The American Bar Association reports that approximately 1.1 million people suffer burn injuries requiring hospitalization each year in the United States alone. Approximately 45,000 of the injuries require hospitalization and 4,500 die to their injuries. Burn injuries can cause a host of complications, including infection and the requirement for skin grafts and other surgeries. Burn injuries become even more complicated during court proceedings if product liability is involved.
Following are some of the important components of personal injury cases involving burn injuries:
1)Issues of liability: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence resulted in the injuries. In some situations, the defendant’s negligence can be proven even if the plaintiff contributed to the incident. For example, a recent case involved a father lighting a candle and falling asleep in a bedroom. The home caught fire and the father sustained burn injuries. Despite his contribution to the incident, it was later found that the fire alarm inside the home was defective.
2)Product liability: In many cases, fires start as the result of defective household appliances. Manufacturers and sellers have a legally binding duty to protect consumers. In these cases, the plaintiff must prove the defective product caused the incident that created the fire and resulted in the burns. The plaintiff can sue the manufacturer or seller for failing to provide accurate instruction, failing to test the product prior to selling, or failure to anticipate how consumers may use the product. Under special circumstances, the plaintiff may file a claim for punitive damages.
3)Compensation: Burn victims live with a number of current medical concerns as well as future possibilities. Burns can lead to disfigurement, amputation, dehydration or internal organ damage. In addition, burns can require long-term medical care, surgeries and rehabilitative services. As a result, plaintiffs must demonstrate the level of care they will require now and in the future.
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