Burn injuries in New Jersey are not just physically traumatic; they can be a life-changing event that carries emotional scars as well. While we may all encounter minor burns in our daily lives, a burn that covers a large area of the body amplifies the pain serious burn victims will experience. Beyond the immediate agony, burns causing substantial skin loss can be life-threatening, depriving the body of its essential functions to regulate temperature, and hydration, and ward off diseases.
Furthermore, the aftermath of burns can result in disfiguring scars, restrict movement, necessitate surgery, and inevitably alter how others perceive and react to the victim.
Understanding Burn Statistics
According to the American Burn Association, approximately 40,000 Americans are hospitalized annually for the treatment of serious burns, with 25,000 seeking specialized care in burn centers. These injuries predominantly occur in homes. In addition, they are frequently caused by direct contact with flames or scalding liquids.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries in New Jersey
Burn injuries can stem from various sources, including house fires (often due to cooking and smoking accidents or children playing with fire), defective electrical wiring, car or truck accidents, or workplace incidents. Additionally, gas or water heater explosions, flammable materials, electrocution, chemical exposure, and hot water scalding can lead to serious burn injuries.
Burns Caused By Defective Products
Dangerous products contribute to severe burn injuries, whether it’s a defective auto part, an overheating space heater, or exposure to toxic chemicals without adequate warning. If you find yourself a victim of such incidents, you should seek help from an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney equipped to represent burn victims.
Long-term Impact of Serious Burns
The aftermath of a serious burn can be extensive, requiring years of treatment with no guarantee of full recovery. Burn victims face multiple plastic surgeries to restore the skin’s appearance and functionality. Additionally, psychiatric treatment may be necessary to address the trauma of living with disfiguring scars.
The financial burden of medical care surrounding burn treatment is substantial and can impact not just the victim, but his or her family. When burns result from someone else’s negligence, victims have the right to hold those responsible accountable for the physical, emotional, and financial damage incurred.
Degrees of Burn Damage
The severity of burns is categorized into degrees, each requiring specific treatments:
1. First-degree: Damage to the outermost layer of the skin, appearing red and dry, typically healing in a week.
2. Second-degree superficial: Damage to the first and second skin layers, with redness, clear blisters, and moist appearance, requiring weeks to heal.
3. Second-degree deep: Deep damage to the second skin layer, requiring skin grafting for recovery.
4. Third-degree: Damage to the entire dermis, resulting in stiff, white, or brown skin, often requiring excision and possibly leading to amputation.
5. Fourth-degree: Severe damage affecting the deepest skin layer, underlying muscle, and bone, resulting in charred, dry skin with substantial loss of function.
Legal Implications and Investigations
When it comes to burn injuries, legal investigations play a crucial role in determining responsibility. While prosecutors and insurance companies may investigate the cause of a fire, their primary goals differ. Prosecutors aim to establish whether a crime was committed, while insurance companies seek to minimize financial losses. However, standing alone, these investigations may not establish negligence.
A skilled burn liability attorney, on the other hand, can conduct a thorough examination, involving forensic labs to pinpoint the cause of a fire. This comprehensive approach holds not only manufacturers accountable but also property owners, electricians, sellers, and installers who may have contributed to catastrophic burn injuries.
Burn Injury Statute Of Limitations
While the consequences of burn injuries may last a lifetime, seeking justice in the court system has a time limit. Burn injury cases, like other personal injury claims in New Jersey, are subject to a statute of limitations. Typically, this deadline is two years.
For minors, the limitations period does not begin to run until the child turns 18.
However, waiting until adulthood to seek legal recourse is not advisable. Acting promptly not only safeguards your child’s legal rights but also ensures a swifter resolution, increasing the likelihood of your child’s successful recovery.
Experienced and Knowledgeable New Jersey Burn Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious burn injury because of someone’s negligence, you need an experienced New Jersey burn injury attorney. Call us at 908-402-4770 at our Scotch Plains office or contact us online for a free consultation. There are no attorneys’ fees charged to you unless we are successful in obtaining a recovery on your behalf.