New Jersey Burn Injury Lawyers
Proudly serving all of New Jersey
Successfully Representing Victims of Burn Injuries
Depending on its severity, a burn injury may require skin grafts, surgery, and other costly medical treatments. Covering such staggering medical bills is nearly impossible for most people. If you’re dealing with the consequences of a burn injury that was caused by another party, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult with the compassionate New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., today, to see whether filing an injury claim is a viable option for you.
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Causes of Burn Injuries
Burns can come from a variety of sources: fire, chemicals, electricity, boiling water, hot objects, flammable liquids, and more. We have seen burn victims injured in many different places – from their own home, vehicles, restaurants, the workplace, amusement parks, malls, and more. Many burns are the result of some other person’s negligence, or a company’s failure to maintain legal safety standards.
Burns are the second most common form of accidental death in New Jersey.
Less than half of all burns reported each year are the result of a fire. We most often see burns in New Jersey through:
- Vehicle collisions: Several vehicle fluids are flammable and can easily ignite after impact as the liquid flows over the hot car engine, or is ignited by a spark from the vehicle’s electrical system. Also, in the case of a high-speed rear-end collision, it is possible that the fuel tank will be damaged or rupture, and a spark can ignite a fire. Another cause of a car fire is when the impact of the crash forces one or more vehicles off of the road into dry grass or other combustible material, such as leaves or debris. The heat from the vehicle’s motor or exhaust can easily ignite the dry material underneath the vehicle. In these cases, the person at fault for the collision is also at fault for burns that occur as a result of the collision.
Also, a defect in a vehicle could start a fire. In some vehicles that were recalled, faulty electrical systems caused them to catch fire, while others had issues with the location and construction of the fuel tank, making them explosive in a rear-end collision. This is not nearly as common as the other causes of a fire after an accident, but it has occurred and the vehicle manufacturers were found to be at fault.
- Defective products: There are numerous products that consumers use each day that have the potential to cause burns if they are defective. Any item with an electrical cord may be improperly wired, or that wiring could be improperly insulated and the result could be serious burns to anyone using the item. Faulty pilot lights and faulty gas lines are two other common household items that can easily cause a fire. In the case of a defective product, it is the manufacturer who should be held accountable for the fire and any burn injuries.
- Chemical exposure: The most common cause of chemical burns is a workplace injury where chemicals leak or are mishandled. Other more common household products that can cause chemical burns include car battery acid, ammonia, bleach, pool chlorine, and teeth-whitening products. Chemical burns can also result from improper application of certain hair and beauty products. Negligence on the part of someone who is handling chemicals can easily cause burn injuries to others in the area.
- Scalding: Scalding occurs when the skin comes in contact with a hot liquid or steam. The most common scalding burns occur when a child comes into contact with hot water. Scalding can occur with just a six-second exposure to 140-degree water, or at lower temperatures for children, as their skin is more sensitive. Scalding can also occur when a hot liquid such as water or coffee is spilled on skin. Some scaldings are simply accidents, but others could be prevented.
- Contact burns: Contact burns occur when skin comes in contact with a hot item, such as an iron, a hot pan or skillet, or everyday household objects. Touching a hot pan in the kitchen is an accident where no one may be to blame. But if you are in a restaurant or store and someone has left a hot pan where it can be touched by an unsuspecting patron, then there’s a case for negligence. Another example could be a hairstylist who is not careful when using a curling iron or a very hot blow-dryer and causes a serious burn to a client.
Evaluating the circumstances around a burn is the first step in determining if you have grounds to seek compensation for your burn injury.
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Degrees of Damage
It is common for victims of burn injuries to require surgical excision and skin grafting. Others may only suffer minor burn injuries that, while painful, may not require surgery. The severity of the burn is commonly categorized as follows:
- First degree: This is when only the outermost layer (epidermis) of the skin is damaged. The skin will appear red and dry, and though it will be painful, it should heal in approximately a week.
