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Burn injuries are among the most devastating injuries an individual can endure. These not only severely impact a victim physically but often emotionally and financially as well, primarily when these burn injuries result in excruciating pain, scarring, and extensive, even life-long, medical bills
At Hughey Law Firm, it is our mission to help burn victims get the justice they deserve after such a traumatizing ordeal. We know what it takes to recover the compensation necessary to address these horrific injuries. If you have been involved in a Charleston burn injury accident, the Charleston burn injury lawyers at Hughey Law Firm are here for you, ready to provide you the legal help you need and fight for the compensation you are entitled to.
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At Hughey Law Firm, our skilled lawyers are here to aggressively advocate for our clients from the negotiations table to the courtroom and help them achieve the jury verdict or settlement award they deserve.
We have represented hundreds of clients throughout South Carolina, standing by their side and fighting on their behalf for the justice they need. As a result of this dedication, drive, and skills, we have won over $190 million in settlement awards and court verdicts for our clients.
While not every case we take on will garner the same results, you can rest assured that when you work with the Hughey Law Firm, our attorneys will fight hard to get you every last dollar your injury has cost you. Contact us today to discuss your Charleston burn injury case and explore your legal options.
While many associate burn injuries with open flames, there are many other types of these devastating injuries, including:
- A friction burn occurs when a hard object rubs off your skin. These burns are considered both a heat burn and abrasion and are common in bike and motorcycle accidents.
- A thermal burn results from a very hot object raising the temperature of your skin to the point where your skin cells die. Scalding liquids, steam, hot metals, and flames cause thermal burns.
- A cold burn, also referred to as frostbite, causes damage to your skin by freezing it. You can get frostbite just by being outside in freezing temperatures, but it can also happen when your skin comes into contact with something very cold, such as dried ice.
- An electrical burn may happen when your body comes into contact with an electrical current.
- A chemical burn may follow skin contact with strong solvents, detergents, or acids.
- A radiation burn is commonly understood as a result of a sunburn, but radiation therapy to treat cancer or X-rays can also cause these specific types of burns.
It is no secret that burns hurt. However, the extent of this pain depends on how severely your skin was injured. Generally, physicians will group burns into different categories, referred to as “degrees,” based on the severity of the burn.
- First-Degree Burns: This type of burn involves the outer layer of your skin and often causes redness, mild swelling, and some pain. Mild sunburn is a common first-degree burn. Generally, treatment for these injuries includes cool water, wraps, and over-the-counter pain medication.
- Second-Degree Burns: These burns affect the outer layer of your skin and the dermis, which is the layer underneath. With this type of burn, the skin will appear swollen, red, and may look wet and shiny. In addition, blisters may develop, and the burn will hurt to the touch. If you suffered a second-degree burn, you need to get it looked at by a medical professional.
- Third-Degree Burns: This type of burn is referred to as a “full-thickness burn” as it destroys the two top layers of the skin. Instead of turning red, the skin will usually turn brown, black, yellow, or white. Following a third-degree burn, you must seek immediate medical help.
- Fourth-Degree Burns: A fourth-degree burn often damages all the layers of your skin, muscles, bones, and tendons, and leaves you with no feeling in the area since the nerve endings are completely destroyed. These burns can kill people.
Even though some burns are more serious than others, any type of burn above a first-degree burn can lead to serious complications, which is why you should always follow up with your doctor following this type of injury.
Burn injuries are unique and can often result from many different scenarios.
Some of the most common scenarios that may lead to burn injuries in Charleston include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, as collisions can often result in fires and release of other substances that burn; accidents are likelier at dangerous intersections such as Rivers Avenue at Otranto Road and U.S. 17 at Houston Northcutt Boulevard;
- Trucking accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Defective product accidents;
- Workplace accidents, including construction site accidents;
- Electrical accidents;
- Fires in public areas;
- House fires; and
- Apartment fires.
Anyone in Charleston harmed in a burn accident because of another party’s intentional wrongdoing or negligence can file a burn injury claim. However, before victims can recover compensation for their injuries and losses, they must gather evidence to show how the injury occurred, who caused it, and the extent of their injuries. Additionally, there are procedural and timing requirements burn victims must meet to preserve their claims.
