Burn injuries are disturbingly common, can occur almost anywhere, and can result in uniquely devastating consequences. We at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer have decades of experience counseling and representing burn survivors. We understand the many stages of burn recovery and the multi-faceted effects that can last a lifetime.
Suffering a burn injury can be a traumatic and life-altering event. People who suffer burn injuries are frequently left with devastating injuries and permanent scars. They may also suffer from psychological trauma and face skyrocketing medical bills, income losses, and pain and suffering. When another person or entity is responsible for the burn injury accident because of negligence or the design of an unsafe product, the victims may be able to recover damages to compensate them for their losses.
When a fire occurs, insurance adjusters and other defendants will try to minimize the amounts that they might have to pay to the victims. You should consult with an experienced burn injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. The lawyer might help you to hold the responsible party liable to pay damages so that you can receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
The burn injury attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer are strong advocates for the victims of negligent landlords, manufacturers, and others who are responsible for causing fires and burn injuries. By filing legal claims against the responsible parties, it is possible to recover substantial damages and to hold the negligent parties accountable. Our attorneys have decades of experience, allowing them to guide you through the litigation process. You can contact us for a free consultation so that you can learn more about your claim and whether you might have grounds to file a lawsuit.
Examples of our clients’ cases
If you have suffered burn injuries due to someone else’s actions, you should speak with an experienced burn injury attorney to learn how you can protect your rights. Our lawyers represent burn injury victims not only in Pennsylvania and New Jersey but across the country. We aggressively advocate on behalf of our clients to recover the compensation that they should receive for their burn injuries and related losses.
At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer, we have secured millions of dollars for our clients who were severely burned when:
- A propane dispenser overfilled a 100 pound cylinder; when the afternoon sun warmed the cylinder, propane escaped through the pressure relief valve and caused an explosion;
- A national restaurant chain served a customer red liquid Drano instead of cranberry juice;
- A manufacturer of fire-resistant clothing for foundry work used the wrong fabric, substituting flammable cotton for the FR treated cloth;
- A manufacturer of propane cylinders used a valve that did not prevent the release of propane when the cylinder was not connected to a grill;
- An electrical power company installed its power lines too close to a building;
- A truck caused an accident that resulted in the rupture of a car’s gasoline tank;
- A welding torch manufacturer did not include a safety device – a back-flash arrestor – that would prevented ignition of gas in the supply hose;
- An electrical equipment manufacturer left a gap between energized electrical lines and where maintenance would be performed;
- An event manager parked recreational vehicles under high voltage power lines and then encouraged the campers to erect flag poles;
- A safety equipment supplier left openings in its “chemical splash suit” that exposed workers to hydrofluoric acid ;
- A manufacturer of grinding equipment did not prevent the build-up of a static charge that ignited combustible dust clouds;
- A landlord who did not install an “anti-tipover” bracket on an apartment stove that let the stove tip over onto a young child;
- A chemical manufacturer that packaged sulfuric acid in large glass bottles that were not protected by a shatterproof plastic coating; and,
- A landlord blocked access to fire escapes and did not maintain interior fire doors.
Burn injury statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, annually an estimated 1.1 million people in the U.S. suffer burn injuries that require medical treatment every year. On average, 50,000 people each year are hospitalized as a result of burn injuries, and 4,500 die from their injuries. In addition, almost 10,000 people die of infections related to their burn injuries. Fires are very serious and can be deadly, making it essential for people to comply with the laws and regulations and to take preventive measures to prevent fires.
Types of burns
There are four main types of burns, including:
- Thermal burns that result from contact with fire, hot liquids, steam, and other extreme heat sources
- Chemical burns that result from exposures to alkaline or acidic substances or by chemical explosions
- Radiation burns that result from contact with radioactive materials
- Light burns from ultraviolet lights or the sun
Burns fall into three levels of severity. First-degree burns are the least serious and damage only the top layer of skin. These types of wounds cause minor inflammation, discomfort, and redness. First-degree burns usually heal within a week and can be treated with cool water and over-the-counter creams.
Second-degree burns damage the dermal layer of the skin, which is beneath the top layer. These burns cause blisters to form and for the skin to be very red. Second-degree burns can take weeks to heal and require proper care and bandages.
