Burn injuries can result in victims needing years of medical treatment, as well as suffering from permanent disfigurement, impairment, and scarring. Although most individuals have experienced first-degree burns from touching something that is hot or spending too much time in the sun, burns sustained in an accident tend to be far more severe and require extended periods of hospitalization and outpatient care. In these cases, a Will County burn injury lawyer may be able to assist you in seeking damages and costs related to your injuries from any parties who may be responsible for your losses.
Establishing negligence in a burn injury case—or even knowing whether you have a valid claim—can be difficult depending on the circumstances. Contact an experienced catastrophic injury attorney to start reviewing potential legal options and strategies.
Different Degrees of Burns Injuries
All types of accidents can lead to burns, which can differ in severity. Motor vehicle crashes, workplace accidents, and fires are just a few of the ways that burns can occur. Medical professionals classify the severity of burns by degrees as follows:
- First-degree burns are the least serious and affect only the top layer of skin
- Second-degree burns are more serious, affecting the top two layers of skin
- Third-degree burns are the most serious, as they can completely destroy both layers of skin, cut off nerve endings, and cause severe and life-threatening pain
Different substances and conditions can result in burns. For instance, heat, fire, steam, and hot liquids can cause thermal burns, while chemical burns may result from contact with acids or alkali. When individuals sustain serious burns from any source due to the negligence of another, they may want to get advice from a Will County burn injury lawyer right away.
Negligence and Comparative Fault
When the actions of others cause accidents that lead to burn injuries, injured victims may seek to hold those negligent individuals liable for their losses. Establishing negligence involves proof of four separate elements:
- Duty of individuals to act reasonably to ensure the safety of others
- Breach of the duty of reasonable care by the individuals
- Breach proximately caused the injuries
- Injuries to the victims exist
Although one party may be clearly negligent, others also may bear some responsibility, including the victims who sustained the burn injuries. If this is the case, injury victims may still be able to seek compensation from their losses from other negligent parties with the help of a burn injury lawyer in Will County. However, they can only do so if they bear less than 51 percent of the total liability for the accident, and their final damage award would be reduced by the same percentage of fault they are found to bear.
Seeking Legal Advice Before Time Runs Out
Personal injury claims, like most other lawsuits, are subject to time limits, or statutes of limitations. These statutes restrict the ability of injured parties to bring personal injury claims to a certain period of time following the accident.
Although there are some exceptions, 735 ILCS § 5/13-204 allows injury victims only a two-year window in which to file claims against any individuals or entities who may be at fault for an accident that caused a severe burn. If an injured person delays in filing their claim, they may lose the ability to bring any claims related to their injuries, no matter how serious their injuries may be.
Working with a Will County Burn Injury Attorney
Burn injuries can have a long-lasting impact on the lives of individuals who are involved in serious accidents. A Will County burn injury lawyer may be able to determine whether you have a valid claim for damages, who is potentially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, and what steps you should take to pursue any claims you may have.
Constant medical bills from ongoing medical treatment and lost wages often can make it difficult to be financially secure. Fortunately, these are only some of the types of damages that might be available to you in a successful personal injury claim. Call today to get started on your case.