As a result, following a Charleston burn injury, it is in your best interest to reach out to an experienced Charleston burn injury lawyer, like those at the Hughey Law Firm. These attorneys can help gather the evidence needed to prove fault and damages, and ensure that you start and go through the legal claim process in a timely and correct manner.
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the maximum amount of time you have to bring a legal claim in court following an accident. If you do not bring this claim within that allotted time, you can be barred from pursuing compensation for your injuries.
In Charleston, the statute of limitations for bringing a claim following a burn injury accident, subject to some exceptions, is three years from the date of the accident. The exceptions can shorten or extend this filing period. Because of this, it is best not to wait to start looking into bringing a claim. You should reach out to an experienced burn injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible and have these lawyers not only determine how much time you have to file but ensure that you start the process of collecting evidence and building up your case.
Damages You May Collect in a Charleston Burn Injury Lawsuit
If you have been harmed in a Charleston burn injury accident, you may be entitled to certain damages. Damages mean the compensation you can get by bringing a claim or filing a lawsuit following an injury. In a Charleston burn injury case, these damages usually include economic and non-economic damages; in some cases, victims may be able to claim punitive damages.
Economic Damages: These damages refer to verifiable losses that result from an accident.
- Medical expenses, including past, current, and future medical costs, such as hospital stay, doctor visits, emergency room visits, surgeries, medical devices, and skin grafting procedures;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Personal property damages;
- Replacement service costs, such as cleaning services or child care services;
- In-home nursing care; and
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the burn injury.
Non-Economic Damages: These damages usually refer to the more subjective losses that occur following an accident. These losses do not have a specific monetary value associated with them, and consequently, are harder to determine.
- Pain and Suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of reputation;
- Loss of companionship;
- Scarring; and
Punitive Damages: Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which compensate the victim for their losses, punitive damages punish the defendant for their egregious actions and deter the perpetrator and others from committing such actions. Before the victim can recover these damages, their attorney must show through clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was willful or reckless in causing their harm.
Actions to Take Following a Charleston Burn Injury Accident
Regardless of how your burn injury occurred, you need to take swift action. Your actions following a Charleston burn injury not only protect your health and safety, but also your legal rights.
Contact 911 Immediately
Following your accident, you need to contact 911 immediately. This is the quickest way to get your accident on record and alert emergency medical teams to get to the scene. Anytime there is a burn injury, it is best to err on the side of caution and have these injuries checked out by a medical professional. This can help you not only minimize the long-term impact of the injury but also make sure that other problems do not stem from it, such as severe infections.
Once the police get to the scene, they can begin investigating the incident and jotting their findings in their police report. If you decide to bring an injury claim following the accident, this report can provide you with valuable information to establish the fault of another party.
Collect as Much Evidence as You Can
If possible, you should try documenting everything about the accident you can. This should include pictures and videos of the accident scene, your visible burn injuries, any device or piece of equipment that caused your injury, dangerous conditions, or any other details that can help prove what happened leading to your injury.
Also, take pictures of your burn injury as it progresses. This can help your lawyer prove the extent of your injuries and the harm you endured.
Get Witness Details
If there were people at the scene, try to get their names and contact information. Such witnesses can provide statements with helpful details regarding the incident that can support your claim. However, if anyone you approach is hesitant to provide you any information, do not force them. Instead, let your Charleston burn injury attorney work on obtaining this information for you.
Watch What You Say to Others
As you talk to others at the scene or after the accident, you need to be careful what you say. This means you need to avoid making any definitive statements, taking the blame for anything that happened, or apologizing for anything that occurred.
These types of statements can come back later and hurt you, affecting the total amount of money you can receive.
Frequently Asked Questions About Charleston Burn Injuries
If you suffered a burn injury in Charleston, you know these injuries are extremely painful and expensive. Burn injuries can impact nearly every facet of your life. If someone else’s carelessness or recklessness caused your injury, you can seek compensation through the personal injury claims process. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the personal injury claims process. Contact an experienced Charleston burn injury lawyer from Hughey Law Firm to answer your questions about your claim.
