Woodbury Burn Injury Attorney
Individuals who suffer severe burn injuries in the Woodbury, Minnesota area often face debilitating pain and costly treatment. Minor burns typically heal quickly, and first-aid treats most of them. However, more severe burns often require reconstructive surgery and lengthy, painful periods of rehabilitation. Sometimes the pain is so severe, doctors need to put burn patients in a medically induced coma while they heal.
Minnesota law permits burn injury victims to take legal action when another party’s wrongful actions cause their burns. Victims and their families should not have to face the economic burden that comes with severe injuries when someone else is responsible.
If you, your child, or another loved one suffered burn injuries caused by someone else’s dangerous decisions or actions in Woodbury, you may have the right to financial compensation. The skilled burn injury attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation with a member of our team.
Advocating for Woodbury Burn Injury Victims Since 2007
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers proudly serves the Twin Cities and its environs, including Woodbury, as well as Wisconsin cities on the far bank of the St. Croix River. Our burn injury attorneys have years of experience representing burn victims in legal actions seeking to obtain compensation for the harm done to them. The firm’s dedication to client service and seeking justice has led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars through settlements, judgments, and jury verdicts on behalf of our injured clients.
We cannot guarantee the outcome of any Woodbury burn injury claim. Every client we represent has suffered unique injuries and endured unique circumstances that can impact the amount of money they might obtain. We can promise, however, that our skilled legal team will fight to obtain the best possible outcome for every client we represent.
Burn Injuries Stem From Five Main Sources
The American Burn Association estimates over 485,000 Americans per year suffer burn injuries that require medical treatment. Roughly 40,000 of them sustain burns severe enough to necessitate hospitalization.
The treatment protocols for burns differ based on what caused the burn. Burns typically stem from one of the following five sources.
Hot Steam or Liquids
Individuals whose skin comes in contact with hot steam or liquid risk getting scalded. Scalding burns can happen in a wide variety of scenarios. The waitstaff at a Valley Creek Road restaurant can spill soup, coffee, or other hot liquids on customers.
Liquid spilled from pots and pans on a stove can scald anyone who spends time in a kitchen, from food-service professionals to home cooks and their children. Even taking a shower or bath can lead to a dangerous hot liquid burn, especially when toddlers and young children are involved. Caregivers who leave children unattended in the tub put them at risk for burns if a negligent homeowner does not have the water heater set to a safe range.
When people think of burn injuries, they often think of fires. Severe and fatal burns occur when people get trapped in a fire, most often house fires, car fires, and wildfires. Most fires are accidental, although some result from arson. In either case, exposure to flames puts victims at risk for life-threatening thermal burns.
Fires start from electrical sparks, cigarettes that haven’t been put out, auto accidents, unattended bonfires or campfires, and in rare cases, spontaneous combustion. Flammable liquids such as propane and gasoline make a fire worse, sometimes causing explosions, such as when someone forgets to turn off their gas grill and a spark ignites the fumes.
The average person regularly uses numerous potentially dangerous chemicals at home and work. Toxic chemicals can cause respiratory problems and can be especially dangerous when they come in contact with unprotected skin. Corrosive chemicals can cause painful burns that eat through multiple layers of tissue.
Some chemicals are so strong they eat through rubber gloves and other common protective gear. The longer a chemical remains in contact with skin, the more damage it can do. The most common chemicals that cause burns include ammonia, bleach, chlorine, and battery acid. However, common everyday items such as denture cleaning and teeth whitening products sometimes also cause chemical burns.
Just about everyone in Woodbury has suffered one common type of radiation burn: sunburn. In most cases, however, sunburns do not inflict serious acute harm.
Instead, the more dangerous radiation burns individuals may suffer in their day-to-day lives involve medical settings. Technological advances in medicine have increased life expectancies, cured diseases, and enhanced physicians’ abilities to diagnose ailments. But health risks sometimes accompany those advances.
Radiation tops the list of medical treatments that can simultaneously help and harm a patient. Doctors commonly use radiation to shrink tumors in cancer patients. They also use radiation to treat blood disorders, thyroid disease, and other types of tumors. Patients subjected to these treatments, however, often face a risk of radiation burns. Too much exposure to radiation impacts internal tissues but can also damage someone’s skin.
Another common source of burns is electricity. Unprotected live wires, unprotected electrical outlets, and shoddy or out-of-date electrical work can cause electrocution. Depending on the type of electrical injury, a person might experience different kinds of burns.
