Mesa Burn Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered a burn injury, your first order of business, of course, is to seek medical treatment, preferably at a local burn center. Once that is accomplished, talk to a Mesa burn injury lawyer to find out what your rights are. Smith Alston has experienced personal injury attorneys who can provide an honest evaluation of your case, both as to liability and damages.
What are the common causes of burn injuries?
Burns can result from a variety of sources and causes, and there are a number of different kinds of burns:
- If your skin is exposed to hot liquids or gases, it can result in scalding. Scalding often occurs in the home or at the workplace. The cause can be related to something as simple as a tea kettle, or as complicated as a high-pressure steam line.
- Chemical burns. Many of these tend to be work-related injuries. They can be caused by sulfuric acid and other chemicals that damage the skin. But there are also chemicals that can burn the skin that are contained in household products, such as cleaners and solvents.
- Heat burns. Being exposed to a source of heat is the most common cause of burns. This category is large, including fires, heating appliances, fireplaces, barbeques, car and motorcycle exhaust pipes, and many, many others.
- Electrical burns. When your body is exposed to an electrical current, it can result in a serious burn. Examples include exposure to a live wire or electrical outlet in the home, or lightning outside. In addition to the damage to the skin that accompanies most burns, the electrical current can also cause damage to your internal organs.
- The most common causes of explosions relate to gas and oil. The explosion that can occur caused by the build-up of gas, for example, can be massive. Burns and other injuries typically occur as a result.
- Frozen surfaces and substances. While we usually think of burns in terms of exposure to heat, they can also be caused by extremely cold surfaces and elements, as well as prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures. Dry ice, liquid nitrogen and other substances can cause cold burns.
Clearly, when we talk about burn cases, both the causes and the severity varies. But most serious burns have one thing in common, and that is the pain suffered, and the extensive treatment required.
What benefits does workers’ compensation provide?
There are a number of categories of benefits that may be available when you file a workers’ compensation claim. Unlike damages in a regular lawsuit, both the types of damages, and in many cases the amount, is governed by statute. In addition, you are not entitled to damages for “pain and suffering” in your Arizona workers’ compensation claim.
Here are some of the categories of benefits to which you might be entitled in your workers’ compensation claim, providing you meet the statutory requirements:
- Medical benefits: You are entitled to medical coverage for your injury, and this includes everything from an emergency room visit, to a hospital stay, to doctor visits, medicine and similar items.
- Wages: If you lose more than seven days of work, you are entitled to a portion of your lost wages. The wage benefit you receive is based upon your average monthly wage. You can challenge the amount recommended by your employer, but you bear the burden of showing that it is more than that proposed. There are also maximum limits on wage benefits, depending upon your work income.
- Disability: Where your injury results in permanent disability and lost time from work, there are several categories of disability that may be applicable. Temporary total disability concerns the time period, if any, during which the doctor says that you are not released to do any work. Statutory benefits are set at a percentage of your average monthly earnings. Temporary partial disability benefits cover any time in which the doctor says you are able to do some work, but during which you continue to be under a doctor’s care. Your benefit will be a percentage of the difference between your average monthly wage and the amount you are currently making. Permanent disability is the stage at which your injury is not expected to improve, and you may then be eligible for permanent disability benefits, which is ordinarily a percentage of permanent disability. Note that your employer (or the insurance carrier) can challenge the existence and amount of the disability.
The workers’ compensation system is fraught with pitfalls for the unwary, and the potential of losing your rights and your benefits is very real if you do not obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable Phoenix workplace injury lawyer.
Proving liability and damages in burn cases
Theoretically, at least, there is nothing different about proving liability and damages in a case involving a burn injury, as in any other personal injury case: establish, fault (e.g., negligence, strict liability, intentional conduct), and provide evidence of necessary medical treatment (past, present and future), of pain and suffering, of lost wages and/or earning capacity, and other items of damage. But what makes these cases special is that proving the underlying cause of the explosion, electrical burn, etc., often requires painstaking investigation, including expert opinions. And the amount of the damages suffered by burn victims can be extremely high.
At the Smith Alston Law Team, we take these injuries seriously, and we understand how they can affect you and your family. We will work hard to see that you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled for your burn injury. Call us today, and see how we can help in your case.