Burn injuries result from exposure to fire, hot liquids or electrical currents. They are always serious and sometimes can be a life-threatening injury. If so, survival requires immediate emergency medical care. Acute life-threatening complications include airway compromise, fluid loss, circulatory and pulmonary complications and infection. Burn injuries often involve long, extensive in-patient care and treatment. Skin grafts are required to treat areas with third-degree or full thickness burns. Pain control is always a difficult problem. Physical therapy is required to restore range of motion to joints affected to the extent possible. Care is required to prevent, minimize and/or treat contractures and hypertrophic scarring in the affected area. There are also psychological consequences, particularly when the face, hands or other areas open to view are involved. Unfortunately, even with the best care, a significant severe burn often results in severe and permanent disability and disfigurement.
Damages to a severely burn-injured person are always substantial. The cost of acute care and rehabilitation is often hundreds of thousands of dollars. Depending on person's age, the cost of future medical care necessary to maintain person's health and function and to treat complications can be a million dollars or more. Often, severely burn-injured victims are either unemployable or employed only part time with frequent absences due to medical conditions. Therefore, their damages also include loss of earnings capacity. Finally, every burn-injured person experiences significant pain and suffering, and for many, their quality of life is drastically affected. These losses, too, are recoverable elements of damages.
Proving damages requires a number of different expert witnesses. Often, treating physicians are involved to explain the specifics of the acute burn injury and the acute care and rehabilitation required to treat the injury. Treating physical therapists may testify concerning the treatment undergone to restore physical function. A psychologist may be required to testify about the psychological impact of disfigurement. Rehabilitation medicine experts or burn experts may testify concerning the future medical care, services and specialized medical equipment needed to meet the medical and disability needs of person. A vocational expert may be needed to prove the earnings capacity lost due to the injury and disability. Finally, an economist is required to calculate the present value of the economic loss sustained due to the injury.
Lawyers with our firm have represented many burn-injured victims who were injured in car wrecks, truck wrecks, by defective products and due to unexpected contact with high voltage electrical currents. We have worked with many expert witnesses who are necessary to prove damages in these cases. If you, a loved one or a friend has suffered a traumatic brain injury, please contact us. Let us put our experience to work for you.