People who come in contact with electricity typically risk one or more of four types of electrical injuries:
- Flash injury. A flash injury occurs when someone gets a superficial burn after contact with electricity. Electrical current does not travel through the body during a flash injury.
- Flame injury. A flame injury can occur when an electrical arc flash throws a spark. Sparks can ignite clothing or other items. Flame injuries are technically the injuries that occur when electricity starts a fire. Current sometimes travels through the skin during a flame injury, but not often.
- Lightning injury. A lightning injury happens when an electrical current travels through the body. Lighting injuries involve extremely high voltage in a short time. Getting struck by lightning is the most obvious event that leads to lightning injuries, but contact with live electricity in other ways can also lead to the same type of injury.
- True injury. A true injury is extremely dangerous and often fatal. It occurs when a person’s body becomes part of an electrical circuit, which means electricity flows through their body.
Seeking Compensation for Damages After a Burn Injury
A serious burn injury can cause physical, emotional, and financial pain. Victims of those injuries often have the right to take legal action seeking compensation for the harm they suffered.
With the help of an experienced burn injury attorney, like a member of the team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, burn victims can hope to receive payment for:
- Medical expenses related to treating a burn injury, such as for ambulance service, emergency room care, hospital stays, X-rays and other scans, skin grafts, reconstructive surgery, pain medication, and follow-up doctor visits.
- Estimated future medical treatment costs, such as additional surgeries or continuous care when burns lead to permanent injuries and functional losses.
- Rehabilitation expenses, including specialized treatments to help burn victims cope with the physical and emotional aspects of their injuries.
- Costs for assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers, and canes
- Lost wages from time away from work for hospitalization, treatment, and healing, which can be months for burn victims.
- Estimated future lost wages when a catastrophic burn injury prevents you from returning to work, seeking future employment, or forces you to reduce your hours.
- Physical pain and suffering, which are often severe in burn cases.
- Emotional distress, another common factor in burn cases that leave victims with disfiguring scars.
- Reduced quality of life and relationships, when a burn injury interferes with a victim’s day-to-day activities and connections with loved ones.
In the tragic case of a fatal burn injury, Minnesota law often permits surviving spouses and/or family members of the victim to seek damages from the at-fault party through filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
No matter the scope and nature of harm you or a loved one suffered, the Woodbury burn injury lawyers at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers want to help you understand your rights and options, including the potential value of a claim you might make. Contact us today to speak for free with a member of our team.
We Protect Woodbury Burn Victims from Common Defense Strategies
After filing a burn injury claim on behalf of our clients, the Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers team works hard to protect our clients from the common strategies defense lawyers and insurance companies representing the at-fault party use to try to avoid the financial consequences of that party’s actions. Here are just some of the ways we fight to make sure our burn victim clients in Woodbury get the money they deserve for their injuries and losses.
Fighting Back Against Blame-Shifting
Insurance companies and defense lawyers sometimes try to lay blame for injuries on the victims. Their tactics vary depending on the circumstances of the burn, but the aim is always the same: twisting the facts to make it look as if the burn victim’s own dangerous or careless conduct caused the burn.
For example, if you suffered burns in a car accident, they might try to blame you for driving too fast. If you suffered burn injuries from an unreasonably dangerous cleaning product, they might say you didn’t use the product as directed.
No matter the argument at-fault parties and their representatives try to use, the Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers team comes prepared to push back. We thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances of our clients’ burn injuries to make sure we know exactly what happened and why the at-fault parties should face the blame under Minnesota law.
Preventing Defendants From Downplaying Your Injuries
To reduce the damages the at-fault party may have to pay to burn victims, insurance companies and defense lawyers often try to downplay the victims’ injuries or to suggest those injuries stemmed from other causes. They may argue that a burn does not limit a victim’s ability to work, or that the scarring left by a burn is not as disfiguring as the victim believes.
Again, however, no matter what those parties might argue, the burn injury attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers know how to push back. We work closely with our burn clients and their loved ones to develop a comprehensive understanding of the impact of their injuries. When seeking damages, we back up our calculations with proof of the harm our clients have suffered. We will not let insurance companies and defense lawyers minimize our clients’ suffering, ever.
Steering Clear of Lowball Settlement Offers
Sometimes insurance companies and defense lawyers know without a doubt that the party they represent faces legal liability for a burn injury in Woodbury. They know their client or the insurance company must pay a claim one way or another, so their focus shifts to figuring out how to pay as little as possible.
