or occupants are otherwise trapped inside.
- Workplace accidents — According to OSHA, when workers suffer an electrical shock or are exposed to electrical current, an electrical burn is the most common injury. High temperatures near the body that are caused as a result of an electrical or explosion arc can also cause serious flash burns. Thermal contact burns, on the other hand, can occur if a worker’s clothing ignites or if the worker comes into contact with overhead electrical equipment. Exploding boilers or water heaters, gas explosions and radiation are other major workplace burn hazards.
- Chemical exposure — Chemical burns can happen in residential and work settings. People can be injured by coming into contact with chemicals in the home, such as products intended for cleaning, hair care or nail care. Household products that can cause chemical burns include concrete mix, toilet cleaners, pool chlorinators and bleach. Workers in labs and in the cleaning or construction industries are also at a high risk of danger for chemical burns.
E-Cigarettes: Sharp Increase in Exploding Batteries and Horrific Burns
If you vape on a regular basis, please read on.
Vaping as an alternative to cigarette smoking might reduce your risk of lung and other cancers. But the hazards of the batteries that power the e-cigarettes are increasing at an alarming rate. Literally hundreds of people have been injured and maimed, some severely, by exploding batteries. As of July 13 during 2016 alone, at least 50 exploding battery situations in the US have occurred.
Treating Columbia, SC, Burn Injuries Can Be Extremely Expensive
Columbia is home to one of the few comprehensive burn centers in the region and the only one in South Carolina. The South Carolina Burn Center at MUSC Health, or its companion pediatric care unit, is where you will likely receive care after a serious burn injury in South Carolina. This facility provides a wide range of minimally invasive, cutting-edge treatments and rehabilitation options for those who need them.
However, burn injuries are among the most expensive to treat and recover from. The risk of infection is high, so patients with serious burns require constant monitoring, regular surgeries and debridement, possibly a series of skin grafts, and significant rehabilitation and therapy. The cost of care can easily reach six figures in a few hours or days.
Damages You Can Recover in a Burn Injury Case
Our team understands how much stress these medical bills can put on a family. When you consider missing work and the additional expenses and losses, many people feel forced to put their financial worries ahead of their health. We do not believe this is right when your injuries occurred due to no fault of yours. This is why we fight to help our clients recover compensation for their injuries and related damages.
This frequently includes:
- Medical bills and related expenses to date
- Estimated future treatment, care, and support costs
- Loss of income from time missed working
- Diminished earning capacity for lasting disabilities
- Miscellaneous related expenses, with receipts
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Other non-economic losses
When injuries are catastrophic in nature, such as those that leave the victim with a lasting disability, we may be able to seek compensation for money spent to ensure the person can access their home and live more independently.
For example, if a victim lost one or both legs because of their burn injuries, they may require a wheelchair and ramp. Other home renovations may also be necessary. Save all your receipts from these projects, and we may be able to seek reimbursement.
If You Lost Your Loved One to a Burn Injury
Unfortunately, not all burn injuries are survivable. Lung injuries, deep thickness burns over a large portion of the body, and infections all frequently lead to fatalities in a burn unit.
If someone’s negligence caused the burns, South Carolina law allows the administrator or executor of the estate to take legal action on the family’s behalf.
Our attorneys file these wrongful death actions regularly and know how to navigate the process, show negligence and liability, and recover compensation for our clients when possible. We may be able to help your family secure compensation for lost income, medical bills, funeral and burial costs, non-economic damages, and more. We can review your legal options with you for free today.
Documenting Liability for a Columbia Burn Injury
The burn injury attorneys from Louthian Law Firm, P.A., understand how to use South Carolina law to hold negligent parties liable for the harm they cause, including burn injuries, pain and suffering, and financial hardships. The applicable laws depend greatly on the circumstances of what happened and how their actions caused your injuries.
Premises Liability Accidents
Property owners and occupiers tasked with property maintenance must keep their property free from significant hazards that could cause injuries.
