Burn Injury Attorneys in Houston
According to records, the Houston Fire Department responded to 42,064 fire-related incidents in 2013. Many of these incidents may have been false alarms and others minor accidents, but some were serious fires resulting from someone’s carelessness that caused severe burn injuries. Of course, burns may result from other sources in addition to fire, including chemical burns or electrical burns.
Those harmed by another’s careless actions can face long-term and costly consequences. In many instances, the law provides recourse for victims of another’s negligence to recover compensation for the harms they face and the trauma they experience because of their burns. The process stats with hiring an experienced Houston burn injury lawyer.
Common Burn Injury Circumstances
Fires are the most common cause of burns. Lack of smoke detectors, non-compliance with fire codes or poor electrical wiring are examples of negligence that may lead to or increase risk of injury in the event of a fire.
The skin is composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (inner layer). First-degree burns only damage the epidermis, while second-degree burns damage the epidermis and dermis, and third-degree burns penetrate all the way to underlying tissue, muscle and even bone. Often, third-degree burns result in skin grafts and serious scarring. Treatment for severe burns can lead to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in short- and long-term medical care.
Taking Legal Action after Burn Injuries
Personal injury cases commonly result from burn cases. To win a personal injury case, a plaintiff must prove:
- A duty of care between the parties;
- The defendant breached that duty of care;
- The breach caused injury; and
- The victims suffered substantial damages.
Damages in Fire Cases
In most personal injury cases in Texas, only compensatory damages are usually sought. Compensatory damages include both economic damages like lost wages and medical expenses and non-economic damages like emotional pain and suffering. Punitive damages are possible, but only when the plaintiff can prove malice or gross negligence on the defendant’s part.
If the victim dies, surviving family can file a wrongful death case to seek to compensate the surviving family members for the loss they suffered as a result of the death.
Wrongful death cases are available to spouses, children and parents in Texas, and those lawsuits seek to provide compensation for the loss of the loved one. Survival actions can also be brought to compensate the estate of a family member for the suffering and expenses prior to death.
Possible Challenges in Burn Injury Cases
It can be difficult to determine the exact amount of damages a burn injury victim sustains because necessary medical care can be long-term or may even last a lifetime, in severe burn cases. Often after burn injuries, patients have difficulty being outside in the hot sun, showering or being in other environments involving heat. This can limit a person’s ability to work as well.
A life care planner may need to testify in court on the amount of damages a victim will sustain over the course of his or her life, especially in cases of severe, third-degree burns. Future medical expenses, although projected based on credible expert medical testimony can play a big role in a burn accident claim.
Call a Houston fire accident lawyer
If you or a family member have suffered 2nd or 3rd degree burns at the hands of another, call the burn injury attorneys in Houston at the Baumgartner Law Firm at (281) 587-1111 to discuss your rights and options.