One tactic they often employ to limit their financial exposure is to offer low-ball settlement offers directly to burn victims shortly after the injury happens. They try to make the offers seem generous, but in reality, the amount they put on the table is far less than what the victims deserve and have a legal right to receive. They make these offers in hopes the victims will take the money and give up valuable legal rights in the process.
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers team won’t let that happen. We stand between our clients and the insurance companies and defense lawyers who may try to take advantage of them. We know how much money our clients should receive, we advise them when we think a settlement offer undervalues their claim, and we negotiate aggressively to get them what they deserve.
Of course, it’s always our clients’ final decision whether to accept or reject a settlement offer—we aim to give them the information they need and put them in the best possible position to demand top-dollar as compensation for their injuries and losses.
Woodbury Burn Injury FAQ
Burns can happen anytime and anyplace. Whether grilling, touching hot metal objects, making a campfire, or spilling your coffee, even a minor burn can cause a painful injury. However, some burn injuries go far beyond painful skin injuries.
Severe burns may be life-threatening, disfiguring, and sometimes fatal. Approximately 486,000 people receive treatment for burn injuries each year. Unfortunately, about 4,500 people die from burns each year, and up to 10,000 people die of burn-related infections.
If you have suffered a burn injury, you may have urgent questions and concerns. Consult an experienced Woodbury burn injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. This blog answers common questions we receive from clients after burn injuries. If you have more questions or want legal help from the experienced burn injury lawyers at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, contact us immediately.
What commonly causes burn injuries?
Different things cause thermal burns, chemical burns, and electrical burns:
Thermal burns result from direct contact with excessive heat from objects or surfaces, such as fire, hot water, or steam. Approximately 86 percent of burn patients who need medical treatment suffer from thermal burns.
They are the most common type of burns and include:
- Burns from fire and explosions (43 percent of all burns)
- Scalding injuries from hot liquid or steam (34 percent)
- Contact with extremely hot objects (9 percent)
Chemicals also cause severe burns, especially in the home or workplace.
Some of the most common products that cause chemical burns are:
- Toilet bowl cleaning products
- Laundry and cleaning products containing bleach
- Teeth whiteners
- Car battery acid
- Hair relaxers and certain skincare products
- Airbags. These inflate due to a chemical reaction. Unfortunately, when the airbag inflates, it can release chemicals that burn the skin.
When an electrical current contacts the body, it can cause an electrical burn. Electrocution is more common at work than in the home. Construction workers, utility workers (particularly electrical and telecommunications workers), roofers, and tree service workers may encounter electrical accidents. Although the resulting burns are usually treated the same way as other burns, electrocution can cause additional complications, such as cardiac arrest, breathing problems, seizures, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the limbs.
Common causes of electrocution include:
- Contact with power lines that aren’t adequately insulated
- Touching energized equipment that is not grounded
- Deficient wiring
- Overloading an outlet by plugging in too many devices at once
- Downed power lines
How do doctors categorize burn injuries?
In some cases, a burn damages more than the skin. It can also harm tissues, muscles, and bones. Doctors categorize burns by how large and how deep they are. If the burn injury covers a large area, it may include burned areas of different depths.
Classifications, or degrees, of burns, include:
- First-degree burns. These are superficial and only affect the topmost layer of the skin. The most common symptoms are pain and redness; people can often treat first-degree burns at home. For example, most mild sunburns are first-degree burns.
- Second-degree burns. A second-degree burn is also called a partial-thickness burn. A second-degree burn occurs when the first layer and some of the second layer of skin get burned. The skin may become red, swollen, or have a splotchy white appearance, and the victim may experience pain, blistering, and scarring. A second-degree burn may require medical attention. In addition, it can get worse and become a third-degree burn.
- Third-degree burns. These burns can cause severe skin, tissue, and nerve damage. Third-degree burns require immediate medical care and may require skin grafts. In addition, these burns can cause substantial scarring.
- Fourth-degree burns. These burns are often life-threatening. Fourth-degree burns destroy the skin. They also cause severe damage to muscles, tendons, nerves, and bones. These burns cause extensive scarring and disfigurement.
What factors affect the severity of a burn?
Multiple factors may affect the severity of a burn, such as:
- Depth of the burn: How deeply the burn extends beneath the skin’s surface changes its severity.
- Percentage of affected body surface area: Burns that cover a smaller surface area are generally less severe and easier to treat.
- Age of the victim: Burns can be especially dangerous for older people, who are likely to have other medical conditions that may make their recovery more complicated.
How do medical professionals treat burn injuries?
The victim’s pain levels, treatment, and recovery timeline depend on the cause and severity of the burn. People can treat most minor burns at home.
