Serious burns are extremely painful and lead to lasting trauma, disfigurement, and even disability. Unfortunately, they are also very common. According to the American Burn Association, approximately 486,000 people in the U.S. received burns that required medical treatment in 2016 (the latest year for which data are available), and about 40,000 people were hospitalized with burn injuries.
Sadly, the vast majority of burn injuries are entirely preventable and occur only because someone else—whether another person, a product manufacturer, a property owner, or some other party—was negligent. Knowing that your injuries should never have happened can make the healing process that much more difficult, but the good news is that you could be entitled to monetary compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses.
If you or someone you love sustained severe burns, and you believe another person or party was at fault, reach out to our Oregon burn injury lawyers at The Gatti Law Firm right away. We can sit down with you during a complimentary consultation and go over the details of your situation to determine if you have a personal injury case. Should you choose our firm to represent you, we will immediately get to work gathering relevant information and evidence to build your case. Our attorneys bring more than 45 years of experience in personal injury litigation and are ready to pursue the maximum compensation you are owed.
Contact us online or call (503) 543-1114 today to request a free initial consultation with our legal team.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Burn Injuries?
The leading causes of burn injuries in the U.S. include:
- Contact with hot objects
- Exposure to acids, solvents, and other chemicals
- Contact with live electrical currents
- Radiation, including ultraviolet (UV) radiation
While these represent the most common direct causes of burns, negligence or wrongful conduct is often an underlying source of these injuries. For example, a person may suffer significant burns after becoming trapped in a building that caught on fire because the property owner failed to conduct regular inspections and, therefore, failed to notice that the electrical work in the building was faulty. Or an individual may be burned when using a defective product or when handing dangerous chemicals on a jobsite where safety standards were not enforced.
At The Gatti Law Firm, we know how to properly investigate accidents and other catastrophic events to determine the root cause of our clients’ injuries. With this information, we are able to identify the liable person or party and bring legal action against them. We are aggressive when it comes to building cases for our clients and always seek the maximum available compensation.
How Are Burns Classified?
Burn injuries are categorized according to type and severity, or “degree.”
The different types of burns include:
- Thermal Burns: Thermal burns are caused by contact with hot objects and substances, such as flames, heated metal, and boiling liquids.
- Electrical Burns: These types of burns result from contact with live electrical currents, including electrical wires and outlets.
- Chemical Burns: Chemical burns are caused by contact with harsh or abrasive solvents, dyes, acids, and other chemical substances.
- Radiation Burns: These burn injuries are caused by various types of radiation, including x-rays, ultraviolet radiation from the sun (sunburns), and certain cancer treatments.
Although not technically “burns,” friction burns and cold burns are often classified as types of burn injuries. A friction burn, or “road rash,” occurs when the skin is scraped across or along an abrasive surface, such as asphalt. Cold burns, or “frostbite,” on the other hand, are caused by direct or proximate exposure to extreme cold.
The different degrees of burn injuries include:
- First-Degree Burns: Generally considered the mildest type of burn injury, first-degree burns are characterized by mild reddening of the skin and surface damage, which may lead to localized pain and some scarring. First-degree burns are not medical emergencies; they can typically be treated effectively with at-home care, including general first aid and over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and topical ointments.
- Second-Degree Burns: Second-degree burns are considered to be moderate injuries and typically require medical attention. They may affect both the upper and lower layers of skin (epidermis and dermis, respectively) and often lead to redness, blistering, swelling, and significant pain. Without treatment, second-degree burns can lead to serious complications, including infection and sepsis.
- Third-Degree Burns: Also known as “full thickness burns, third-degree burns are severe burn injuries requiring immediate medical attention. These types of burn injuries typically affect both the epidermis and dermis and may even penetrate deeper into surrounding tissue. Often, third-degree burns result in charred skin, which may be white or black in appearance. Nerves may be damaged, meaning the victim may experience numbness rather than pain.
- Fourth-Degree Burns: Fourth-degree burns are the most serious and life-threatening of all burn injuries. These types of injuries affect the epidermis, dermis, and surrounding muscles, ligaments, tissues, nerves, and bones. Skin may be charred and may appear raised, waxy, and/or “leathery” in texture. Victims of fourth-degree burns should seek immediate medical attention; without treatment, these types of burn injuries are often fatal.
Regardless of the type or severity of your injuries, you should not have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s negligence on your own. If you were injured due to another person or party’s careless, reckless, or wrongful conduct, you could be entitled to financial compensation for all of your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering, among other losses.
When to File a Burn Injury Claim
If you or someone you love sustained severe burns, and you believe someone else was at fault, you could have grounds for a burn injury claim or lawsuit against the liable party.
This could be the case if your injuries or your loved one’s injuries were caused by a:
- Property owner’s negligence
- Defective or faulty product
- Motor vehicle accident
- Medical professional’s mistake
- Co-worker or employer’s carelessness
Essentially, if someone else owed you a duty of care, meaning they had a legal responsibility to take reasonable measures to prevent you from being harmed, but they failed to uphold this duty of care by acting negligently or wrongfully, and you were injured as a result, you likely have a case.
In Oregon, you only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. There are very few exceptions; in most cases, if you fail to bring your claim within this two-year statute of limitations, your case will almost certainly be dismissed. It is important that you act quickly after being injured. Although two years may seem like a long time, evidence can be lost, and witnesses’ memories can fade over time. The sooner our Oregon burn injury attorneys can begin building your case, the better.
Learn How We Can Help You Today
At The Gatti Law Firm, we strive to help victims of catastrophic injuries obtain the justice and fair recoveries they are owed. With over 45 years of experience and millions of dollars recovered in settlements and jury verdicts, our firm has what it takes to effectively advocate for you.
When you trust our team with your recovery, you will receive personalized, attentive, and compassionate legal service every step of the way. We truly care about you and are committed to helping you navigate this difficult time in your life so that you can heal and move forward. Reach out to us today to learn more; there are absolutely no costs for you unless/until we recover compensation on your behalf.
Call our office at (503) 543-1114 or submit a free online case evaluation form to request your complimentary case evaluation today.