Burn Injuries FAQ

Below we have provided a list of questions that burn injury victims often have. If this list doesn’t answer your questions or if you decide that you need an attorney to help with your case, please feel free to contact us and we will get you the help and answers you need.

What should I do immediately after being burned?

This depends on the severity of the burn and the conditions surrounding the incident. First, make sure that you are safely away from potential harm. Second, assess whether the burn is life threatening, needing care but not life threatening , or minor. If it is a minor first-degree burn that covers very little surface area, cold water and a non-adhesive bandage may be enough. If it needs medical care because it covers a large surface area and/or is a second degree burn, then do what you can to relieve the pain for now (i.e. running the burn under cold water) and make your way to a doctor as soon as you can. If the burn is a third-degree burn and/or covers a large surface area, call 911 immediately. How you deal with the burn also depends on how it happens, e.g. fire, chemicals, hot liquids, electricity, etc. You should consult a medical professional with questions for specific types of burns.

How should I report a burn injury?

If the burn is a result of a fire, you should contact the local fire department. Even if the fire is out, the fire department can assess the damage, check to see if there is a risk of the fire starting again, and determine the cause of the fire; they also know how to treat burns. If there is a fire in the work place, gather as much information as you can and report the incident to OSHA or another regulating body.

Who’s responsible for a fire or burn injury?

  1. The driver who caused the car crash and resulting fire
  2. In residential fires, the landlord or property owner
  3. A business owner who failed to adhere to fire codes or safety guidelines
  4. Any individual whose negligence results in an injury 

Is my burn bad enough to warrant seeing a doctor?

In cases where the burn is a first-degree burn with a small coverage area, you should be fine with following the basic treatment guidelines we provided on our First-Degree Burns page. If the burn covers a large area or if it is a severe second or third-degree burn, the best thing to do is to see a doctor as soon as possible. This will help to prevent or minimize permanent damage or scarring and can save the victim’s life in serious cases.

What are ways I can prevent burn injuries?

The CDC provides the following guidelines:

  1. Never leave food unattended on a stove.
  2. Keep cooking areas free of flammable objects
  3. Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose fitting sleeves around open flames
  4. Never smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended
  5. Do not empty smoldering ashes in a trashcan and keep ashtrays away from upholstered furniture and curtains
  6. Never place portable space heaters near flammable materials (such as drapery)
  7. Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  8. Install smoke alarms on every floor of the home, including the basement, and particularly near rooms in which people sleep.

Other tips

  1. Do not play with gasoline or leave flammable chemicals, cleaners, or anything with a warning label regarding flammability near open flames or areas of high heat.
  2. Do not handle chemicals without taking proper safety precautions.
  3. Leave your vehicle as soon as possible after a crash.

Will insurance cover my medical costs?

This depends on the at-fault party’s insurance policy, your insurance policy, and the extent of the burn damage. First refer to the “Who is Responsible” question above to decide whose insurance will cover the majority of costs. It may be covered by homeowner’s insurance, the business owner’s insurance, or insurance covering the faulty equipment that caused the burn. One insurance company or both may offer up an initial settlement, but do not accept right away; the best thing to do is consult a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in these cases. She or he will know how to answer all your questions and help you get what you need to recover and lead a normal life.

What are the average medical costs for burn injuries?

table NCBI has provided a cost analysis of burn injuries that is represented in the table on the right. While the cost is hard to estimate because of varying circumstances, different burn types and followup treatments, this table will give you a general idea of cost.

What kind of evidence do I need to make a burn injury insurance claim?

You need all of the evidence that you can possibly gather. Take pictures of all of the burned areas as soon as possible. You will also want pictures of any faulty equipment that you suspect caused the accident and you will want to document exactly what happened to cause the accident. You will also need your doctor’s notes and records of any medical appointments and procedures that you have done. The best way to know what you need is to talk to an attorney first. At Christensen & Hymas, we will gather the evidence for you and make sure that your doctor records everything that the insurance claim will require.

When does my burn injury warrant hiring an attorney?

Burn injuries are not only painful, but they can leave you with a large amount of medical bills. Once you decide who is at fault and how much your insurance companies will cover, then you need to ask yourself if that will be enough to fully cover all of your medical bills and follow-up appointments. In a simple case, you may not need a lawyer. However, if you are at all unsure of your rights, how much you should qualify for, or your insurance company isn’t willing to help you as much as they should, then you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to walk you through the claims process and work with the insurance company to insure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

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Personally reviewed by Attorney Ken Christensen


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