burn injuries

Exposure to heat, chemicals, electricity, or some types of radiation can cause tissue damage. If this type of damage causes tissue death, the injury is considered a burn injury. Burn injuries are far more common than most people realize and they are known to be a major cause of unintentional injuries that may even lead to death. Data from the CDC shows that about 1.1 million Americans suffer burn injuries that are serious enough to warrant medical attention.

The severity of a burn injury depends on the type of burn sustained as well as how large or small an area has been affected by the burn. Burn injuries can be very painful and more serious injuries may often cause disfigurement or even permanent disability. If you have sustained burn injuries that have been caused due to the negligence of someone, you may be eligible to claim for damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

What are the Common Causes of Burn Injuries in New York?

Burn injuries are caused when tissue gets exposed to heat or electricity or certain chemicals. These injuries may occur at home, at the workplace or during a road accident. The common causes of such injuries include the following:

  • When you accidentally come into contact with a very hot surface, it can cause contact burns.
  • Direct contact with a flame or fire can lead to flame burns.
  • Coming into contact with steam or liquids at a very high temperature may cause scalds.
  • Accidental contact with electric current can lead to electrical burns.
  • Corrosive materials such as alkalis and concentrated acids can cause chemical burns.
  • If you are caught in an explosion caused by flammable liquids or gas, the heat generated in the explosion causes flash burns. Occasionally, being exposed to an intense light flash may also result in a flash burn.
  • Inhaling irritant vapors or smoke can lead to an inhalation burn.
  • Contact with hot grease may cause grease burns.

All these type of burns may occur during the course of a motor vehicle accident or in hazardous work environments. They may also take place during the course of an explosion or an accident at a construction site. Sometimes, a defective product may lead to a burn injury and in rare cases of medical procedures that involve the use of heat, chemicals or radiation, such injuries may arise due to medical negligence too.

What are the Different Degrees of Burn Injuries?

Based on the severity of the burn and how deeply the skin has been harmed, burn injuries may be categorized into four degrees with first degree burns being the most superficial and fourth-degree burns causing the deepest tissue damage.

First Degree Burns: They are mild because they only affect the outermost skin layer called the epidermis. The skin turns red and painful but then quickly heals after around three to five days. No blisters appear, and no scars are left after the tissue heals completely.

Second Degree Burns: They are deeper than first degree burns and penetrate beyond the epidermis to the lower skin layer called the dermis. The affected area develops swelling, blisters and reddening of the skin. The skin sometimes appears wet or shiny and may thicken. Such burn injuries may lead to scarring or a change in skin color if they have caused deep injury. Healing from a second-degree burn will take a longer time and it may be two to four weeks before the skin grows back and heals. If infection sets in at the affected area, healing will require more time.

Third Degree Burns: These burns are far more severe and along with the dermis and epidermis, the subcutaneous tissue below the skin is also damaged.  The skin takes on a charred, black, dark brown or white, waxy color and turns thick and develops a leathery texture. The nerve endings get damaged and this means there is no sensation of pain in third-degree burns. Due to the extensive skin damage, grafting may be necessary for healing.

Fourth Degree Burns: These are the most intense burns possible that damage not just the skin and nerves but also the tendons and muscles and perhaps even the bone. Severe infections may set in and even the joints may be affected. Fourth-degree burns cause permanent damage that cannot be reversed and the damaged part of the body often has to be amputated.

Landlord Negligence can Lead to Burn Injuries

Landlords are responsible to ensure that the homes they rent out meet the specified laws for fire safety to keep their tenants safe. These regulations provide guidelines for the placement and use of fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinklers, and other fire safety devices.

Landlords must ensure that:

  • Electric wiring on the premises is installed in a safe manner and maintained in a suitable condition.
  • There is a sturdy and safe fire escape provided on their property.
  • Smoke alarms are available on the premises and located at appropriate places.
  • Escape routes in shared areas of premises are kept clear for use in a fire emergency.
  • Fire extinguishers are available on the property and they are regularly serviced and in working condition.

Who is Liable for Your Burn Injury in New York City?

If your landlord has not made arrangements for fire safety in keeping with NYC fire code regulations, they may be held liable for any burn injuries you suffer in a fire on their premises.

If your burn injury has been caused due to the negligence of a landlord who has shirked their responsibility regarding fire safety, you must get in touch with a personal injury lawyer to understand the legal options available to you to claim compensation for the damage you suffered.

Equipment such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are critical to keeping a property safe. Sometimes, despite these products being installed on the premises, they may fail to work as intended in the event of a fire and cause burn injuries that may be fatal or life-threatening. In such cases, it may be possible to hold the manufacturers of these products also liable for your burn injury.

If your burn injury has occurred during the course of a motor accident, anyone who is found to be at-fault for the accident can be held liable for the loss you suffered.

Similarly, any person whose negligence has caused your injury can be considered responsible for it. This may include building owners, manufacturers of defective products, and employers of the negligent person who caused an accident, a government agency that did not perform its maintenance activity or transit companies.

What Damages can You Claim in an NY Burn Injury Case?

Burn injuries of the second and third degree types may cause a lot of pain and suffering and take very long to heal, affecting your ability to work. Injuries to the face can cause disfigurement that may have an adverse impact on your personal and social life. Fourth degree burn injuries may cause such severe damage as to require amputation; in such situations, the accident may leave you disabled for life and incapable of ever working again.

Treatment of burn injuries in New York is quite expensive and besides the initial medical treatment, you may often require physical therapy and rehabilitation or cosmetic surgery to deal with disfigurement issues.

If your burn injury has been caused due to negligence of another party, you can claim compensation for your:

  • Medical expenses
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Lost income or wages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of life enjoyment

In exceptional cases, you may also recover punitive damages if the at-fault party was completely reckless in their behavior, which resulted in your burn injury.

Contact a Competent New York Burn Injury Attorney Today

If you have sustained a burn injury due to another party’s negligence, make sure you first get medical treatment to deal with the wound. Avoid diagnosing the burn degree on your own and trying to treat it yourself. Visit a doctor and have the injury assessed and treated in an appropriate manner.

Next, consult an experienced and skilled NYC burn injury lawyer who can explain if you are entitled to compensation for your injury. Depending on where you were injured – at work, at a construction site, at home, in a road accident – there will be different legal options available to you.

Our personal injury attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have decades of experience representing burn injury victims and we have ensured our clients secure the maximum compensation to which they are entitled under New York law.

We can help you recover damages for not just the present expenditure you have incurred but also that which you anticipate for the future considering the disruption caused by your injury. Using inputs from medical and economic experts and under the guidance of life-care planners, our compassionate burn injury lawyers can help you plan for future expenses.

Call us at 212-344-1000 today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorneys. We will help you begin the legal process necessary to claim the compensation you rightfully deserve.


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