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Burn Accidents in Washington State

Burns are one of the most serious and painful types of injuries you can suffer. If another person’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in your burn injuries, you may be able to recover money to pay for your medical bills and other complications.

Damages for Burn Injuries

Serious burn injuries involve extensive medical care and recovery time. Lifelong adverse effects are common. If someone else was negligent and caused your burns, your compensation may include payments for:

  • High-cost medical treatment
  • Extended hospitalization
  • Infection and complications
  • Repeat hospitalizations
  • Extensive rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Psychological and emotional scars for life
  • Impact on quality of life

Calculating damages for burn injuries and getting paid a fair amount requires a lot of work and expertise. Burn cases are complex, because you need to predict with some accuracy future expenses and the value of what you have lost.

Types of Burn Accidents

Burn injuries can result from many different types of accidents, including:

  • Vehicle crashes
  • Defective products
  • Construction accidents
  • Electrical accidents
  • Home and apartment building fires
  • Commercial building fires (nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, etc.)
  • Outdoor fires
  • Fire pits
  • Electrical cords
  • Scald injuries from hot water and other liquids
  • Chemical exposure
  • On the job injuries

Burn accidents don’t just happen. Often the negligence of a company or person is to blame. The fault may not be obvious. For example:

  • In a commercial or apartment building fires, a landlord’s or property owner’s failure to maintain the property or provide safe fire exits can be a fault.
  • A burn from a product can be the basis for a defective product case or another type of negligence.
  • A contractor’s negligence in electrical work can cause a home fire.
  • An employer’s failure to maintain a safe workplace can cause workplace burn injuries.

Severity of Burn Injuries

The severity of burn injuries is classified by degrees, according to the depth into the skin and body tissues. First-degree burns are the least serious, fourth degree the most serious.

  • First Degree Burns: Superficial; affect only the surface of the skin; may result in redness, swelling, mild or moderate pain; minimal or no long-term damage.
  • Second Degree Burns: Partial thickness burns; damage to surface and underlying dermal layer; significant pain; swelling, redness, blistering, and infection; may require a skin graft.
  • Third Degree Burns: Full thickness burns; destruction of epidermis, dermis, and possibly subcutaneous tissue; white or charred appearance; extremely painful. Results in permanent damage.
  • Fourth Degree Burns: Attributes of third degree burns with additional damage to underlying bones, muscles, and tendons; destruction of nerve endings.

Any burn higher than a first-degree burn can cause substantial damage and pain, necessitating extensive medical treatment and hospitalization. As the classification of a burn increases, the consequences and lifelong impacts also increase. Be sure you get paid for all you have lost.

Contributory Fault in Burn Accident Cases

In Washington, contributory fault, also called contributory negligence, can reduce the amount of money you receive in any personal injury case, including a burn accident case. This rule is set by statute in RCW 4.22.005. It is often referred to as comparative negligence. The law provides:

In an action based on fault seeking to recover damages for injury or death to person or harm to property, any contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages for an injury attributable to the claimant's contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.

RCW 4.22.015 defines fault. This definition applies to both fault of the person causing the accident and contributory fault of the injured person.

Fault includes acts or omissions, including misuse of a product, that are in any measure negligent or reckless toward the person or property of the actor or others. The term also includes breach of warranty, unreasonable assumption of risk, unreasonable failure to avoid an injury, and failure to mitigate damages.

In other words, if contributory fault by the injured victim is proven, compensation is reduced by the same percentage as the percentage of fault. In a trial, the judge or jury determines the percent of fault. In a settlement negotiation, the attorneys for the parties consider and argue over contributory fault in determining the amount of compensation.

If You Suffered a Burn Injury In or Around Seattle

If you’ve suffered a serious burn injury, the first priority is getting medical treatment. Delaying treatment for a burn can result in significant complications, including infection.

If someone else caused your injury intentionally or negligently, you may have a legal action for your injuries. To recover compensation, it must be shown that:

  • You were injured in an accident
  • Another person or company had a duty that was breached (fault)
  • The breach of duty (negligence) caused your injuries (causation)
  • You have measurable injuries (damages)
  • Your legal case is filed before the time limit of the applicable statute of limitations (SOL) expires

You would be wise to use an attorney to talk with an insurance company representative about your burn injuries. The insurance company’s only goal is to pay you as little as possible. They will try to get you to take some of the blame for the accident by admitting fault. Your lawyer can keep this from happening.

You won't pay anything to talk with us about your burn case. We have information that can help.

Serious Burn Injuries are Worth More with a Lawyer.

  • Not because lawyers are cheap, but rather because insurance companies are cheap and don't want to pay you anything.
  • Most a good recovery is worth more than no recovery at all.
  • Contingent fees make getting a good lawyer possible.

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