This includes ensuring there are:
- No known fire hazards
- Working smoke alarms
- Emergency exits as required under local and state law
- No exposed electrical wiring
- No exposure to steam or scalding liquids
- No hazardous chemicals in easily-accessed areas
When someone suffers a burn injury because of a hazard on the property, we need to gather evidence to show what occurred. The property owner is likely liable under case law, Sojourner v. Autozone Inc et al. Their corporate liability or homeowners policy may pay for the victim’s damages.
In traffic accidents, it is usually the at-fault driver who is legally liable for injuries and damages. In these events, we need to have evidence to show that the driver violated a traffic law by acting carelessly or recklessly, and this caused the crash. We can then file a claim based on that driver’s auto liability policy to recover compensation.
Most serious burn injuries occur because of negligence.
There are four elements necessary to prove negligence:
- The accused party had a duty to behave a certain way to keep the victim safe.
- They failed to do so.
- Their failure caused the accident or incident.
- The victim suffered injuries.
Some of the evidence available in a burn injury case depends on the type of incident that caused it. Our lawyers know the evidence that may be available regardless of how your injuries occurred. We can gather this evidence, document what happened, and use what we learn to support our claim for fair and just compensation in the case.
Burn Injury Case FAQs
What kinds of accidents cause scalding burns?
While some instances of scalding happen in the home simply as a result of carelessness or perhaps not having a good grip on a pot of hot water, there are circumstances in which the negligence of another person or company can cause scalding injuries, and these are the ones in which the Louthian Law Firm can be of assistance:
- A commercial kitchen may not have adequate safety procedures or training.
- A nursing home, hotel, dorm, apartment complex or other housing may have failed to install temperature regulators on bath and shower plumbing. When tap water reaches 140° F, it can cause a third degree burn in just five seconds.
- A nursing home or assisted living resident may be scalded while bathing if they are not properly supervised.
How does electricity cause a burn?
Some victims of electrical burns received their injuries from a “natural” source – lightning. By far, the vast majority of electrical burns are caused by contact with a manmade electrical current. Electrical burns can be tremendously devastating, whether they come from an electric arc, in which electricity travels through the air, or an electric current. They can completely destroy skin and tissue, requiring skin grafts or amputations. Electrical burns can happen anywhere there is wiring that is frayed; when a cord has been damaged, cut or worn from use; when the wiring was improperly installed; or from a defective appliance.
Where do chemical burns happen?
Oftentimes, chemical burns are sustained in the workplace, but they can happen at home as well when a person comes in contact with a toxic material or one that forms a dangerous reaction when combined with another substance. Most cases of chemical exposure occur in factories or locations where dangerous chemicals are manufactured or stored, but even office workers can suffer chemical burns from exposure to fumes if the area is not sufficiently ventilated. Some of the most common sources of chemical burns are degreasing solvents, cleaning supplies, and petroleum products. Occupations in which workers may suffer chemical burns are many and varied: maintenance and repair workers; maids, housekeepers and janitors; heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers; truck and diesel mechanics; and workers at labs and processing plants.
How are explosions involved in burn injuries?
An explosion that occurs when natural gas or propane is ignited by static electricity or a spark can cause a fire which then causes burn injuries. Additionally, even dust can ignite and explode with enough force to destroy a building. Plants where agricultural products are processed and stored have been the location of many tragic explosions, and factories where grinding and polishing are done must be diligent in their dust abatement procedures. While an explosion may result from commercial activity, innocent bystanders and area residents are often among the victims. The Columbia explosion lawyers of the Louthian Law Firm can help your family if an explosion has injured or killed your loved one.
Are burns common occupational injuries?
Yes. Work-related burns – whether chemical, electrical, or thermal — account for 20 to 25 percent of all serious burns in the United States.
What should employers be doing to prevent burn accidents?
Burn injuries are highly preventable. Employers have a duty to protect workers by following OSHA rules, maintaining equipment, providing adequate training and protective equipment, and implementing procedures that minimize the dangers inherent in some jobs and locations.
