Burn Injury Settlements with Help from a San Diego Burn Injury Lawyer
Your San Diego burn injury attorney will explain what you should expect when considering the possibility of a settlement in your case.
A San Diego Personal Injury Attorney Will Help You Understand Factors Surrounding a Case
A burn injury case is no different from any other personal injury case in that it can be hard to accurately predict how much of a settlement offer your San Diego burn injury lawyer will receive when negotiating with the defense. Factors such as how severe the injuries were, what the intent of the defendant was when the injuries happened, and the means of the defendant to pay will be considered. Since burn injuries often involve permanent scars and significant pain, these types of cases generally have a higher settlement value.
The Importance of the Circumstances Surrounding the Accident
When a San Diego burn injury lawyer negotiates with the defense regarding a potential settlement, it will have a foundation in what the two sides think might be awarded if the case goes to trial. Keys can be where and how the accident occurred. The level of liability that falls to the defendant – how it will appear to the jury – can influence the amount that the jury might lean toward awarding to the plaintiff. Burn injury cases will vary in how they happened. They can occur at work, due to a product that the injured person purchased, during a case of arson, and accidents that were due to another’s negligent acts. If, for example, the burns occurred in a workplace incident, it’s possible that the plaintiff’s injuries could have been prevented. The potential value of such a case when a decision is made at trial will be substantially lower than if the employer was not following the required safety procedures. If the case has a lower expected value, then the settlement is also going to be lower.
Understanding Whether or Not Punitive Damages Will Be Available
Your lawyer will investigate the case to determine if the defendant’s acts were intentional or there was gross negligence. Gross negligence means that the acts were very negligent. If this is found to have happened, there is the chance that punitive damages could be part of the case. The idea of punitive damages is that they function as punishment for the defendant’s negligence. If the defendant is wealthy, the punitive damages must be sufficient so they will affect the defendant negatively. In the event that the burns happened during an intentional act, then there will almost assuredly be punitive damages. It can be more difficult to accurately predict punitive damages. If, for example, a manufacturer did not test a product that was sold for a potentially dangerous activity such as barbecuing and the plaintiff suffered severe burns because of it, the manufacturer could be vulnerable to punitive damages that could reach millions of dollars. With the aura of punitive damages hanging over a defendant, there could be a greater impetus to agree to a reasonable settlement.
How Emotional Issues and Physical Pain and Suffering Are Assessed
As in other personal injury cases, there will be damages for emotional and physical pain and suffering. With burn cases, however, your San Diego personal injury attorney will point out how painful burn injuries can be. In addition, these injuries can disfigure the victim permanently. Even if the pain subsides, this can result in emotional suffering. The defendant, once he or she is found liable, will have to provide compensation for the plaintiff for both the physical pain and the emotional pain. This will account for the nature and the extent of the disfiguring injuries. With burn scars, the victim will have embarrassment, depression, and have other emotional trauma. If the burns are on the face, the award will be higher than if it is on a spot of the body that is less visible.
Examples of Burn Injury Cases and Awards
For product liability cases, the following are examples of settlements:
- A woman who was wearing a skirt made of extremely flammable material and suffered third degree burns and permanent scars around and near her waist received a settlement of close to $4 million.
- A hospital patient’s bed caught fire because of a defect in product design. The manufacturer agreed to a settlement of $1 million.
For general negligence cases, there were the following examples of verdicts and settlements:
- Scalding hot water came from a hotel’s system and a plaintiff who was already suffering from a disability was burned in a bathtub. For second degree burns, the settlement was $275,000.
- A woman who ordered coffee from a fast food establishment suffered third degree burns due to the heat of the drink. She received $640,000.
Burn Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation cases are unique in that the possible employer negligence will play a large part in whether there is a potential lawsuit or if the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will pay for the damages. If the employer was not negligent in the incident that caused the burns, then the case will likely fall to the workers’ compensation insurer. In a workers’ compensation claim, the award will usually be much less than the amount in a personal injury lawsuit. Each state has different standards with compensation, but if the plaintiff has not been disabled and there are no disfigurements, a major amount is not likely to be awarded.
Contact an Experienced San Diego Burn Injury Attorney
For help from a San Diego personal injury attorney, call (619) 235-4300 to speak to George Charles Heppner – San Diego Personal Injury Attorney today.