Tampa Burn Injury Attorneys
A burn is one of the most painful types of injuries. Burn injuries can result from a wide range of causes.
Fires, chemicals, friction, radiation, and electrical surges can all cause burns. Severe burn injuries can significantly damage the soft tissue below the victim’s skin.
Regardless of its severity, you should seek medical care for a burn injury. You need medical treatment as soon as possible. Acting quickly will help you avoid the worst outcomes.
Burn injuries do not only cause intense physical pain. These injuries usually result in victims suffering severe mental and emotional distress.
Like most injuries, burns also cause significant financial obligations for victims. Mounting medical bills, lost income, and property damage are some of the most common financial losses associated with burn injuries.
You should contact a trustworthy Tampa burn injury attorney if you have sustained a burn injury. The compassionate burn injury lawyers at Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys know how to fight effectively for our clients.
You shouldn’t have to manage the costs and losses following an accident-related burn injury alone. This is especially true when someone else’s negligence caused your injury.
You might deserve significant financial compensation if someone injured you in Tampa. Contact the skilled burn injury lawyers at Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys today so we can provide you with a free legal case evaluation.
Table of Contents
- About Us
- Our Tampa Burn Injury Attorneys
- About Burn Injury Accidents
- Who is Liable?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Seek Legal Help from the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys After a Tampa Burn Injury
We want to win. Plain and simple. If you’ve experienced an injury by someone else’s carelessness, you can count on us to fight for justice on your behalf. We don’t stand for unfair settlements and insurance company scare tactics. With over $100 million in jury verdicts, real victims, real stories, and real results have built our reputation and experience.
Although no two cases are exactly the same, and we cannot guarantee results, our list of successful outcomes can provide an idea of what we can do.
Here are just a few of our recent results:
- $36,700,000 for a medical malpractice case in Orlando, Florida
- $2,600,000 for a wrongful death case in St. Petersburg, Florida
- $1,650,000 for a boating negligence case in Tampa, Florida
- $850,000 for a car accident in Clearwater, Florida
We are confident in our ability to get the job done, whether through negotiation or in a trial. Call us or contact us online for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Our Tampa Burn Injury Attorneys
In 2003, Frank and Jennifer Gentry Fernandez co-founded the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys. 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.
About Burn Injury Accidents
Every year, around 486,000 burn injuries require medical treatment. Over 40,000 yearly hospitalizations are for severe burns. The most frequent cause is contact with fire or an open flame. Damage from heat can happen in a variety of situations.
In some cases, people suffer from injuries because of another party’s carelessness.
Common types of accidents are:
- Car accidents. Some severe accidents involve fire on and around a vehicle. People can get hurt if their skin comes into contact with flames. However, burn injuries can occur in unexpected ways. Your skin could rub against the seat belt harshly or touch hot metal.
- Boating accidents. Despite the presence of lots and lots of water, boating accidents can often produce fiery incidents that lead to extreme burns.
- Pool accidents. Burn injuries can even occur at a swimming pool. Chlorine and other pool chemicals may cause eye or internal injuries. Some people experience skin irritation due to high levels of exposure. Electrical equipment poses a risk of a burn from exposed wires or a malfunction.
Many reported burn injury cases to occur because a person or entity acted negligently. Worse, the resulting hospital bills and effects on an otherwise healthy person’s life can be completely debilitating. At Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys handle plenty of burn injury claims. We can help you come up with a plan to pursue compensation.
Typical Factors That Cause Burn Injuries
Every instance of a burn injury accident is distinct. No two personal injuries involve the same scenario.
However, some circumstances are more likely to result in burn injuries than others. According to research from the American Burn Association (ABA), nearly half a million burn injuries require treatment in the U.S. annually.
Some of the most common circumstances resulting in burn injuries are:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Electrical fires
- Residential and commercial structural fires
- Accidents on construction sites
- Burns from defective products
- Contact with chemicals
- Scalding liquids
In recent years, many victims have suffered burn injuries from products containing lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are sometimes unstable and explode. For instance, vapes and e-cigarettes contain these hazardous batteries.
These are only a few examples of situations that may result in burn injuries. Speak with an accomplished burn injury attorney if someone burns you in Tampa.
Who Is Liable for a Burn Injury Accident?
The responsible party depends on the nature of the accident. Usually, one side is at fault for your burn injury. However, a few lawsuits include multiple negligent parties.
You can take an individual to court if they intentionally or accidentally caused your burns. They might have played with firecrackers or did not manage a campfire reasonably well. If you were in a car accident, the other driver could be liable for damages.
A government agency or body could be the at-fault party in a lawsuit. Examples of cases include car crashes and premises liability accidents. In Florida, you can sue the government if an employee acted within the scope of their employment.
However, you need to follow specific procedures. For instance, you have a short period to submit a notice of claim to the correct department.
Potential Arguments From the Defendant
Burn injury lawyers are beneficial to any burn accident claim. One reason is that they know the common defenses the opposing party might use. An attorney can counter an argument to make sure your case settles.
Defenses of the negligent party include:
- Expired statute of limitations. People need to act quickly to file their claims on time. Otherwise, the defendant can have the judge dismiss a case. A lawyer prevents the possibility of the other side using the statute of limitations against you.
- No legal standing. During the lawsuit process, you need to prove negligence. The defendant owed you a duty of care, and their actions led to injuries. They might argue they acted in the same way another reasonable person would have. Property owners can claim they owe no duty of care to trespassers.
- The plaintiff is mostly at fault. The defendant can lessen or avoid a settlement if they raise the plaintiff’s liability. A company could say a worker chose not to wear the correct clothing. A motorist might claim you acted carelessly.