Third-degree burns are the most severe burns. The damage from these burns impacts all of the skin layers and causes damage to the tissues, organs, and bones. Third-degree burns have charring and white or black wounds. These severe burns can cause hypothermia, permanent scarring, nerve damage, and death.
Compensation that might be available for victims with burn injuries
Burns can be among the most traumatic and expensive types of injuries. They usually cause substantial negative impacts on the ability of the victims to work and on their qualities of life. When burns are extensive, medical treatment can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
The compensation that might be available to you will depend on the nature of the accident, the severity, and the extensiveness of your burns, your likelihood of recovery, and other factors. This variation means that every burn injury case is different, and there is not a single monetary amount that you might expect. When you choose our law firm, our attorneys will work with financial and medical experts to properly value your claim.
Common causes of burn injuries
Some of the common causes of burn injuries include the following:
- Fires in apartment buildings
- Commercial truck accidents and tanker explosions
- Car crashes
- Workplace accidents
- Electrical cord fires
- Cell phone battery explosions and fires
- Defective products
- Locked fire exits
- Electrical accidents
- Scalding pipes and water
- Nightclub, hotel, restaurant, and retail fires
Burns can result wherever a hot or flammable object is located.
Workplace burn injuries
Workers in some workplace environments have heightened risks of fires and burn injuries. Explosions and fires cause an average of 5,000 burn injuries on the job each year. When workers suffer burn injuries at their jobs, they can file workers’ compensation claims to pay for their medical bills. If they are left with disabilities, they may be eligible for wage-replacement benefits.
In exchange for being eligible for workers’ compensation, the workers waive their rights to file negligence lawsuits against their employers. However, if a third party – anyone other than your employer – was to blame for your workplace burn injury, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer and a negligence lawsuit against the third party.
Workers’ compensation benefits do not pay for noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering, a reduction in your ability to enjoy life, disfigurement, or loss of consortium. These damages can be recovered in a lawsuit. It is essential to speak with an experience lawyer as soon as possible after the accident so that crucial pieces of evidence can be found and preserved.
Workplace burn injuries can also occur because of defective products or machinery at your workplace. When a third party’s negligence causes a workplace burn injury accident, our attorneys handle the workers’ compensation claim and the personal injury lawsuit against the third party. Through the third-party claim, you may be able to recover damages for your noneconomic losses that are not covered by your workers’ compensation benefits.
How apartment fires devastate families
Apartment fires can be especially dangerous because a fire can quickly spread from unit to unit. Some fires block the escapes of people on upper floors, and in some cases, the fire exits may be locked. In many cases, apartment building fires start in the kitchen of an apartment because of unattended cooking. Others are electrical fires that begin in the walls because of faulty or outdated wiring or heating and cooling systems that are in a state of disrepair. Smoking and candles are two other major sources of apartment fires. Some people smoke in bed and fall asleep with lit cigarettes. A fire can quickly spread throughout the apartment and into surrounding apartments.
The faulty installation of lighting in apartments also frequently contributes to the apartment and home fires. Landlords are mandated to follow the laws and regulations for fire prevention to keep their tenants safe. When landlords fail to follow the regulations and laws, people can suffer severe burn injuries or deaths from fires. Our attorneys can work to help tenants whose lives have been devastated by apartment building fires. When the landlords violate the laws and regulations, they may face criminal and civil liability, depending on what occurred.
Landlord responsibilities for fire safety can include the following:
- Making sure the wiring is safely installed and complies with electrical codes
- Keeping the wiring in good condition
- Install anti-tip-over brackets on stoves
- Having safe, accessible fire escapes
- Installing smoke detectors in halls and apartments
- Keeping fire escapes cleared of debris
- Installing fireproof doors
- Keeping regularly serviced fire extinguishers on the property
- Keeping means of ingress and egress clear in shared areas so people can escape and fire personnel can enter
When a landlord neglects these duties, and other obligations for fire safety, the breach of his or her duty to the tenants can cause serious injuries or deaths if a fire breaks out. Unfortunately, some landlords shirk their duties and fail to comply with the fire protection regulations and laws.