What is the personal injury claims process following a burn injury?
Individuals can obtain compensation for the expenses and effects of a burn injury incurred from someone else’s careless actions by hiring a personal injury lawyer to begin the personal injury claims process. Your lawyer will examine the details of your claim to determine all sources of liability and their associated insurance resources to provide you the compensation you deserve.
Your attorney will submit a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance provider on your behalf. This package includes information about the claim, documentation of the expenses incurred, and a demand for payment on the value of the claim. The insurance provider, after evaluating the claim, can choose to pay the demand, deny the claim and provide the claimant with a reason for the denial, or settle the claim. A settlement generally offers less money than the claim’s full value in exchange for an out-of-court resolution.
If the insurance provider chooses to pay the claim as submitted, it resolves the case. If the provider opts to deny the claim, the claimant and their attorney can file the claim in court as a personal injury lawsuit. If the insurance company offers a settlement, the claimant’s attorney can negotiate with the insurance provider to increase the offer. If they fail to offer fair compensation, the claimant’s attorney can file a lawsuit. Settlement negotiations can continue even after a lawsuit is filed and anytime before a court renders a verdict.
What types of accidents can give rise to a burn injury claim?
Burn injuries occur from many sources, including accidents that result from someone else’s negligence. Some of the most common negligence-caused burn injuries stem from motor vehicle accidents and building fires.
Building fires can take place in a commercial building, a nursing home, or even a rented dwelling as a result of many issues, including:
- Faulty wiring
- Exposure to caustic chemicals that burn the skin
- Dangerous or defective appliances
If someone (either individual or entity) was negligent, and that negligence resulted in you suffering a burn injury, you may have a personal injury claim.
How do I prove liability for my burn accident or incident?
To prove who is liable (legally responsible) for your Charleston burn injury, you must show:
- The at-fault party had a duty to exercise care in a given circumstance to avoid injuring others. For example, drivers owe a duty to others on the roadway to drive safely and legally. The duty owed by the owner of a commercial, public, or residential property is to regularly inspect the property to detect and promptly mitigate hazards.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care by taking actions that a reasonable person would not.
- The breach of the duty of care resulted in an accident in which you sustained a burn injury.
What type of compensation can I receive for a Charleston burn injury?
The cost of medically treating a burn injury can be high. Low-intensity treatment from a moderate burn can result in medical expenses of over $200,000. Any additional treatment to address complications increases medical expenses. For example, the cost of treating scarring or disfigurement can result in up to $35,000 in additional expenses, while treating psychological complications can add up to $75,000.
Through the Charleston personal injury claims process, you can seek compensation for all medical expenses you have already incurred, as well as estimated future expenses that you will likely face as a result of your injury.
In addition to medical expenses, you can also seek compensation for other expenses and effects that you experienced from your burn injury, including:
- Wage loss for the time you missed from work from your injury;
- Loss of earning capacity if you are no longer able to work in your job or a similarly paid position due to permanent disabilities from your injury;
- Property damage that you sustained in the accident; and
- Physical pain and suffering and emotional distress.
How much is the average burn injury settlement in Charleston?
Just as each accident and injury are different, each settlement is different. As noted above, medical expenses alone can vary widely depending on the severity of the burns and the type of complications encountered. The amount of work lost after the injury, permanent disabilities causing the sufferer to lose earning capacity, and the psychological impacts incurred are different with every case. A settlement represents the willingness of both parties to the claim to compromise to reach an agreement.
There is no “average” burn injury settlement in Charleston.
However, some factors affect the value of the claim, including:
- The at-fault party’s insurance policy. Insurance pays for most personal injury settlements and awards. Without insurance, many at-fault parties cannot pay for the effects their negligence caused. However, insurance is not a blank check. Most policies have limits on the amount of compensation possible. Your attorney will look carefully at the details of your claim to identify all sources of liability and all available insurance resources.
- The severity of your injury. Generally, the more serious the injury, the higher the likelihood of complications, missed work, lost earning capacity, and psychological impacts.
- Your patience during the process. Settlement negotiations can continue throughout a trial until a court renders a decision. While it is not difficult to get an insurance provider to offer a settlement, getting a fair settlement that compensates the claimant for their injuries can take a long time.