The other side could have a legal team that knows the plaintiff is unfamiliar with the law. They can become aggressive in their defenses. Our lawyers can match the other side’s assertiveness and protect you from a lost lawsuit. Contact Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys today.
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.
What Losses Can You Recover in a Burn Injury Claim?
When victims begin their burn injury claim, they likely want to know what damages they can recover. Every lawsuit is unique, but common damages include medical bills. Expenses cover a variety of medical aspects of a person’s recovery.
Some burn injuries require a visit to the emergency room. On average, a trip to the hospital costs a patient $1,082 with insurance. The price increases if someone needs to stay at the hospital for multiple days. Additionally, the ambulance is a separate bill.
Other medical costs include skin grafts, surgeries, physical therapy, and pain medication. You can claim damages for the money you have spent and future expenses.
Another financial loss from a burn incident is the income you miss. Severe burns require you to rest during recovery. As a result, you cannot go to your job for a specific amount of days. Sick days run out, and you might receive fewer paychecks than before.
A settlement can include the earnings you lost due to another person’s recklessness. Your lawyer looks at your pay stubs to calculate what to ask for in compensation.
Pain and Suffering
Emotional damages can occur in addition to financial losses. Many people claim pain and suffering in a lawsuit because of the stress their injury caused. The accident can lead to trauma, and bodily harm can limit a person’s ability to do activities.
The court can award money for disfigurement as well. Some burns are acute enough to cause disfigurement around the affected area. Social interactions become difficult for an injured person. As a result, they might experience a decline in their self-image, and depression could occur.
Our attorneys understand how burns have affected your life. We take the time to determine what damages the liable party owes you, and we can help pursue them.
The Statute of Limitations for Burn Injury Claims
If possible, the negligent person can avoid compensation if they show the statute of limitations expired. Therefore, you need to take action quickly if you believe you have a valid case. Residents of Tampa generally have four years from the day of the accident to file a claim.
However, you have less time if the at-fault party is the city or state government. You have no later than 180 days to mail a notice of claim. If the agency denies the claim, you have two years to start a lawsuit. If a burn injury led to the death of a loved one, you have two years from the date of their death.
Even if the defendant clearly is liable, the judge rejects a claim if the deadline has passed. However, the law may entitle you to an extension. For instance, the “clock” temporarily pauses if the negligent party flees the state before you can file a lawsuit. If the defendant took steps to hide their identity, you could have more time.
The law grants extensions to some injured people if the accident left them legally incapacitated. However, they only get a maximum of seven years before they lose their chance at reimbursement.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Files a Lawsuit if Someone Dies?
Severe burns can result in a victim’s death after an accident. While the injured person cannot file a claim, someone else can do so on their behalf. Surviving family members can gain compensation for the losses they endured.
Under Florida law, a personal representative is the one who sends the official complaint. The deceased person’s estate plan names the representative. Usually, the person is a member of the family. Otherwise, the court appoints someone to represent the victim in the lawsuit process.
When the personal representative files a claim, they have to list all the potential beneficiaries. Beneficiaries include the deceased individual’s spouse and children. However, a child under the age of 25 gets more compensation than adult ones.
If the victim was a minor, the claim names the parents. The personal representative may list other relatives as beneficiaries if they financially depended on the deceased loved one.
How Do You Pay a Burn Injury Lawyer?
Most burn injury lawyers charge a contingency fee. Therefore, a person does not need to pay unless their case wins. The bill is a percentage of your compensation, and your lawyer deducts the cost when they receive the settlement check.
Attorneys and clients generally agree on 30 percent of the settlement. However, the percentage could change depending on one or more factors. For example, the financial state of the client and the expected amount of work affect the contingency fee.
Some lawyers change how much they charge based on when a case settles. The fee might go up if the lawsuit reaches the courtroom. In addition, you would need to pay other costs and expenses.
Legal costs include filing fees, postage, and transcripts. Like a contingency fee, your lawyer generally waits until the end of a case to reimburse the expenses. We help you understand the potential payment before we take on your claim.
How Does a Burn Injury Attorney Help You?
Burn injury lawyers help injured victims in different ways. The law can appear complicated, especially if someone is new to the process. A person could have many questions about what they can do. An attorney lets you know more about your rights and lists possible options for compensation.
Your lawyer deals with insurance companies for you. Insurers may use intimidation, but your attorney protects you from unwanted tactics. They negotiate with the other side to make sure an offer covers your losses.
Burn injury claims require people to complete the necessary documents on time. You do not need to worry about missing a filing deadline if you have an attorney to assist you. Our firm works hard to prepare your case for anything.
Will Your Lawyer Need to Hire Expert Witnesses?
Many cases use expert witnesses to help prove liability. Even if negligence is apparent, your attorney may want to ensure the court does not doubt liability. If the other party brings up a valid argument, the testimony from an expert witness makes your case stronger.
Your lawyer might hire a mechanical engineer, healthcare professional, or fire investigator. An economist can attest to the amount of compensation the defendant has to pay. Expert witnesses help maximize the value of your claim.
Seek Legal Help from the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys 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.
A burn injury can impact your daily life. We at Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys can assist you in any way we can while we work on your case. We understand the struggles you face and work hard to get results as soon as possible.
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 Accident Injury Attorneys 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.
Our lawyers have the experience necessary to help Tampa residents get the justice they deserve. If you have any questions about burn injuries, we can provide you with the answers. Contact us at (813) 278-1032 at our Tampa office for your free consultation.
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