Burn injuries of any type are traumatic and, in some cases, can be life-threatening. It can be overwhelming to find yourself suddenly dealing with the pain and economic consequences of recovering from a burn injury, especially when it was caused by someone else’s negligence. Our law firm has helped countless burn injury victims to recover compensation for their accident and offers a few general explanations about the process of filing a claim. It is always best to consult an attorney to receive advice tailored specifically to your case.
Does a burn injury case qualify as a personal injury claim?
In some circumstances, yes. By filing a personal injury claim, a plaintiff (the victim) is implying that their injury likely happened as a result of negligence from the defendant (the party being accused). In order for a burn injury to qualify as a personal injury claim, the victim will need to demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty of care by acting in a negligent way and thus contributing to the unsafe conditions that caused the accident and the burn injuries.
Victims will need to produce enough evidence to show that their injury was a direct result of the other party’s negligence. Some cases are settled through the negligent party’s insurance company and require no trial. Other cases where the negligent party does not carry insurance or where a settlement agreement cannot be reached may require a court trial before any compensation is received.
What are the steps for suing for a burn injury that was not my fault?
After a burn injury, your priority should always be receiving proper medical attention. If possible, you or a friend may want to document the scene of the accident by taking pictures or video of the area and recording any unsafe situation that may have caused the accident. Security camera footage, witnesses, and any documentation such as medical reports may be used to support your case.
If your injury occurred at work, your first step is to check if your employer carries worker’s compensation insurance, and follow company policy to reporting your injuries and initiating a claim. If your injury happened in a public location or as a result of a car accident, for example, your first step is to file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance carrier.
Seeking an insurance settlement may be the fastest way to receive a settlement, but more often than not, settlement offers issued by most insurance carriers tend to be low and not enough to cover expenses related to your injury and recovery. If your insurance claim is denied or if you receive a low settlement offer, your next best route is to seek the help of an attorney and pursue a civil lawsuit to obtain compensation in court.
What happens if I am partially at fault for my injury?
It depends on the comparative negligence rules used by the state where you live in. In Florida, you are subject to a pure contributory fault rule. Florida Statute 768.81 prescribes that “in a negligence action, contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and non-economic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.” This means that you as the victim may be able to receive some compensation even if you are partially at fault for your accident. However, the amount you may be eligible to recover may be reduced proportionally to your percentage of responsibility.
If you believe you may be partially at fault for your accident, it is important to work with a skilled attorney in order to keep your percentage of liability to be set as low as possible. It is not unusual for the other party to try and maximize your percentage of fault in the accident in an effort to reduce the amount they will need to pay you.
Do I Need an Attorney to file a claim for a burn injury?
Many people who suffered a burn injury worry about whether they are required to hire an attorney for their case and feel like they may not be able to afford one. The truth is while you are not required to retain an attorney to begin a claim, it may be in your best interest to do so. Some cases can seem pretty straightforward such as when filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance, but more often than not, burn victims may find themselves in the middle of a negotiation battle, as insurance companies are interested in protecting their profits and cutting costs by issuing the lowest settlement amount possible or denying your claim altogether.
Handling all the red tape and endless phone calls while you are trying to heal and get back on your feet may feel like an insurmountable task. When you hire a burn injury law firm such as Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A., your legal team will handle every aspect of your case, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and take your case to court when necessary. And there is no need to worry about whether you can afford an attorney, as most personal injury law firms work on a contingency basis and do not require any payment upfront – only after your case is won and a settlement is awarded. If you have been a victim of a burn injury resulting from someone else’s negligence, contact Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A. for a free consultation to learn your options.