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Burn injuries can lead to short and long-term physical and emotional pain. You may need medical treatment for months or longer while also dealing with lost work, mounting medical bills, and the strain on your family.
You are entitled to burn injury compensation if someone else's actions caused your burns. You can get the money you deserve with a legal team experienced in burn injury settlements.
Determining Settlement Amounts for Burn Injury Victims
Coming to a settlement amount after suffering a burn injury can be challenging. Depending on the circumstances that led to your injury, you may be eligible for compensation from one or more sources. Common causes of burn injuries include motor vehicle accidents, defective products, electrical accidents, home fires, and workplace accidents.
Your attorney can help you figure out who owes you and notify those people of your intention to seek compensation. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court, so it is critical to have a solid, experienced legal team working on your behalf from the very beginning of the process.
How Settlement Calculations Work
Several factors will play into the settlement calculations used by your lawyers and the potential defendant's insurance company.
Size and Severity of Burns
How badly you are burned, where you are burned, and over what percentage of your body those burns are will all play a part in the damages you can receive in a burn settlement. Doctors classify burns according to how deeply they penetrate your skin.
Burn types include:
- First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin (epidermis).
- Second-degree burns affect the outer layer and part of the lower layer of skin (dermis).
- Third-degree burns destroy the outer and lower layer of the skin. They may go into the inner layer, called subcutaneous tissue.
- Fourth-degree burns go through all skin and underlying tissue layers and may go down to the muscle and bone.
Both sides in a burn injury settlement will consider various economic factors related to your potential compensation. Your Richmond personal injury attorney can help you collect the documentation you need to get a settlement that covers your current and future needs.
Economic damages for a burn victim can include:
- Medical expenses related to your burn injury
- Current and future lost wages
- Reduced overall earning capacity due to ongoing care or disability
- Disability accommodations for your home or vehicle
Non-economic damages are related to your pain and suffering. During a burn injury lawsuit, a judge may use Virginia Model Jury Instructions (No. 9.000) to tell the jury what damages to consider. These instructions serve as a guide for what your attorney can push for in settlement negotiations.
Non-economic damages can include physical and emotional pain both now and in the future. It can also include disfigurement, such as scarring, and the humiliation or embarrassment that may bring on. Your attorney can also fight for compensation for the inconvenience caused by your injuries in the past and what might be reasonably expected in the future.
The Average Settlement in a Burn Injury Lawsuit
It is difficult to put an exact number on the average amount for a burn injury settlement. The severity of your burns and how much they affect your finances and home life will all play significant roles. The insurance company and your lawyer may use the multiplier method to determine settlement amounts. Once there is agreement on the economic costs of your burn injuries, that amount is multiplied by a number, usually ranging from 1.5 to 5, to determine your level of pain and suffering.
The strength of your legal team is crucial to this part of the negotiations. Insurance companies will try to minimize your damages in any way possible, including your pain and suffering. They might suggest a multiplier of two even though you have a serious long-term burn injury. An experienced attorney will fight for compensation more closely aligned with your burn injuries' actual physical pain and emotional impact.
Do Punitive Damages Ever Come Into Play?
Proving that the other person or entity was at fault for your burn injuries isn't enough to win punitive damages. Virginia courts have ruled that the other party's actions must be malicious and show a conscious disregard for others to merit punitive damages. These damages are meant to serve as an example so that other people do not act similarly. Only the most wanton and willful act will reach the level required by the courts.
An experienced burn injury attorney can help you determine whether the other party acted in a way that merits these extra damages. If you are eligible to receive punitive damages, Virginia caps the amount at $350,000.
The Role of Negligence in Burn Injury Cases
Most states use a version of comparative negligence in personal injury cases. If damages totaled $100,000 and you were 10% responsible, you could still recover $90,000.
But Virginia is one of only a few states with a pure contributory negligence standard. This means the other party must be found 100% at fault for your injuries for you to recover damages. You would not receive compensation even if you are just 10% at fault.
Because of this high standard, the other party and their insurance company will do everything they can to show that your burn injuries are at least partly your fault. Never talk to them without your lawyer present. And do not post on social media about the incident, as they will try to use your words against you.
Choose a Richmond burn injury attorney with a history of getting results by standing up to insurance companies and proving that their clients did not contribute to their injuries.
Our Burn Injury Lawyers Are Here To Help
Receiving compensation for burn injury claims in Virginia often comes down to fighting over who was at fault. You should not take on this fight alone, especially when you are already dealing with the economic and emotional pain from your burn injuries.
Start the battle to get the compensation you deserve by contacting the Commonwealth Law Group. We offer a free consultation to determine the types and amounts of damages you are due and who is responsible for paying.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.