How Much Compensation Can I Expect for a Severe Burn Injury in Massachusetts?

February 21, 2022

Have you suffered a severe burn injury in Massachusetts? Do you want to find out what your compensation claim is worth? Find all the information you need here.

There are numerous ways you can suffer severe burn injuries in Massachusetts. It could be a workplace accident, automobile crash, house fire, defective products, etc. While sustaining a burn injury can be devastating, you can get financial relief if someone else’s negligence caused them. Your Massachusetts burn injury lawyers will provide you with the best legal options for your unique situation.

The American Burn Association (ABA) reports that in the USA, 450,000 serious burn injuries require medical treatment annually. While minor burns from everyday activities can heal easily, severe burns are traumatic injuries and may lead to permanent disfigurement. In the worst-case scenarios, they can lead to death.  

These burn injuries can be expensive to treat, especially when they lead to severe complications. Therefore, as a burn victim, you may wonder if your compensatory damages will be enough to foot the mounting expenses. 

We’ll explain the factors that affect the value of your Massachusetts burn injury compensation in this article. You’ll also know how to handle a burn accident to increase your chances of high settlement sums. Let’s get started.

Common Types and Degrees of Burn Injuries in Massachusetts 

There are several types of burn injuries, as there are degree burns. The most common types of burn injuries include:

  • Electrical Burns 

Electrical burns usually happen when the injury victims contact electric current from electrical appliances or electrical outlets. When electric current flows through your body, say, through electrical wiring, it can damage your organs and tissues. This type of burn usually happens in industrial settings where there’s a high possibility of working with high-voltage wires.

  • Thermal Burns 

A thermal burn is due to injuries from contact with numerous heat sources that make your skin cells die quickly. Such heat sources may include hot water or scalding liquids, hot metals, steam, and flames. These types of burn injuries are among the most common burns and typically happen at work or home.

  • Chemical Burns

A chemical burn results from contact with corrosive and dangerous substances like strong solvents, detergents, and acids. Burns in this category don’t require heat and may or may not be painful. However, they typically cause severe skin damage to the victim. The more concentrated the dangerous chemicals are, the more severe the burn injuries.

  • Inhalation Burns 

While many burns occur through bodily contact, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, injury victims may sustain burn injuries by inhaling specific substances like harmful gases and smoke. Inhalation burns may not result in visible external burns, but they can result in devastating injuries. Sometimes, this type of burn will result in loss of consciousness and facial injuries.

  • Radiation Burns 

Radiation burns can be due to workplace exposures to any form of radiation. They may also come from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Radiation therapy used for treating cancer patients may also result in radiation burns. This type of burn injury is the most deadly, especially from exposure to gamma rays.

  • Friction Burns 

You can sustain friction burns when you rub your skin against a hard surface or object. This type of burn injury will typically rip the victim’s layers of skin off. Motorcycle and bicycle riders are prone to friction burns in the form of road rash after an accident. 

Medical experts also classify burn severity in degrees:

  • First-Degree Burn 

This type of injury is typically superficial burns that only affect the top or outer layer of skin (epidermis). While this minor burn may be painful, they don’t require medical care and hardly result in long-term trauma. Sunburns are among the most common examples of first-degree burns.

  • Second-Degree Burn 

Second-degree burns affect both the outer layer of the skin and the dermis layer. As such, they’re more severe than first-degree burns.

Common symptoms of second-degree burn injuries include pain, permanent scarring, skin discoloration, swelling, and blisters. Second-degree burns require skin grafts in severe cases.

  • Third-Degree Burn 

Burn injuries start to get more serious with third-degree burns. This injury affects all the layers of skin and causes extensive damage, so much that it destroys the nerves. As such, burn injury victims in this category may not experience pain. 

Third-degree burns cause permanent scarring (keloid scars) and leathery skin. They require urgent medical attention from experts in burn centers.

  • Fourth-Degree Burn

Fourth-degree burns are deep burns and are the most severe and deadly classification of burn injuries. Apart from destroying all the skin layers, they also affect the victim’s tendons, muscles, etc. They may also cause other severe health complications and infections. Like third-degree burns, fourth-degree burn victims must receive urgent medical care from qualified and expert health care providers.

A severe burn injury can cause other devastating complications, including the following:

  • Nerve Damage 

A severe burn injury can result in nerve damage which affects the brain’s functioning. The most common types of nerve damage from burn wounds are peripheral neuropathy and nerve compression. Symptoms of this type of injury include muscle weakness, numbness, buzzing sensations, etc.