Laws and regulations to protect tenants from fires
Landlords must comply with local and state laws that are meant to protect tenants from many different hazards, including fires. Landlords of properties that receive HUD funding for low-income housing must also comply with federal laws. These laws control the placement and use of smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers. Despite the laws, many landlords fail to comply with them.
When fires break out and injure tenants, the property owner could be liable for failing to keep the property safe for tenants or their guests. At a minimum, apartments should have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. The smoke detectors must be maintained, used, and installed in the right places to be effective. Both landlords and tenants often overlook smoke detectors.
Smoke detectors are generally required to be installed outside of bedrooms as well as one detector placed inside each bedroom. At a minimum, there should be two smoke detectors in an apartment, including one in a bedroom and one in a hallway.
Smoke detectors should also have a battery backup and be hardwired. For additional protection, the smoke detectors can be connected so that all of them go off if one detects smoke. Photoelectric smoke detectors detect slow smoldering fires that are typical in apartments better than ionization smoke alarms. Both types should be installed in homes for maximum protection. There are dual-chambered smoke detectors available that have both technologies. After your smoke detectors are installed, you should test them each month to make sure that they are working.
Not all laws require landlords to provide apartments with fire extinguishers. However, you should know where they are located in your building. The fire extinguisher might not be inside of your unit, but regulations likely require that one is present on your floor or in an accessible area. If you do not have a fire extinguisher provided to you for your apartment, you might want to consider purchasing a portable fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Without a fire extinguisher, fires can spread quickly. Severe burns can leave you facing lasting physical, financial, and emotional damages.
Negligence lawsuits and clauses in leases
If your landlord failed to follow fire safety precautions or has inadequate fire safety measures and you suffered burn injuries as a result, you may have grounds to file a legal claim against your landlord. Some landlords try to include clauses in their leases that purport to limit their liability in the case of a fire. These types of clauses are meant to pressure tenants not to file lawsuits. You should know your rights so that your landlord does not take advantage of you if you suffered burn injuries in an apartment fire.
Some leases contain clauses that say that you waive your right to have a jury trial in the event of a personal injury lawsuit. However, these provisions are often deemed to be invalid by courts. An experienced burn injury lawyer can review your lease and the circumstances of what happened. He or she can provide you with an assessment of whether the clause will likely stand up in court or instead may be deemed to be invalid. Our attorneys have experience in handling local and state laws to reinforce the rights of tenants. If you have been seriously injured in a fire because of your landlord’s careless actions, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Fire products that may fail to protect people
Some fire products such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and smoke detectors do not work as intended. A defect in a product that is meant to alert and protect people from fires can threaten your life.
Ionization smoke detectors, which are the most common type installed in homes, sometimes do not detect smoldering fires in a reasonable time. These detectors are the cheapest to buy and are the most commonly used. They are also the type of smoke detector commonly found in most deadly house fires. These smoke detectors can take up to 30 minutes longer to sound an alarm than other smoke detectors.
Some brands of fire-suppression systems for stove ranges have also had reports of product defects. These devices attach magnetically to vent hoods and are used as single-use fire suppressants. The devices are supposed to activate when a fire occurs, dropping baking soda on the flames to suppress them. However, no evidence demonstrates that these products put fires out. The systems can also cause hot grease to splash from pans, spreading fires further or causing grease burns to people who are nearby. These problems have led the armed forces to ban their use in military housing. Unfortunately, many apartment buildings across the country still have these systems installed.
Contact our burn injury lawyers today
If you or your loved one has suffered severe burn injuries because of the actions of others, contact Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer Trial Injury Lawyers today. You need to act quickly since the statute of limitations limits the amount of time that you have to file a legal claim. If you wait too long, you will be permanently barred from recovering compensation for your losses. Getting help as soon after your accident as possible can also allow your attorney more time to investigate your case and identify all of the parties that contributed to the fire. This information can add more sources of recovery to help you to maximize the amount of compensation that you might receive. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by filling out our online contact form.
Confidential Multi-Million Dollar Settlement for Woman Burned in Propane Gas Grill Explosion
Concerned about theft, a family stored its propane gas grill in the kitchen when it was not being used.
$3.75 Million Settlement with Furniture Manufacturer for Lack of Flame Retardants
A mother and her three children perished in a house fire which had been caused by initially by a defective baseboard heater and within minutes had begun to consume the entire house.