If you’ve suffered scalds or burns that you believe were directly caused by someone’s negligence, then you’re eligible to file a compensatory claim. That said, how much should you expect from a burn injury claim?
01. How and where did the burn injury occur?
How and where the burn injury occurred is very important because it indicates the defendant’s degree of liability—or how bad the situation looks, which in turn affects the amount that the jury will be willing to award the plaintiff at the trial.
Of course, there are different burn injury cases–all of which occur in various ways, including faulty consumer products, workplace injuries, arson, intentional burning or any kind of burn injury that has been a direct result of someone else’s negligence.
Now single out a workplace injury, for example. If the complainant was burned or scalded by an accident that was somehow unpreventable, the settlement value of such a case will relatively be low when compared to a situation where the accident was mainly caused by the employer’s failure to install safety regulations.
02. Gross negligence
If the defendant intentionally burned the victim he (or she) will be charged for gross negligence and thus be subjected to punitive damages.
Punitive damages are mainly set to punish defendants that are fond of acting reprehensibly. As such, wealthy defendants are usually made to pay higher amounts of punitive damages just to “feel the sting.”
However, predicting punitive damages for gross negligence is to some extent problematic. A good example of a gross negligence case is one where the defendant is a manufacturer who didn’t conduct a test on his product before bringing it to the market while fully aware the product was going to be used in a situation where it could easily be exposed to flames. Now if a consumer happens to use the product (let’s say the product is an oven mitt) and is severely burnt in the process, the manufacturer of the product will be required to pay thousands—if not millions—of dollars as punitive damages.
03. Compensation for Pain and suffering
Unlike all the other forms of personal injuries, burn injuries are extraordinarily painful and may actually trigger permanent disfigurement. And because of that, a liable defendant is usually made to not only compensate a complainant for the physical pain caused, but for any emotional pain the disfigured victim has had to endure after the incidence, as well.
And since suffering and emotional award is mainly based on the chances of the complainant being depressed, embarrassed or experiencing a set of emotional distress, then it has to take into account the nature and extent of the disfigurement. That’s to say a plaintiff who has badly injured her face is likely to receive higher compensatory damages than a complainant who has only scalded her back.
04. Worker’s compensation settlements
A workplace injury that has not resulted from an employer’s negligence will be settled by the workers compensation scheme. Usually, the award received from the worker’s compensation claim is comparatively lower than the expected award in a personal injury lawsuit. However, every state has different standards of workers compensation, but if the plaintiff was not disfigured by the burns or didn’t have to undergo any major surgery, then the compensatory payment will unequivocally be low.
For instance, a worker who suffers second or third degree burns on the leg and is left with some minor scarring, but he’s still in good shape—not disfigured or disabled, will roughly be receiving $40, 000 or less as a compensatory award.
Examples of burn injury awards in the recent past
Product liability Settlements
. – Not long ago, a patient who was admitted in a renowned hospital got burnt when his bed suddenly caught fire. As a compensatory settlement, the bed manufacturer awarded the patient $1000, 000.
. – A plaintiff who recently got third degree burns and a permanent scarring on her waist after wearing a highly flammable skirt was awarded $4, 000,000 by the jury.
Gross negligence settlements
. – A popular hotel ran scalding hot water into a bathtub. Without any knowledge, an already-disabled-plaintiff lowered himself into the bathtub and ended up getting second degree burns. The hotel had to pay him $275, 000.
. – In another famed case, a woman received $640, 000 from McDonald’s after she suffered 3rd degree burns from drinking super-hot coffee she was served at the hotel.
Hiring A Lawyer For A Burn Injury Claim
We have 18 offices in Massachusetts and Rhode Island so you can easily schedule your first meeting with us. Let us help you with your burn injury claim by contacting us at (800)-200-7752 or fill out our contact form.