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Your Rights after a Burn Injury

One civilian fire death occurs every 2 hours and 41 minutes.

Burn injuries can be disfiguring. Burn injuries cause both physical and emotional damage. The pain of burn injuries is intense; it can last for years. What are your rights after a Burn Injury? The answer may depend upon where you were when you were injured and the nature of the burn injury.Burn Injury and Legal Rights - Altizer Law


The American Burn Association has reported that in 2016 486,000 burn injuries received medical treatment in hospitals, hospital emergency rooms, burn centers. This estimate does not include burns that were treated at hospital clinics, community health centers, or private medical offices. The American Burn Association also reports 3,275 deaths in 2016 due to fires and smoke inhalation:

  • 2,745 deaths from residential fires
  • 310 fatalities from vehicle crash fires
  • 220 from other sources.

The Association also reported these statistics for 2005 – 2014 Burn Admissions to Burn Centers:

  • Survival Rate: 96.8%
  • Gender: 68% Male; 32% Female
  • Admission Cause: 43% fire/flame; 34% scald; 9% contact; 4% electrical; 3% chemical, 7% other
  • Place of Occurrence: 73% home; 8% occupational, 5% street/highway; 5% recreation/sport; 9% other

Classifying and Treating Burns

Burns are classified on a four-level classification based upon the severity of the burn and the cause of the burn. These factors reflect an assessment of the type and amount of tissue damage sustained by the patient. First degree burns affect only the outer layer of skin; fourth degree burns may involve muscle, nerve and bone damage. Burns are arguably the most costly injuries to treat due to the nature of the treatment required and the typical pace of healing.

Treatment of serious burns is a long and slow process, extending over several months to years. Treatment may require surgery, extensive therapy, counseling, and rehabilitation. Due to the damage to the layers of skin, ongoing treatment and management are vital to prevent and respond to infection. Other possible complications of severe burns may include formation of blood clots and mobility issues, as well. Physical therapy and psychological therapy may be necessary for more severe burns.

Legal Rights of Burn Patients

If you did not cause or contribute to the cause of your burn injury, you may have the legal right to seek justice and full and fair financial compensation. These types of burns are often attributed to use of damaged or defective products, property that is inadequately maintained, vehicle crash, or the negligence or wrongdoing of another person.

Compensation may be awarded for

  • Disability and physical impairment
  • Pain and mental suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Payment of medical costs (in severe cases, past, present, and future costs)
  • Lost wages
  • Vocational training for another job
  • Compensation for effects of the injury and treatment upon family relationships.
  • Costs of cosmetic or reconstructive surgery

You Need an Experienced Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to a burn that was not your fault, you have the right under Virginia law to seek justice and financial compensation. Call the experienced attorneys of Altizer Law, P. C. to help you assess the issues of injury and liability.