Tampa Burn Injury Attorneys
If you suffer a burn injury, it could be from heat, electricity, chemicals, friction (such as road rash), or radiation. Burns could affect the outer layer of skin or could burn all the way through the skin and into the fat layer below the skin. You should seek medical attention for all burns, even those that affect only the outer layer of skin, as they can blister, become infected, and cause scarring.
Our Tampa burn injury lawyers at the Fernandez Firm have experience representing those who suffered chemical burns, car and truck accident burns, medical malpractice, and cosmetic surgery. We have over $50 million in settlement and jury awards under our belt and are here to help.
Our Tampa Burn Injury Attorneys
In 2003, Frank and Jennifer Gentry Fernandez co-founded the Fernandez Firm. Both attorneys worked in other firms representing personal injury victims from the early 1990s. Both attorneys have represented hundreds of accident victims for several types of personal injury cases, including burn injuries, car accidents, slip or trip and fall accidents, and more.
In 2012, Frank Fernandez was named as one of Florida Trend Magazine’s “2012 Legal Elite.” Both attorneys are allowed to practice law in federal district courts. Jennifer Fernandez was also inducted into the National Register’s “Who’s Who Among Business and Professional Achievers.
Doctors measure burn severity by the depth of the skin damage. Burn symptoms can take up to two days to manifest. A first-degree burn only burns the outer layer of skin. Symptoms include pain and redness.
A second-degree burn burns the top layer of skin (the epidermis) and the second layer of skin (the dermis). Symptoms include swelling, redness, white or splotchy skin, blister, and possibly severe pain. A deep second-degree burn can also cause scarring.
A third-degree burn burns through both layers of skin to the fat layer below. Symptoms include black, brown, or white skin, leathery-looking skin, and sometimes, nerve damage, which causes numbness.
A fourth-degree burn burns the layers of skin, muscles, tendons, and bones. These burns are life-threatening.
Types of Burns
The most common type of burn is from open flames. However, other types of burns include:
A friction burn happens when you rub your skin against something hard, and the skin peels off. It is also known as a heat burn or a scrape. Carpet burns and road rash are friction burns. This type of burn is common in motorcycle accidents. While those in car accidents could suffer friction burns/road rash, that is not as common as road rash from motorcycle accidents.
A cold burn, or frostbite, freezes your skin, which damages it.
A thermal burn happens when you touch a hot object. The hot object raises the temperature of your skin. When it reaches a certain temperature, the skin cells start to die. Thermal burns include burns from flames, scalding liquids, and steam.
When you electrocute yourself, you may actually burn yourself. If the electric current is strong enough, it can cause significant burns.
Some strong detergents and solvents, and strong acids cause chemical burns. If you have ever made soap from lye, you might have suffered a chemical burn. Bleach can also cause burns if left on your skin.
X-rays, radiation therapy, and the sun all cause radiation burns. Most everyone has suffered from a sunburn; this is a radiation burn.
If you suffer a minor burn, you can treat it yourself. However, if you receive a second-degree burn, you should seek medical attention. If you receive first-degree burns in a car accident, you should also seek medical attention. You could recover damages for burns suffered in a car accident, especially if those burns become infected or burn deeper.
What looks like a first-degree burn might turn into a second- or third-degree burn in two days.
If you suffer a burn at home, first cool the burn as soon as possible. You can run the burn under cold water or even put ice or a frozen bag of vegetables on the burn. Apply burn cream to the burn.
Do not use butter, margarine, or other old-timey remedies. When you put oily substances in a burn, it holds the heat in and makes the burn worse. Watch the burn for blistering. If the pain is too much or the burn seems to get worse, seek medical treatment for the burn.
If you go to the hospital with severe burns, doctors could take several steps to treat it, including:
- Water-based treatments.
- Pain medications.
- Intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Anxiety medications.
- Burn ointments.
- Dressings to cover the burns and keep them clean.
- A tetanus shot.
- Drugs to fight infection, which could be oral or intravenous.
- Physical therapy to keep the skin stretched, so joints remain flexible.
- Occupational therapy if you have a hard time performing daily activities.
For extreme burns, you might need breathing assistance, a feeding tube, skin grafts, or plastic surgery.
Burns often cause secondary injuries. You can also recover damages for these injuries. Secondary include:
- Burns easily get infected, even if there are no underlying conditions that slow recovery. If the patient has immunodeficiencies, diabetes, or is taking medications that lower their white cell count, the risk of infection is much higher.
