San Diego Burn Injuries Lawyer

Burns are one of the most serious types of injuries you can suffer in an accident. Not only are they one of the most painful injuries, burns can be very dangerous with a high risk of complications and a long recovery process.

If you or a loved one have suffered a serious burn injury, a San Diego burn injury attorney can help you by managing your case, gathering evidence, and pursuing the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovery. At Berman and Riedel, LLP, our experience in handling burn injury cases allows us to work closely with medical treatment facilities and our experts to ensure that every effort is made for a chance at a full recovery.

Common Causes of Burn Injuries in San Diego

While not the most common injury type, burn injuries are certainly one of the most devastating. There are four main types of burn injuries: thermal, chemical, electrical, and radiological. Some causes of burn injuries include accidents involving or caused by:

There are up to 2 million reported cases of burn injury in the United States alone every year, of which over 4,500 are fatal. According to a 2007 study conducted by the American Burn Association, 40% of burn injuries with a known cause occur by fire or flame contact, 30% by scalding, 8% by contact with hot objects, 4% from electrical injury, and 3% from contact with corrosive chemicals. Children and older people are most at risk for suffering a burn injury, and older people are more likely to die from a serious burn injury

About 48% of burn injuries occur in the home (most to children and the elderly), 27% occur on streets or highways (including automobile accidents), and 8% occur in industrial or workplace settings.  Burn injuries which occur in the workplace can be caused by dangerous conditions allowed to exist by the employer or by the negligence of third parties.

Annual burn incidence statistics from the American Burn Association:

  • 486,000: burns that require medical treatment
  • 3,275: deaths from fire and/or smoke inhalation (2,745 from home fires and 310 from vehicle fires)
  • 40,000: burn injuries that require hospitalization

Defective products can also be a source of burn injuries, particularly with children’s clothing and toys.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission works in conjunction with many national organizations, including the American Burn Association and the National Association of Fire Marshalls, to make products safer in order to prevent burn injuries.

Compensation for Burn Injuries in California

Burn injuries aren’t just incredibly painful; they can be debilitating physically and financially. Treatment for burn injury victims is intensive, can be years’ long, and is very expensive. When burn injuries are severe, they may cause permanent disfigurement and scarring, loss of limb, or permanent bodily harm or loss of function. Burn injuries are extremely painful, and may prevent a person from being able to return to their normal way of living, including preventing them from being able to work. A burn injury victim may also suffer from psychological harm as well; a burn injury can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or/and depression.

If you have suffered a burn injury in San Diego, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit and/or workers’ compensation claim. Many parties can be held liable for a burn injury depending on how it happened. For example, the victim of a burn injury that is caused by a defective product – like an exploding e-cigarette – will likely file a lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer.

There is a deadline to file your claim for compensation. In California, there is a two-year statute of limitations. You must file your claim within two years of your injury in order to recover damages.

Types of Damages for Burn Injuries in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When a victim files a personal injury lawsuit for a burn injury, they have the right to seek damages for all losses that they have suffered. This includes economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages are easier to calculate and refer to the actual value of financial losses such as:

  • Medical bills,
  • Future treatment costs,
  • Lost wages,
  • Future lost wages, and
  • All other costs related to the injury such as medical devices, adaptations to the home, home health care, and transportation to treatment.

Noneconomic damages are more challenging to calculate as they refer to intangible and often emotional losses such as:

  • Pain,
  • Suffering,
  • Mental anguish,
  • Loss of quality of life, and
  • Disfigurement

Who Can Be Held Liable for Burn Injuries in San Diego? – Recovering Damages for a Burn Injury

Burn injury victims have many legal rights and avenues to help them on the long road to recovery. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may have options to recover compensation regardless of negligence or liability. You may also be able to pursue compensation from an at-fault party whose negligence or intentional wrongdoing caused your injuries.

Potential options to recover damages for burn injuries include:

  • Government benefits such as unemployment compensation, Social Security disability payments, and medical treatment payment provided through Medicaid.
  • Workers’ compensation benefits if the burn injury occurred at work.
  • Auto insurance if the burn injury happened as a result of a car accident.
  • Personal injury lawsuit if another party’s negligence caused your injury. A lawsuit can provide compensation beyond the options above to ensure you receive the money you need to get quality treatment and recover.

Experienced San Diego burn injury attorneys can help you explore your legal options for pursuing fair compensation from all sources available to you.

Treatment for Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are caused by a variety of factors such as heat, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation and are described in various degrees known as first, second, or third. Burns that affect the outermost layer of the skin are referred to as first degree burns and most associated with sunburns. When damage penetrates into the underlying layers of skin and blisters appear, the burn has now become a second degree burn. Third degree burns affect all layers of the skin and involve deeper tissues such as the muscle, nerves, or bone.