- Second-degree superficial: This is when the first and second layer (dermis) are damaged in the fire but the damage to the second layer is not deep. The skin will be red with clear blisters; it will appear moist and it may take weeks to heal.
- Second-degree deep: This is when the damage to the dermis is deep. The skin will be red and white with bloody blisters. This type of injury may require skin grafting to replace the damaged skin.
- Third degree: This is when the entire dermis is damaged. The skin will appear stiff and white or brown. It will appear dry and leathery and will require excision. Some third-degree burns are so severe they result in amputation.
- Fourth-degree: This is when the skin is so damaged that the deepest layer of skin (subcutaneous) and the underlying muscle and bone are damaged. The skin will appear charred and dry and there will be substantial loss of function.
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Dealing with Insurance Companies
In New Jersey, the State affords burn victims significant rights. Often, burn victims are unaware that they can have most of their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more, paid for by the insurance provider of the party responsible for their burns.
We have seen many cases where victims take care of their medical expenses on their own, paying thousands of dollars out of their own pockets. We strongly believe that those responsible for a serious injury should pay, not the injured person. Unfortunately, insurance companies and their lawyers often refuse to pay anything, or even speak with burn victims if they do not have a lawyer. Some insurance companies try to scare victims into thinking they will have to pay expensive legal fees if they do not settle for a much lower amount than is rightfully owed to them. Other companies will outright lie to victims, especially on the phone, and try to force them to drop their claims.
Due to advancements in plastic surgery, doctors’ ability to reconstruct scarred burned skin is better than ever. But many insurance companies refuse to pay for reconstruction, even though it can greatly improve a person’s quality of life. Plastic surgery can be covered, however, if there is clear evidence that the burn could have been prevented.
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WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN A BURN INCIDENT?
Every burn case is different, and involves hundreds, if not thousands, of unique elements. The first thing anyone should do after being burned is to seek medical attention. 911 operators are able to give help, if needed, for treating the burn immediately, but you should definitely go to a doctor as soon as possible.
Next, contact an independent source of legal help. Our office offers free, no-obligation legal consultations on any burn accident case in New Jersey. An attorney will ensure that your rights as a victim are protected and that those responsible for your injury are held responsible for paying the related bills.
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I’M NOT SURE IF ANYONE WAS AT FAULT IN MY BURN INCIDENT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., immediately. In our experience, a victim is not always aware of the root causes of their injury at first. With the assistance of medical professionals, private investigators, and other credentialed authorities, we can piece together all the elements of your burn case to find its ultimate cause.
In some cases, a faulty car part may be responsible for the burn. Other cases involve the negligence of a person who could have prevented the burn by following common safety procedures. It may not always be clear to the victim what caused the burn, but an independent investigation can find out.
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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A BURN INJURY LAWYER?
Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., offers free consultations. Our office is one of the few in the State providing no-obligation legal advice on burns.
Almost every burn case that we handle is done on a contingency fee. This fee is a small, preset amount of a successful settlement. There are never any hidden fees from our office and we only get paid these fees if we win your case. We always factor contingency fees into any amount that we ultimately agree to settle upon. Because of contingency fees, we can start working on your case immediately.
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WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR ME IN MY BURN CASE?
Our burn lawyers will provide you with the legal representation you need to get the settlement you deserve. We will handle all communication between all parties involved and make sure that you get the medical treatment you need to recover.
Once we have compiled your case we will present it, along with a list of financial damages, to any and all insurance companies involved. Following this, we will negotiate with those companies until we get a settlement you are satisfied with. If we can’t get a settlement you’re happy with, we will go to trial to get a verdict. We then make sure you are paid the agreed amount and monitor case for any future developments.
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Dedicated Burn Injury Attorneys in New Jersey
Our New Jersey team is composed of legal professionals who have years of experience in the field of personal injury. We are effective negotiators and aggressive trial attorneys. In addition, we have many legal specialists on staff, including medical professionals and private investigators, who can serve as expert witnesses. Whatever your goals are, we will do our best to fulfill them. If you wish to speak with us right now about your case, call (609) 240-0040. Your consultation is free.
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