Burn injuries can be one of the most excruciating pains a person can go through. In almost all situations of a burn injury, it is caused by accident. Getting a skilled Tacoma burn injury lawyer can get clients the fair settlements they deserve, especially if negligence is involved. The attorney will prove liability by proving negligence in the matter.
If all fingers point toward the defendant with negligence beyond a shadow of a doubt, insurance companies may bow down and pay up. When this happens, all that is needed for collection is the compensation for prescriptions, pain and suffering, medical bills, and any lost wages. Should the case go to court, the gloves will get thrown off, and punitive compensation and other costs like court costs and attorney fees will be added to the figures. For these reasons, most cases seldom make it to the courtrooms, but it does happen.
What If the Insurance Company Disputes the Claims?
Here is where things get interesting. When insurance companies have to pay claims, they lose a substantial amount of profits. If the insurance company sees a glimmer of hope they can wiggle their way out of the situation, they will fight tooth and nail to get out of paying a dime or only pay the bare minimum.
The victim’s attorney will take the reins and fight to prove the defendant is the cause of negligence through unsafe working environments or other conditions. When the evidence backs up the victim’s claim, the attorney will fight the insurance company for a fair settlement from both the insurance company and the workplace. Below are the four elements the attorney will focus on to prove negligence.
- Duty of care
- Violations of duty of care
- What caused the injuries to the victim
- Suffered damages
Duty of Care
Inside every workplace or business, the owners, managers, supervisors, and safety personnel owes the worker a duty of care. The lawyer would look into areas of the environment if it was safe. The conditions of the working environment must protect everyone in the operational facility from danger. If these conditions are not met, and anyone becomes injured by fires or explosions, it goes into the next category, a duty of care violation.
Violation of Duty of Care
This part is where the attorney and client work closely together in gathering all the information as to why the injury happened. It shows how the defendant did not work to keep the people safe, whether it is employees, staff, or customers. The violations that caused the injuries are pointed out, which leads to the next phase of proving negligence.
Cause of Injuries
Here is where the victim explains the story about what happened from their perspective and in their own words. The victim will explain how they received the injuries from the accident and not from somewhere else. The lawyer will take the story and work on it to present it in both the negotiations and, if it goes to court, in litigation. The attorney will then assess the damages.
This is when everything is tallied up, and the big picture of litigation possibilities is painted. Everything is put together, from the victim’s story to the dangerous hazards at the workplace down to the injuries and losses. All financial losses due to being out of work for the injury are figured from back pay to future payments. If the victim cannot work again, that goes into the figures as well. Medical and prescription costs are also included.
Breaking Down the Medical Costs
If the victim sustained third-degree burns, which is the worst form, medical procedures might occur for the rest of the victim’s life. This is where a substantial amount of compensation will most likely be awarded to the victim, and these are the cases that end up in court due to the high demanded cost. The medical expense that is factored in begins from the time the victim is picked up by the paramedics until they are no less than 100 percent cleared to go back to work. Below are the medical expenses covered in the case.
- Ambulance cost
- Cleaning and dressing the wounds
- Skin grafts
- Plastic Surgery
- Physical therapy
- In-home care
The Long-Term Care
The attorney will have to prove their client is no longer able to function at 100 percent. It could take months to years of skin grafts and plastic surgery. Many will have scars and deformities for the remainder of their lives. Those who have in-home care along with physical therapy will have the finances put into the figures. Some may have spouses or family members to take care of them, in which they will get compensated as well for caring for the victim.
How much compensation the attorney and the client agree on depends on the extent of the injuries and the time frame of recovery. For lesser burns, it could be anywhere in the thousands. Moderate to severe burns may see as high compensation in the hundreds of thousands. The worst patients with life-long injuries could gain in the millions. Every litigation has its own story and is different from every other case.
Final Words on Proving the Case
Along with pain and suffering, punitive compensation may be in order. Punitive payment can be considered a hefty fine or penalty for violations of the law. It is a punishment to those negligent, and payments can be in the hundreds of thousands to millions, depending on the company’s size.
Every workplace must follow OSHA laws regarding safety, primarily if they deal with chemicals and other hazardous materials. If the case lands up in court, a judge or jury may have no problems granting punitive compensation when OSHA laws have been broken. It shows a lack of compassion from the workplace when dangerous facilities do not care about the safety of their workers. In the pocketbooks, the courts will hit both the company and their liability insurance companies where it hurts the most.
The main topic the lawyer will feed the courtroom is dealing with negligence. It is a word that tugs at judges and juries. A good burn injury lawyer will have no problem proving their client’s case, and the term “negligence” speaks almost for itself. Unfortunately, the ones who suffer the most are the victims and their families. Receiving the compensation helps relieve the financial stress of the bills, but how many lives change after a burn injury is what every case is built on. The judge and jury have the final say.