When an individual suffers burns as a result of the actions or negligence of another person or company, it not only triggers significant medical concerns but also raises important legal and ethical questions. Such burns can occur in many different environments. They could happen in the workplace as a result of inadequate safety protocols, or in public spaces where a company’s failed equipment or product malfunctions lead to accidental exposure to fire, chemicals, or electricity. The physical and emotional scars left by these incidents are complex, and legal remedies as a result of the accident will often necessitate a thorough investigation to establish liability and the extent of culpability. The best way to avoid certain burn accidents is to institute safety standards and have response mechanisms in place to address and prevent these life-altering injuries.
Common Cause Of Burn Injuries
- Household Fires: These are often the result of cooking accidents, electrical issues, space heaters, or faulty wiring. Unattended cooking is a leading cause of house fires.
- Industrial Accidents: Texas has a significant number of oil and gas facilities, chemical plants, and other industries where fires and explosions can occur, leading to severe burn injuries.
- Vehicle Accidents: Car accidents can sometimes lead to fires, especially in collisions that involve fuel tank ruptures.
- Scalding: This can be due to hot water or steam and is a common household injury. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk.
- Electrical Burns: These may occur in the workplace, especially in construction or industrial settings, or at home due to faulty appliances or wiring.
- Outdoor Activities: Given Texas’s warm climate, outdoor activities involving campfires, barbecues, and fireworks can lead to burns.
- Chemical Burns: Both household chemicals (such as cleaning agents) and industrial chemicals can cause burns upon contact with the skin.
- Sunburns: Texas’s climate also contributes to a higher incidence of sunburns, which can range from mild to severe.
- Hot Object Burns: Contact with hot objects like irons, stoves, or industrial machinery can cause burns.
- Oil and Gas Explosions: Due to the prevalence of the oil and gas industry in Texas, there are risks of explosions and subsequent burns from these operations.
The severity and treatment of burns will vary based on the degree of the burn and the amount of body surface area affected. The way to reduce the incidence and severity of burn injuries will involve prevention efforts, emergency response capabilities, and public education. Fire safety regulations, workplace safety protocols, and public health campaigns are typically designed to address these common causes.
Legal Steps To Ensure Your Rights Are Protected When You Have A Burn Injury
If you suffer a burn through the fault of someone else, you might consider taking the following legal steps to ensure that your rights are protected and to possibly receive compensation for your injuries:
- Seek Medical Attention: The first step is to get the necessary medical treatment for your burn. The documentation of your injuries by healthcare professionals will be crucial if you decide to take legal action.
- Document the Incident: As soon as possible, write down everything you remember about how the burn occurred, including the date, time, location, and the names and contact information of any witnesses. If possible, take pictures of your injuries and the place where the incident occurred.
- Report the Incident: If the burn occurred at a business or another’s property, report the incident to the management or owner immediately, and make sure a written report is filed. Obtain a copy of this report for your records.
- Work-Related: If the injury is work-related, report it to your employer immediately and find out about your workers’ compensation rights.
- Preserve Evidence: Keep any clothing or other items that were damaged in the incident. Do not wash or alter these items, as they may be used as evidence later.
- Do Not Accept Blame or Sign Anything: Avoid making statements that could be interpreted as you accepting fault for the incident. Additionally, do not sign any documents or accept any settlements from insurance companies without legal advice.
- Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury law. Many attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you receive a settlement or win a judgment.
- Consider Legal Deadlines: Be aware of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in your jurisdiction. You generally have two years in the state of Texas to file a lawsuit from the time of the occurrence.
- File an Insurance Claim: If the person responsible for your burn has insurance, you may need to file a claim with their insurer. An attorney can assist you with this process to ensure your claim is handled properly.
- Follow Through with Treatment: Follow your doctor’s orders and keep all appointments. Continue to document your recovery process, keeping track of medical expenses, lost wages, and any other costs related to the burn.
- Prepare for Litigation: If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit. Prepare to be involved in the litigation process, which may include depositions, discovery, and possibly a trial.
- Mediation or Arbitration: In some cases, the parties may agree to alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration, which can be less time-consuming and costly than court proceedings.
- Understand the Possible Outcomes: Be aware of the potential outcomes of a legal action, including settlement, trial, and appeal. Discuss with your lawyer the pros and cons of each step.
Each situation is unique and will affect your course of action. It is important to get personalized advice from an experienced attorney who can provide guidance based on the specifics of your case. Contact Ceja Law Firm, PLLC for an initial no-cost consultation.