Does my attorney decide if the settlement offer for my burn injury is fair?
No. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf, but all the decisions in your burn injury claim are yours. Your attorney’s legal responsibility is to ensure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions. This responsibility includes letting you know how much your claim is worth, explaining to you the benefits and consequences of accepting a settlement, and ensuring that you are prepared for your claim to go to court.
My mother was burned at the nursing home where she lives. They acted like it was her fault. Was it?
In a properly staffed nursing home where the staff meets the needs of its residents and regularly inspects and remedies the facility’s hazards, a resident will rarely bear responsibility for burning themselves. While it is impossible without knowing all the facts of the case to determine liability, nursing home managers must keep residents safe.
These responsibilities include:
- Hiring staff, properly vetting the staff through background checks, and appropriately training the staff per facility policies and procedures;
- Regularly inspecting the facility for fire hazards and other issues that risk injury to guests, repairing those hazards, and placing prominent warnings, barriers, and other protections for known, unrepaired hazards; and
- Ensuring adequate staff on the premises at all times to properly supervise and care for residents and address emergencies as trained.
How long do I have to file a Charleston burn injury lawsuit?
Generally, claimants in South Carolina have three years from the date of the accident to file a burn injury lawsuit in court. The claim does not need to be resolved within three years, only filed in court.
My husband died from burn injuries caused by negligence. Can I file a personal injury claim?
The type of claim that can benefit you in your circumstance is a wrongful death claim. Seeking compensation through this type of claim is similar to the personal injury claims process. You must file these claims in court within three years of the death. You can seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, loss of financial support and benefits, and the psychological impacts of your loss.
If I file a Charleston burn injury lawsuit, will I have to go to court?
Only about 4 or 5 percent of claims ever see the inside of a courtroom. Most cases even those involving burn injuries resolve before trial, often by settlement. While going to court is unlikely, there is no way to predict how a case will resolve. If the at-fault party fails to offer a fair settlement to compensate you for the expenses and effects of your injury, then litigation is an important option. Having a lawyer who is as comfortable fighting for you in a courtroom as they are with negotiating settlements can be essential to fair compensation.
I can’t afford an attorney. Can I seek compensation for my Charleston burn injury without one?
Having an experienced Charleston burn injury lawyer provide guidance and assistance in this complex claim is crucial to its success.
Your attorney can assist you with the essential and challenging tasks, including:
- Determining liability and insurance resources
- Negotiating a settlement
- Protecting your claim from insurance tactics to reduce the amount the at-fault party’s insurer must pay
- Filing your claim on time and meeting other court requirements
- Litigating your case
- Assisting you in collecting your settlement or award.
Let an experienced Charleston burn injury lawyer from Hughey Law Firm help you understand your legal options, and learn how our services can assist you with your claim.
Get the Legal Help You Need. Reach out to the Hughey Law Firm Today
To bring a successful Charleston burn injury claim, you need to have a solid understanding of the applicable laws and be able to put up evidence and legal arguments to establish your claim. Following a burn injury accident, this can be an impossible task without professional help.
Thankfully, you do not have to tackle this challenging legal battle on your own. Contact an experienced Charleston burn injury lawyer at Hughey Law Firm; these attorneys can handle this complex legal process for you.
Our skilled Charleston burn injury accident attorneys can:
- Go over your burn injury accident, determine if you have a viable claim, and figure out which legal options you can pursue;
- Investigate your burn injury accident and gather the necessary evidence needed to show fault and damages;
- Hire experts such as accident reconstructionists, engineers, doctors, and economists to substantiate your claims;
- Handle all the negotiations with the other side on your behalf and fight for a fair settlement amount; and
- Take your case to trial if the other side is unwilling to agree to a fair settlement amount, and pursue maximum damages through the court system.
If a burn injury disrupts your life or the life of a loved one, do not wait any longer to seek the legal help you require. Contact the Hughey Law Firm today at (843) 881-8644 for your free case consultation, and let our experienced Charleston burn injury lawyers show you how we can fight for the financial recovery you deserve.
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Charleston, SC 29401
Phone: (843) 633-6877
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