Last updated on August 7th, 2023
Have you suffered a serious burn injury? Burn injury scars and disfigurements are typically permanent. In addition to the physical disfigurement, you might suffer lasting psychological distress. For all of these reasons, you are likely to be entitled to a large amount of compensation–assuming that you know how much your claim is worth and how to successfully demand its true value.
Doctors classify burns according to four distinct degrees of injury:
In the most serious burn injuries, the nerves themselves have been burned off, making it impossible to feel pain in those areas.
Human skin is fragile, and burn injuries can be caused by many different conditions, including:
A burn injury can require skin grafts, painful scrubbing of wounded skin, plastic surgery, and other treatments. You will also be highly susceptible to infections which could be more dangerous than burns. You can expect your recovery to last weeks, months, or even years, and you may never fully recover.
To demand compensation for a burn injury, you will need to break your claim down into at least three elements.
These elements are different if you claim liability against the manufacturer of a defective product.
Most burn injury claims never make it to court, even if the victim files a lawsuit. Instead, the defendant generally settles out of court. A disfigured burn victim is particularly likely to win the sympathy of a court. Settlements account for the vast majority of burn injury case resolutions.
Even if your burn injury claim never goes to court, the defendant (or, more likely, the insurance company) will negotiate based on what they believe you would be awarded if the case went to trial.
There is one exception to this general rule, however. If the defendant believes that you are underestimating the value of your own claim, they will negotiate based on what they believe you think your claim is worth. The way to avoid this is to select a lawyer with a good record of winning substantial burn claims at trial and have your lawyer do the negotiating for you.
The more serious your condition, the greater the amount of compensatory damages you can receive.
Ohio and most states recognize two kinds of compensatory damages–economic damages and non-economic damages:
Economic damages include:
These are typically greater than economic damages, especially when a lifelong burn injury occurs. Types of non-economic damages include:
Your spouse or children might be able to file their own claim for “loss of consortium” which is the loss of your ability to provide love and emotional support.
Most burn injury victims base their claim on ordinary negligence. If you win such a claim, a court will award you compensatory damages. If you can prove “gross negligence” (extreme negligence) or intentional misconduct, however, a court might award you punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. A court might find gross negligence, for example, if an extremely inebriated defendant dropped hot liquid on you while on duty.
AN EXPERT TIP FROM DOUG MANN
Ohio limits punitive damages to the lesser of 200% of compensatory damages, or 10% of the defendant’s net worth. Ohio’s limit on punitive damages is $350,000.
The defendant may claim that the accident was partly your fault, or that you failed to follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations. If the defendant can prove this allegation, he can relieve himself of some or all of his liability.
If you were more than 50 percent at fault, you would not be entitled to any damages. If you were 50 percent or less at fault, a court will reduce your damages proportionately. It will take away 25 percent of your damages, for example, if it rules you were 25 percent at fault.
Your lawyer’s negotiating skills are the wildcard in the deck of settlement negotiations, for better or worse. Choose your lawyer carefully.
It doesn’t matter what you are entitled to if the defendant simply cannot pay it. Ultimate limitations include insurance coverage limits and limits in the defendant’s ability to pay your claim out of their own pocket.
The availability of supplemental defendants, however, could add to the value of a claim that might otherwise be functionally worthless. Supplemental defendants might include:
A good Ohio burn injury lawyer will start looking for supplemental defendants soon after taking your case. They will also begin gathering evidence and seeking settlement as soon as they gain a full understanding of your claim.
If you’ve been injured and need to make a burn injury claim, contact us today to set up a free consultation. You won’t pay a dime unless we win your case.
Prior to forming Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz, Doug worked as a bodily injury claims adjuster for a large insurance company. This unique experience has been a tremendous asset to Doug in his fight to achieve maximum cash settlements for his clients in minimum time. Since departing from the insurance company, Doug has dedicated his entire legal career to helping injured clients when they need it the most.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at 1.937.222.2222
After an accident, and being inundated with offers from out-of-town lawyers, I called DGMS, and I am glad I did. They took over and I received a maximum payout very quickly after all the medical was done. Especially, Amy K. who always took my calls, and answered all my questions promptly. Thanks Amy K.
This was my first time having to deal with anything legal, they did a very good job, they helped me through the whole process start to finish. Kept me up to date with everything as time went and also didn’t make me feel dumb over a couple very “dumb” questions. Definitely the people I’ll come back to if needed again!
My attorney was/is Dominic Zambelli and from the very start, my experience with him was amazing. He explained what I needed to do for the case, the timeline, and put my mind at ease immediately. Fast forward six months, my case is settled and I am very happy with the result. If you are ever, and I mean EVER, looking for an honest, transparent, and diligent lawyer, call DGM&S and ask for Dominic. You will not be disappointed.
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