  • Internal Organ Damage 

Burn injuries can cause organ dysfunction and internal bleeding which can be extremely deadly. Internal organ damage can also induce shock in the victim.

  • Soft Tissue Damage 

Severe soft tissue damage is one of the most common health complications in burn injury cases. It refers to injuries involving the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. They may be very painful and cause limited range of motion and swelling. This condition can be life-threatening.

  • Broken Bones and Amputations

Severe burn injuries can cause serious bone and joint complications. Fourth-degree burns can result in amputation. 

  • Hypothermia and Hypovolemia 

Hypothermia is a condition where the patient’s body temperature is dangerously low. In Hypovolemia (or volume depletion), there’s excess loss of body fluid that causes low blood volume. It can lead to hypovolemic shock. Both hypothermia and hypovolemia are life-threatening conditions.

  • Infections 

Deep burns expose injury victims to bacterial infections and may affect the bloodstream. This can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition that occurs as a result of the body’s response to infections.

How Much Compensatory Damages Will I Get for My Burn Injuries in Massachusetts?

Under Massachusetts compensation laws, you can get medical bills damages, lost wages, property damage, etc., when someone causes your burns. You can also get compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and punitive damages in a lawsuit. 

However, like all other personal injury cases, there’s no fixed compensation for burn injury victims. Monetary damages in a compensation claim or lawsuit will typically depend on the following factors:

  • Circumstances Surrounding the Burn Injuries 

Work-related injuries undergo a separate compensation process from other personal injury cases. This difference can affect the amount the injured person can get as damages. How the burn accident happened can also influence the compensation a victim will receive. For example, if the burn injury was due to someone’s malicious conduct, the victim’s damages may increase. 

The circumstances surrounding the burn injuries may also give a victim multiple avenues for compensation. For example, an employee can get workers’ compensation from their employer and also pursue a third-party liability suit.

  • The Severity of the Burn Injury or Level of Damage 

The more severe a burn injury is, the higher the victim’s chance of securing huge compensation. As such, fourth-degree burn injury victims will get more damage than second-degree burns victims. The part of the body the burn occurs may be a consideration in determining compensation sums. Burn injuries on the face usually carry higher damages than some other body parts.

  • Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages refer to compensation that punishes the defendant and serves as a warning to others. This type of compensation isn’t available to every burn victim. It’s usually awarded to victims whose injuries were due to another person’s gross negligence. Having punitive damages will significantly increase your compensation sums.

  • Comparative Fault 

You may also be at fault for your injuries in some way. If that’s your case, your damages will reduce in proportion to your degree of fault. It worsens when your degree of fault for your burns is more than 50%. In such cases, you wouldn’t be entitled to any compensation.

  • Whether the Victim Will Recover Fully

The victim’s post-injury life may also determine the number of damages in a compensation claim. Burn injuries that permanently alter the claimant’s life will mandate huge compensation.

What To Do After Sustaining a Severe Burn Injury in Massachusetts 

What you do after sustaining a burn injury can significantly impact the outcome of your compensation claim. As such, you mustn’t do anything to jeopardize your claim’s success. 

Don’t attempt to treat a severe burn injury at home. Instead, seek urgent medical attention. That’s because burn injuries can quickly result in health complications that require expert care.

Refusal to visit your doctor in such a condition can cause devastating consequences, including death. Besides saving your life, visiting a burn center will provide favorable evidence for your claims through your medical records.

Another thing to do after a burn accident is to photograph your injuries and the accident scene, if possible. If you can’t take videos and pictures yourself, get someone to do it. That will help you to prove the extent of your injuries. Most importantly, don’t forget to contact your burn injury lawyer as they can make the difference in your case.

Contact Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers Now!

Have you sustained a severe burn injury as a result of someone’s carelessness? Then you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. Severe burn injuries require urgent medical attention and are money-sapping. Apart from the financial costs, you also deserve compensation for emotional pain and other psychological implications of burn injuries.

Unfortunately, getting damages in Massachusetts isn’t an easy process. The insurance companies are typically out there to frustrate your claims, and filing a lawsuit can be time-consuming. In these cases, you should consider hiring an experienced attorney to navigate the process seamlessly.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers at Michael Kelly are experts in burn injury law. Our legal team will work hard to recover fair compensation for your injuries if you hire us to represent you. We also work on a contingency fee basis. Contact our law firm today for a free case review.

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.