The Burn Injury Lawyers of Abel Law Firm
You might be entitled to compensation if someone’s careless or negligent actions caused your burn injury. The Oklahoma City injury lawyers of Abel Law Firm can represent you and provide the legal services you need to hold the at-fault party liable for their misconduct.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 180,000 people die annually from burn injuries. Dangerous working conditions, fires, car accidents, and many other incidents can lead to burns. A burn’s severity can range from minor to life-threatening. Some can lead to ongoing pain, disfigurement, or physical disability.
Someone suffering from a burn injury might require surgery to repair the damage to their skin, nerves, and other structures. Many people need to attend physical therapy or rehabilitation treatment to regain mobility in the affected limb. Others end up with severe psychological trauma and require counseling or prescription medications.
An incident causing burns can upend your whole life. That kind of accident causes physical damage and can ruin your self-confidence if you’re left with scars. The accident and your resulting injuries could lead to anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The medical treatment you need to recover can put you in severe debt. If you can’t afford to see a doctor or get treatment, you won’t get the chance to heal.
At Abel Law Firm, our Oklahoma City burn injury attorneys know the burden you’re facing. You can depend on us to fight for the justice you deserve and seek the maximum compensation to cover your losses. Find out more about how we can help by calling us at (405) 239-7046 for a free consultation.
Different Degrees of Burns
Burns are common injuries that damage skin and kill skin cells. Many people recover without hospitalization and don’t suffer long-term health problems. However, some require emergency medical care to prevent life-threatening complications.
Three main degrees of burns indicate the severity of the injury and how much damage occurred:
- First-degree: Red skin but no blister formation
- Second-degree: Thickening of the skin and some blisters
- Third-degree: Skin thickening over a large area with a leathery and white appearance
It’s also possible to suffer fourth-degree burns. Symptoms are similar to third-degree burns, but the damage can extend below the skin to the bones, nerves, and tendons.
Most Common Causes of Burn Injuries
Some burn injuries happen at home with an open flame from the stove or fireplace. Others can occur at a construction site while someone handles toxic chemicals. Some burns can result from an electrical current.
The most common types of burns that can occur are:
- Chemical burns – Strong solvents, detergents, or acids contact the skin, causing burn injuries.
- Cold burns – Otherwise known as frostbite. Damages the skin in extreme freezing temperatures. This burn can also occur if your body touches something cold for an extended period.
- Electrical burns – Exposure to electricity or an electrical current can cause damage below the skin.
- Scalding burns – Hot liquids, steam, and scalding coffee can burn the top layer of skin and even cause damage to the layers underneath.
- Explosions – If a gas line explodes, the heat of the blast could cause burns to anyone nearby.
- Car accidents – Motor vehicle crashes typically result in burn injuries if a car catches on fire or hot fluids, such as oil or engine fluids, leak and touch the skin.
- Radiation burns – Radiation exposure, such as during an x-ray or from the sun, can cause radiation burns.
- Fires – Anything from a cooking accident to a house fire can lead to burns if flames touch a person’s skin.
- Thermal burns – Skin cells begin to die if your skin touches a hot substance like boiling water, steam, or cooking oil or comes into contact with hot objects.
If you suffer a burn injury, you must seek medical treatment immediately. If you don’t have a healthcare professional evaluate your condition, you could have severe complications that lead to infection, cardiac arrest, or death.
Common Complications Associated with Burns
If you sustain a first-degree burn, you might heal completely. However, more severe burns could cause medical problems, especially if a doctor doesn’t treat them properly and promptly.
Whether your injury occurred in a car accident, at work, or on vacation, you should go to the hospital to begin an appropriate treatment plan to prevent further damage.
The most common complications burns can cause are:
- Infections – Sepsis and bacterial infections are common if the infection spreads from the skin to a person’s bloodstream. A limb amputation might be necessary to keep the infection from moving to other parts of the body. If the infection continues to spread and causes further damage, including organs shutting down and, eventually, death.
- Difficulty breathing – Smoke inhalation from an explosion or fire can cause respiratory issues, esophageal injuries, and lung damage. You could have trouble breathing and need emergency personnel to administer oxygen.
- Scarring – Significant scars could result from a burn, and you may need a skin graft or surgery to repair the damage to your skin. Grafting leaves scars, too.
- Emotional and psychological injuries – Some people heal from their burns but suffer long-term emotional scars. Post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other mental illness could develop.
- Chronic pain – Sometimes, burns cause severe damage that it’s impossible to recover fully. You could end up with ongoing pain that interferes with your daily life.
- Joint and bone issues – Scar tissue can form, tighten and shorten skin, tendons, or muscles. That tightening can result in mobility problems and pain.