- Bedsores/pressure sores. If the patient has severe burns and cannot move, they could develop pressure sores, even in the hospital. Pressure sores develop when someone lies or sits in one place too long, reducing or cutting off the flow of blood to that area of the body.
- When body tissue dies because of a lack of blood flow (pressure sores) or a severe bacterial infection, gangrene can occur. While it is most common on toes, fingers, arms, and legs, a patient can also develop gangrene in their muscles and internal organs, particularly in the gallbladder. Diabetes and atherosclerosis increase the risk of gangrene.
- Psychological issues. Burns sometimes take a long time to heal. Patients could suffer from anxiety and depression because of worries about taking care of the family. They could also suffer post-traumatic stress disorder if the accident that caused the burn was traumatic. It is possible to recover medical expenses for psychological and cognitive therapy.
In most cases, doctors can manage secondary injuries, but they take longer to heal. In some cases of gangrene, when it is not caught early enough, doctors might have to amputate the infected digit or limb to stop the spread of the infection. It is possible to receive additional compensation for the additional pain and suffering and the loss of use or loss of the body part.
Recovering Damages After a Tampa Burn Injury
If someone other than yourself caused a Tampa burn injury, such as in a car accident, a thermal burn, electrical burn, chemical burn, or radiation burn, you might recover damages in the form of economic and/or non-economic damages.
Special damages, often referred to as economic damages, have an objective monetary value. Courts order defendants to pay economic damages in an attempt to make the victim financially whole again.
Economic damages can include:
- Past medical expenses for those incurred because of burn accident and other accident injuries and up through a trial award or a settlement.
- Future medical expenses for those incurred because of a burn accident and other accident injuries and after a settlement or a trial award.
- Past lost wages for those lost from the time of the accident through the time of a settlement or trial award.
- Future lost wages for those lost because of a burn accident or other accident injuries and after a trial award or a settlement.
- Replacement of destroyed personal and/or real property or repair of damaged personal property. For example, if gas leaks in your home and causes a fire, the insurance company could share responsibility for damage to your home and personal property in your home.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses if you lost a loved one to burn injuries.
General damages, usually referred to as non-economic damages, do not have a monetary value; however, the court orders the defendant to pay them in an attempt to make the victim financially whole again.
In general, you could only get non-economic damages if you suffer from long-term or permanent disabilities caused by your accident injuries. While the Social Security Administration defines a long-term or permanent disability as one that lasts longer than 12 months or that doctors expect to result in your death, insurance companies could have a different definition.
Non-Economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress for those who suffered burn injuries and other accident injuries.
- Emotional distress for those who lost a loved one to burn injuries or other accident injuries.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to take medications or use ambulatory aids for the rest of your life.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy or participate in family activities and events.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of use of a body part. Even with physical therapy, a burn on a joint could cause you to lose partial use of that joint.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight.
- Loss of a digit or limb—for instance, should a burn become infected and turn to gangrene, and amputation is required.
- Excessive scarring and disfigurement. Even with skin grafts, burn victims are sometimes left with excessive scarring and disfigurement.
You might collect a third type of damages: punitive damages. The court only orders punitive damages if you can successfully prove the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional. The court orders the defendant to pay punitive damages, not to make you whole again, but to punish the defendant. The court hopes that the fine prevents the defendant from taking the same actions again in the future.
Seek Legal Help from the Fernandez Firm After a Tampa Burn Injury
When you suffer a burn injury, you could recover damages from the defendant’s insurance company or directly from the defendant. Often, people want to attempt to settle without the help of an attorney. In most cases, those people leave money on the table.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. Any claim they have to pay out means that their profits drop. They might try anything in an attempt to deny your claim or offer you a pittance that might not even cover your medical expenses.
Tampa burn injury attorneys like Frank and Jennifer Fernandez know the tricks the insurance companies play in an attempt to deny a claim or make a low-ball offer. After a burn injury, if you do contact an insurance company, only give them your name, contact information, the defendant’s insurance policy information, and your attorney’s contact information. The insurance company might try to get you to talk about the accident; simply continue referring them to your attorney.
Regardless of whether the burn injury is a second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree burn, the burn injury attorneys at the Fernandez Firm are dedicated to getting our clients the compensation they deserve. We are here to respond to your questions and answer your calls 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Contact the Fernandez Firm at (813) 278-1032 for a free case evaluation if you suffered a chemical burn, friction burn, cold burn, thermal burn, electrical burn, or radiation burn. The Fernandez Firm is here to help.
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The Fernandez Firm
2503 W Swann Ave #100
Tampa, FL 33609