Treatment required depends on the severity of the burn. Superficial, or first degree burns, require little more than pain relievers and aloe. Major burns may require prolonged treatment and care at specialized burn centers. More severe third degree burns usually require surgical treatments such as skin grafting or plastic surgery.

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, you should seek treatment for a burn injury if you experience one or more of the following: fever, pus-like or foul-smelling drainage, excessive swelling, redness of the skin, a blister filled with green or brown fluid, or a burn that does not heal in 10 to 14 days.

Recovery for second and third degree burns is typically slow and painful, and with third degree burns, there is almost always uncorrectable scarring. Pneumonia is a very common complication following a burn injury, and because of the high risk of infection, extreme care must be taken by medical teams with extensive experience in burn treatment in order to increase the chances of survival for a burn victim.

If you or a loved one suffers a significant burn injury, it’s vital to seek medical treatment, preferably at one of the almost 150 specialized burn care centers in the United States which treat over half of all burn injuries. In the State of California, there are currently 11 burn care centers which have been certified through the American Burn Association, including 3 ABA certified facilities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, as well as the UC San Diego Regional Burn Center which has been treating fire and burn victims in San Diego and Imperial counties since 1973. The more experience the medical center has with treating burn injuries, the better chance of survival and healing with minimal scarring.

How a San Diego Burn Injury Lawyer Can Help

After suffering a serious burn injury, your focus should be on your recovery, not fighting for compensation and trying to hold the responsible party accountable. Experienced burn injury lawyers in San Diego can help you determine what damages that you should file a claim for as well as how much your case is worth. Perhaps most importantly, a personal injury attorney can also help you to investigate the cause of the accident, prove fault, and hold the responsible party liable for damages.

The burn injury lawyers at Berman & Riedel, LLP understand just how devastating a burn injury can be and how quickly your life can be turned upside-down. While we cannot guarantee that a settlement will change your life, we can promise to work hard on your behalf to help you recover the money that you deserve. Contact our law office today to discuss your case and how we can help you during a free consultation.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions people have about personal injury cases and working with a lawyer. During your initial consultation, we will be happy to answer questions that are particular to your case.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

The attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP, accept cases on a contingency-fee basis. This type of agreement means you do not pay any attorneys’ fees out-of-pocket for legal representation. Attorneys’ fees are also contingent on the outcome of your case.

You benefit from legal representation in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of a settlement or jury award. We will only recover a fee if you recover compensation.

Can You Tell Me How Much My Case Is Worth?

There is no way to determine the exact value of a personal injury case, especially early in your case. However, an experienced attorney can give you an estimated range based on their experience with similar cases.

There are many factors that may influence the value of your case, such as:

  • Your total financial or economic damages
  • The severity of your injuries
  • The impact of your injuries on your daily life
  • The strength of your case
  • Whether you share fault for your accident
  • Insurance policy limits 

Some damages are easy to calculate, such as lost wages and medical bills. Calculating the value of diminished earnings for the rest of your life or future medical needs; however, may require the help of experts. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering have no intrinsic financial value. These damages are challenging to calculate. 

If your case goes before a jury, you may potentially be able to recover more than you could through a settlement. However, this introduces a new element of risk: the jury. The circumstances of your accident and even how sympathetic you or the defendant are can influence the outcome.

During your consultation, and throughout your case, we will help you understand how these factors influence your case. We will also work tirelessly to document the value of all your damages and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

Will My Case Go to Trial?

The vast majority of cases are resolved by reaching a settlement agreement outside of court. Very few personal injury cases actually go to trial, but it is more likely if the facts in your case are in dispute, a legal issue is being contested, or you have a high-value case.

An experienced lawyer will build your case as if it will go to trial from the beginning. The stronger your case and evidence, the more likely a fair settlement will be reached.

How Do I Know If I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If your case involves mostly property damage or minor injuries, you likely do not need a lawyer to handle a claim with the insurance company. The more serious your injuries, or the more complex your case, the more important it becomes to seek experienced legal counsel.

Remember that the insurance company is not on your side, even if the insurance adjuster seems sympathetic and you receive a settlement offer. If you are being blamed for your accident or sustained serious injury, a lawyer will help you protect your rights and build the strongest case possible. This includes calculating the full value of your current and future losses.

Legal representation is also vital if your case involves a complex area of law such as elder abuse or neglect, premises liability, commercial vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or serious work-related accidents. Determining liability, navigating decades of legal precedence, and interpreting specific statutes in these cases is best done with years of relevant legal experience.

Do You Accept Cases Outside of San Diego?

While our law office is located in San Diego, Berman & Riedel, LLP, accepts cases throughout the state of California.


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