At Abel Law Firm, our Oklahoma City burn injury attorneys know how much you’ve suffered because of another person’s negligence. Someone else was responsible for the accident that caused your burns, and now you’re forced to face a long road to recovery. It can be overwhelming and cause significant stress. You won’t be alone during this fight for justice. We will remain by your side until the end to hold the at-fault party accountable.
Why You Should Hire Abel Law Firm
Handling your case on your own could end up being a big mistake. You’ll likely encounter obstacles that only an experienced lawyer can overcome. After seeking initial medical treatment for your burn injury, you should call Abel Law Firm. Personal injury cases can be challenging to prove. Insurance companies rarely play fair, and defense attorneys exploit unrepresented plaintiffs.
When you hire one of our Oklahoma City burn injury attorneys, we can take on the responsibility for your entire case, so you don’t have to worry about it. Your only job will be to attend your doctor’s appointments. We will advocate and protect your rights while working on your case.
We can thoroughly investigate the accident or incident that caused your burns and begin collecting evidence to prove you deserve compensation. The evidence we obtain could include the following:
- Photos from the accident scene
- Police/incident reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Copies of your medical records and bills
- Video surveillance footage
- Estimates or receipts for the cost to repair or replace damaged personal property
- The estimated value of necessary future expenses resulting from the incident
- Copies of insurance policies with coverage information
Once we complete our investigation, we can submit everything we found to the insurance company and give them our settlement demand. Whether we’re able to settle your case will depend on various factors. Some clients receive the maximum possible settlement, while others claim denied insurance. If the insurance company offers a low amount and refuses to negotiate for something higher, we could file a lawsuit and take them to court.
Deadline to File a Lawsuit
Injured victims must file a lawsuit within the timeframe required by state law. Oklahoma has a two-year statute of limitations. That means you have two years from the date you suffered burn injuries to sue the at-fault party. After the statutory deadline has passed, you won’t have the opportunity to hold them liable in court for what they’ve done.
Possible Compensation in a Burn Injury Case
Whether you file an insurance claim or lawsuit, you can seek compensation for the losses you suffered from the accident and your injury. The most common losses you may pursue are:
- Past and future medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you pursue a lawsuit, you might also be able to recover punitive damages. An award of punitive damages doesn’t compensate you for your losses. Instead, it’s a punishment issued against the defendant for their misconduct. However, attempting to win this financial award can be a complicated process. A jury will only find punitive damages should be awarded if there’s clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party displayed a reckless disregard for another person’s rights.
Recoverable Losses in a Wrongful Death Case
You could file a lawsuit against the negligent party for causing your loved one’s death. Oklahoma law defines wrongful death as a death resulting from another person’s wrongful act or omission.
A wrongful death case is allowed only if the victim could have filed a personal injury lawsuit had they survived the accident. The personal representative of their estate is the only person authorized to pursue this type of case in court. They must represent the interests of the victim and their heirs or beneficiaries.
A surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling is typically named the estate’s representative. If the deceased didn’t specify a representative or the chosen individual can’t or won’t serve their duties, the court will determine who should represent the family.
Compensation sought in a wrongful death lawsuit should adequately compensate for the victim’s losses and any losses from relatives due to their loved one’s death. These could include:
- Loss of companionship, guidance, or consortium
- Pain and suffering the deceased experienced right before death
- Funeral and burial costs
- The value of any financial losses, such as income and benefits, the deceased would have earned if they survived the accident
- Punitive damages
The statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in Oklahoma is two years. The timeframe would begin on the date of your loved one’s death. You must sue the at-fault party within those two years, or you could lose your right to compensation.
Burn Injury Frequently Asked Questions
Abel Law Firm has represented those injured by others’ wrongdoing since 1976. We have over 130 years of combined legal experience in personal injury cases. Following are the answers to many clients’ questions when preparing to pursue compensation from another party. Contact us at (405) 239-7046 to discuss your case with us.
We take accident victims’ cases on contingency. That means there are no upfront fees or costs. We don’t expect payment from you unless we recover an insurance settlement or secure a favorable jury verdict. We take just as much risk as you do, and if we lose your case, you won’t owe us any money.
Modified comparative negligence could reduce your final compensation amount if a jury determines you share fault for your injuries. If you incurred $100,000 in expenses, but a jury found you were 20% to blame for the incident that caused your burn injury, you could only pursue up to $80,000 to compensate for your losses.
The person you seek compensation from will depend on the circumstances of your case. If you were in a car accident with a reckless driver, you could file an insurance claim with their auto insurance company. If a negligent doctor caused your burn injury during a medical procedure, you could sue them or the facility they work in. A lawyer can review the details of the incident and determine the party that should take responsibility for the harm you suffered.