New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Personal Injury Laws for Damage Settlements in Burn Injuries
Burn injuries, for the permanent nature of damages that it leaves on a burn victim, attracts more severe damages, when compared to other extreme types of personal injuries. Severe burn injury victims endure a life of “living dead,” fighting deep social stigma and isolation for the rest of their lives. Thus, the negligent parties responsible for sever burn injuries are generally treated as “highly negligent,” parties, and therefore worthy of some excessive punishment.
Punitive damages for perpetrators of burn incidents
Generally, in a severe in a fire incident, whether the fire was caused intentionally or inadvertently, the guilt of the parties involved and the extent of the damages are first ascertained in the following manner:
- The number of casualties
- The number of severely burnt but living victims
- The extent of property damages
- The loss of livelihoods or future earning potentials
- Physical disfigurements, loss of body parts
- Indirect damage to families of victims
Once the extent of the damages due to burn injuries has been determined, the jurors set punitive damages proportionate to the magnitude of the crime. The punitive damages are designed to punish the guilty, so it is fair that the punitive damages are determined only after determining the magnitude of the crime. For example, if a defendant is very wealthy, and the extent of burn injury damage is also very severe, then the jury may force the defendant to pay higher punitive damages as a penalty.
A salient example of a gross negligence in burn incident would be where an electrical product manufacturer allows a defective product to go out into the market without adequate tests, and cause widespread fire incidents in a particular US location. In this situation, the product manufacturer or “defendant” is usually deemed “grossly negligent” and worthy of harsh punishment.
Damage settlements in burn injuries: pain and suffering
Burn injuries, can be exceptionally damaging as they cause extreme physical and emotional distress and suffering, which may be life-long. Thus, a defendant is expected to compensate for the present physical and emotional trauma and also the future physical and emotional distress burns are likely to cause in the future. For example, if burn injuries have led to facial disfigurement, then the defendant is likely to pay very high value damages to the plaintiff.
Damage claims for service-related burns
Here are some examples where service providers were found guilty of causing burns to their clients:
- A hotel was sued for providing scalding hot water to a disabled guest in the shower and causing second degree burns. The damage settlement in this case was $275,000.
- McDonald’s served hot coffee to a woman which caused third-degree burns. In this high-profile case, the damage settlement was $640,000. Though this infuriated a lot of people in terms of out of control lawsuits and lack of personal responsibility. This woman spilled the coffee on herself.
These are extreme cases!
Thus it is evident that service providers have the same duty towards its clients as product manufacturers to in terms of safety and security but personal responsibility should always come into play.
Damage settlements in burn injuries suffered in workplaces
The worker’s compensation claims are typically buried in complex rules and regulations, so it is not always easy for workers receiving burns in workplaces to claim worker’s compensations. Even if an employee suffers severe burn injuries:
- The worker’s compensation claims vary from state to state.
- The worker’s compensation claims may force a plaintiff to give up regular income for a certain period.
- Worker’s compensation settlements are usually not very high.
So in case of employees receiving severe burn injuries in workplaces, it is always better to consult with a skilled personal injury attorney in New York to determine how to file a case against the employer.
If you have suffered severe burn injuries and wish to file a personal injury case against the guilty party, then you have the option of talking to the personal injury Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280. The first meeting is on the house.
We know how to win cases. We know what a viable case is. Give us a call let us hear what you have to say.