Medical treatment for a severe burn, on the other hand, may include medications, wound dressings, surgery, and therapy. Those with severe burns may need to stay at burn facilities and receive skin grafts.
The long-term effects of a severe burn are devastating. Victims often need months of follow-up care, physical therapy, and emotional support. Treatment goals are to limit pain, prevent infection, remove dead tissue, promote healing, reduce scarring risk, and regain function.
Doctors may use treatments such as:
- Water-based treatments
- Drugs to prevent or fight infection
- Fluids: Burn victims who lose too many fluids may experience dehydration and even organ failure.
- Pain and anxiety medications: Burns are among the most painful injuries. Victims may need morphine and anti-anxiety drugs.
- Burn creams and ointments
- Dressings: Health care professionals may use special wound dressings to treat burns.
What complications may arise following a burn injury?
Any burn that is deep or widespread can lead to complications, including:
- Bacterial infection, which may lead to bloodstream infection (sepsis)
- Damaged blood vessels can cause a victim to lose fluids, affecting heart function
- Dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia): The skin controls the body’s temperature, so when a burn damages the skin, the body may lose too much heat
- Respiratory problems due to the intake of hot air or smoke
- Permanent scars and disfigurement, caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue (keloids)
- Bone and joint problems: In some cases, scar tissue can shorten or tighten the skin, muscles, or tendons, causing the injured person to have limited mobility
What is the law in Minnesota regarding the reporting of burns?
Minnesota law has specific requirements regarding the reporting of burn injuries.
The law states that a health care professional must file a written report to the state fire marshal within 72 hours after being asked to treat, dress or bandage certain types of burns, including:
- Second or third-degree burns to five percent or more of the body
- Burns to the upper respiratory tract
- Laryngeal edema from inhaling superheated air
- Any burn injury or wound that may result in the victim’s death
What are the basics of burn injury lawsuits?
A burn injury lawsuit allows the injured person to seek damages for personal and financial losses in a civil court. The injured person (the plaintiff) holds the burden of proof, meaning that they must prove that the other party caused their losses. A time limit, called the statute of limitations, sets the maximum amount of time an injured person can wait to begin legal proceedings. These time limits vary, so it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible.
Legal theories often used in burn injury lawsuits include:
- Negligence. Negligence is a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The injured person must prove that the other party owed them a duty of care, that the other party breached their duty, that the breach caused damages, and the damages they sustained resulted in economic costs, pain, and suffering.
- Premises Liability. Property owners, managers, or caretakers must maintain their property safely. They must make repairs as needed and give proper warnings about any hazards on the property. If a burn injury occurred on someone else’s property due to negligence, then the owner may be liable under a theory of premises liability. For example, touching a frayed wire or a poorly maintained fire suppression system in a building could injure someone.
What if the burn victim dies?
Tragically, burns sometimes cause fatal injuries. If the burn victim dies from an injury caused by negligence, certain family members can file a wrongful death claim. In Minnesota, the court must appoint a trustee to pursue the case. Recovery may include compensation for the economic loss to the surviving spouse and next of kin resulting from the death.
Can a worker receive compensation for burn injuries suffered on the job?
Workers injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), more than 5,000 workers are hospitalized each year after suffering a burn at work, and 200 of them die from their injuries.
In addition to firefighters, anyone who works with hot tools or open flames is at risk for a burn injury. Electrical burns often occur in industrial settings. Also, chemical burns are common in workplaces such as mining or chemical plants. A worker who is injured at the worksite or during the performance of their job duties can file a workers’ compensation claim.
What damages may I recover in burn injury cases?
Most burn injury victims face a long and difficult recovery.
Victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, such as:
- All past, current, and future medical expenses resulting from the burn
- Rehabilitation, physical therapy, or occupational therapy
- Emotional counseling
Victims can also seek lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other monetary losses, as well as non-economic damages, for losses including pain and suffering and mental anguish. Close family members may also seek damages for the value of loss of companionship.
In rare cases, punitive damages may be available under Minnesota law, but only if the injured party can show clear and convincing evidence that the person at fault showed a “deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others.”
Get the Legal Help You Need After a Woodbury Burn Injury
You and your family should not have to shoulder the economic burden that comes with suffering a severe burn injury in Woodbury because of someone else’s wrongdoing. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we understand the challenges you face and are here to help.
If you have suffered a burn injury and live or work in Woodbury, we want to help. Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers online or at (651) 358-2531 for a free case evaluation and to learn about your rights and options.