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 Burn Injury 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, the 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.
What Kind of Settlement do Burn Injury Cases Get?
Since the time of Joan of arc, burns have been associated with severe trauma and punishment. The jury verdict research reflects the seriousness of severe burn injury cases.
Because of the trauma associated with burns, burn injury cases generally have a much higher verdict potential with juries. Recent studies have shown the burn cases that involve extensive third-degree burns can bring multiples above the economic damages not found in other types of cases. Relatively minor burns such as first-degree are not valued like the more severe burns. One study found that first-degree burn cases often bring less than expected, while second and 3rd-degree burns bring substantially more.
At the Baumgartner Law Firm, we have handled many severe burn injury cases, some involving wrongful death and most involving disfigurement and substantial other human damages. Some cases we have successfully litigated include apartment fires, fuel-fed gas fires from automobiles, scalding burns and explosions. The damages vary from case to case, and factors such as liability and the extent of the burns always come into consideration.
We have handled numerous multimillion-dollar burn injury cases. Call us for a free no-obligation consultation about your burn injury case. 281-587-1111.
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 extent of economic 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.
Apartment Fire Lawsuits
Our law firm has handled numerous cases involving apartment fire burns and wrongful death.
Some lawsuits have centered on a landlord’s violation of their obligations regarding inspection and maintenance of smoke detectors.
Other lawsuits have involved the causes of the fire.
The victim or their families must contact a burn injury attorney soon. Because fire may destroy much of the critical evidence, relevant cause, and origin, fire experts can inspect the scene quickly.
Landlords and Smoke Detector Obligations in Texas
In Texas, the landlord’s obligations regarding smoke detectors are generally covered in Section 92.255 which provides:
(a) A landlord shall install at least one smoke alarm in each separate bedroom in a dwelling unit. In addition:
(1) if the dwelling unit is designed to use a single room for dining, living, and sleeping, the smoke alarm must be located inside the room;
(2) if multiple bedrooms are served by the same corridor, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the corridor in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms; and
(3) if the dwelling unit has multiple levels, at least one smoke alarm must be located on each level.
(b) If a dwelling unit was occupied as a residence before September 1, 2011, or a certificate of occupancy was issued for the dwelling unit before that date, a smoke alarm installed in accordance with Subsection (a) may be powered by battery and is not required to be interconnected with other smoke alarms, except that a smoke alarm that is installed to replace a smoke alarm that was in place on the date the dwelling unit was first occupied as a residence must comply with residential building code standards that applied to the dwelling unit on that date or Section 92.252(b).
Other states may have different duties regarding smoke detectors.
Call a Houston Burn Injury 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. The call is FREE!