Burns are among the most painful types of injuries. They can be caused by many different circumstances, including boiling water, fires, chemicals, electrical equipment, and explosions. For example, if you are near flammable chemicals on a jobsite, and someone who works for a different employer makes a mistake, you unfortunately might suffer severe burns. Similarly, if an appliance is defectively designed, you could suffer significant burns. Burns can require extensive and costly treatment over a period of years, due to scarring and disfigurement. People who suffer burn injuries due to the fault of someone else may have a basis to bring a personal injury lawsuit for damages. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, our Syracuse burn injury lawyers can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your accident and advocate for you if you bring a claim.Seeking Compensation for Burn Injuries
There are four degrees of burns, with first-degree burns being the least serious and fourth-degree burns being the most serious because they affect the bones and tendons of the body. While a first-degree burn may heal quickly, the other kinds of burns may leave lasting scars and disfigurement, as well as the emotional harm that attends them.
Most often, you can recover damages for burn injuries by establishing another individual or entity's negligence. This requires you to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to you, the defendant breached this duty by failing to act carefully, and you were hurt as a result. The defendant's actions must bear a close causal relationship to your burns. Each of these elements must be shown by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that you have enough evidence to establish that it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for your burn injuries.
The specific context in which you suffered the burns can also affect what you need to prove. For example, suppose that you are burned in a fire that occurred on somebody else's property, due to faulty wiring. You may be able to bring a premises liability case against the owner or occupier of the property where the burns were sustained. You will need to show that you were lawfully on the property or, if you were trespassing, that the owner was aware that you were there. Also, you will need to prove that the owner handled a dangerous condition carelessly, and this carelessness caused your burns. A burn injury attorney in Syracuse or Rochester can help gather evidence to prove each of these elements.
Negligence in the context of dangerous property conditions is shown if the owner had actual or constructive notice about the dangerous condition but either failed to repair the condition or failed to provide warnings to visitors about it. Actual notice means that a property owner or occupier literally knew about the dangerous condition. For example, if an apartment building owner knew about faulty wiring but kept putting off repairs until eventually you were hurt in a fire, you would be able to show actual knowledge. Constructive notice means that the owner should have known about a dangerous condition had they been using reasonable care. For example, if a storeowner failed to conduct any inspections of their store for several months, when an inspection would have revealed faulty wiring, you might have a strong claim under a theory of constructive notice.
New York follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that your damages can be reduced by an amount equal to your degree of fault. Suppose, for example, that you are involved in a truck accident in which there is an explosion and you are burned. Later, an investigation discovers that the driver was 75% at fault for running a stop sign at an intersection, and you were 25% at fault for speeding. The damages are $800,000. You would be able to recover $600,000, or 75% of the total.
Damages that you may be able to recover after suffering burn injuries include wage loss, medical bills, vocational rehabilitation, household services, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. You may also be able to recover compensation for future revision surgeries that you need because of serious burns and scarring.Consult an Experienced Burn Injury Lawyer in the Syracuse Area
In New York, you usually have three years from the date of an accident to bring suit for your injuries. However, it can be important to retain an attorney and conduct an investigation into the reasons for the burns right away, since evidence vanishes over time. If you suffer burn injuries as a result of someone else's actions, our law firm may be able to help. Our Syracuse burn injury attorneys represent injured people in Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form if you need to speak with a premises liability attorney or get help with another type of burn injury claim.