Don’t injured workers get workers’ compensation?
In most cases, yes. But workers’ compensation is limited to medical expenses and wages. It doesn’t compensate the injured individual or his family for things like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, reduced earning capacity in the future, scarring or disfigurement. In many cases, a workplace burn accident can be traced beyond the employer to a third party – the company which manufactured the defective equipment or tools which caused the injury; the non-employer owner of the building; a vendor or contractor on the employer’s property. Remember, damages from a third party can be sought in addition to workers’ comp.
Are there instances in which a house fire may be caused by negligence?
Absolutely, and this is when our investigative team will go into action, working to uncover the cause of the fire and identify all parties which may have had a role in creating the situation which caused the fire. Residential fires can be caused by:
- faulty wiring
- malfunctioning smoke detectors
- defective appliances, such as space heaters
- a contractor who took shortcuts
- a propane appliance or supplier
- negligent repairmen
- and a host of other causes.
I have heard burns classified by degree. What does that mean?
The higher the degree, the more serious the burn. A first degree burn is when only the outer layer of the skin is damaged. It is usually red and painful, but healing occurs in 3 to 5 days. In second degree burns, there may be blisters, damage to the outer layer of skin and damage to some or all other layers of the skin. The burn victim may experience either pain or numbness, depending on the depth of the burn. Second degree burns may heal in a few weeks or they may require skin grafts after damaged tissue has been removed. In third degree burns, all layers of the skin are destroyed and damage extends into the tissues. These burns will most likely require skin grafts and may take months to heal. Fourth degree burns extend into the muscle and bone.
Our Columbia Burn Injury Attorneys Navigate the Claims Process for You
The Louthian Law Firm, P.A.’s burn injury attorneys can handle your Columbia accident case with no upfront expenses for your family. We are a contingency fee firm and take legal action for our clients without them sacrificing what money they have to pay a retainer. Our attorney’s fees come from the payout we recover for you.
If we do not win your case, we do not get paid.
When we handle a Columbia burn injury case for a client, there are two ways we may recover compensation:
- Negotiating a settlement with the liable party’s insurance company
- Getting a verdict at trial
Most successful cases settle outside of court, although some go to trial. Even when we file suit against the liable party, a settlement is more likely. Our team handles all aspects of this process, allowing clients to participate as much or as little as they want. We want your health and well-being to be your top priority during this time, so we can manage the case while providing you with regular updates.
We support every claim we file with evidence, building a strong case and demanding just compensation based on the damages and injuries our client incurred. We negotiate for a fair settlement when possible. If the insurer will not budge or there are other concerns, we may recommend suing in a Richland County civil court and asking a jury to award compensation.
Our attorneys can discuss the pros and cons of a lawsuit with you if this is necessary in your case. It often encourages the insurer to increase its settlement offer, and we can still settle without moving further into the legal process or preparing for trial. If we go to trial, our team will ensure you know what to expect and feel comfortable with any appearances you need to make in the courtroom.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Columbia Burn Injury Lawsuit?
There are deadlines that apply to suing the liable party in a Columbia burn injury case.
According to South Carolina law, this generally includes:
- Three years from the injury date if the victim survived
- Three years from the date of death for wrongful deaths
However, this is not the primary concern for our attorneys at Louthian Law Firm, P.A.
Instead, we worry about the strength of the case we can build and the time we have to work on a claim if you wait too long to contact us. Evidence can disappear quickly in these cases.
We like to get started as soon as a client contacts us, so we have plenty of time to investigate, build a case, and negotiate with the liable party’s insurer before we decide if we need to sue.
Talk to Our Team About Your Burn Injuries Today for Free
Speak to a team member from Louthian Law Firm, P.A., about your Columbia, SC, burn injuries today for free. Our team provides these complimentary initial conversations about what happened, the injuries you suffered, and the expenses you endured. We can assess your case and help you decide what to do next. We may represent you and help you recover compensation for your medical bills, missed income, and more.