Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Sandy Fazili, Esq.
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Rochester Burn Injury Lawyer

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Any type of accident involving fire or explosion can cause serious burn injuries, including car accidents, truck accidents, and construction accidents. Not only are these injuries painful, but they are often traumatizing and can be life-threatening. Victims will often require extensive and ongoing surgeries and medical treatment just to cope with the symptoms. Life is never the same, and King Law understands this. This is why the Rochester burn injury attorney at the firm works hard to make sure you are able to receive full compensation for your injuries.

Request your free case consultation today by calling (585) 270-8882.

How Does New York State Law Define Burn Accident Cases?

Burn accidents are a type of negligence case under New York State Law. A person can therefore make a claim for a burn if a person or business failed to act reasonably and a burn resulted. We have handled burn cases resulting from car accidents, improper use of lasers in medical procedures and restaurant accidents. There seems to be almost no limit on the types of negligence that can lead to burns.

Damages in a Burn Case

Damages in a burn case fall into two categories; pain and suffering and economic loss.

Pain and suffering compensates a burn victim for the pain of the actual burn event as well as pain due to treatment, therapy, surgery and any other pain that was caused by the pain. Emotional pain is more difficult to prove but the anguish that goes along with scarring and permanent disfigurement are also valid claims under the law. One particularly painful surgery that is common in burn cases is skin grafts. It is not uncommon for burn victims to suffer post traumatic stress disorder.

Economic loss is defined as actual economic loss due to the burn. For example economic loss could result if a burn caused a victim to miss time from work. A more extreme example of economic loss would be a model that’s face was burned rendering them unemployable.

Burns injuries can lead to long-term, secondary health concerns, such as:


Respiratory issues

Permanent scarring

Ongoing pain

Psychological trauma

Burns and Personal Injury Claims: Understanding Different Types of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can happen in many different kinds of accidents, and these types of injuries can range in severity. Some burn injuries are relatively minor, while others can be catastrophic. If another party’s negligence resulted in your burn injuries, regardless of the degree or severity of the burn, you should speak with a Rochester personal injury attorney about your options for seeking compensation. It will also be important to learn more about different types of burn injuries and the ways in which healthcare providers classify different burn injuries. The type and classification of the burn injury can be major factors in determining your possible economic losses, as well as the possibility of a non-economic damages award.

To obtain the maximum compensation for a burn injury, you should have an experienced Rochester personal injury lawyer on your side who can show the vast harm that your burn injury has caused—both in terms of your out-of-pocket medical costs and lost wages, and your subjective losses due to pain and disfigurement.

Learning About Different Types of Burn Injuries

The type of burn injury you sustain ultimately may affect the severity of the burn and the type of treatment you require. WebMD provides descriptions of different types of burns you could sustain in motor vehicle collisions, workplace accidents, and injuries caused by defective consumer products. Those types of burns include the following:

  • Thermal burns: These types of burns occur when you touch an object that is extremely hot. When most people think about burn injuries in fires or cooking accidents, for example, the burns they are thinking about are thermal burns. These types of burns cause harm because the hot object “raises the temperature of your skin to the point that your skin cells start dying,” according to WebMD. Thermal burns can result from touching hot metals, flames, steam, and scalding liquids.
  • Friction burns: These types of burns occur whenever “a hard object rubs off some of your skin,” according to WebMD. The injury is both a heat burn and an abrasion, or scrape. These types of burns can be particularly common if you are involved in a motorcycle accident or a bicycle accident.
  • Chemical burns: These types of burns occur when your skin comes into contact with a hazardous chemical. Chemical burns can result from contact with acids, detergents, and other solvents that can cause your skin cells to die. Chemical burns can occur at the workplace if an employee is exposed to toxic or dangerous substances, or even at home if a person uses a consumer product that is defective in its design or manufacture, or in its failure to warn about the possibility of a chemical burn.
  • Electrical burns: These kinds of burns happen when a person comes into contact with an electrical current. These types of burns can affect the skin, but they can also cause serious damage to other parts of your body, as well. Electrical burns can occur in the workplace, in the home while using a defective consumer product, or even in certain types of motor vehicle collisions when electrical poles are involved in the crash.
  • Radiation Burns: These kinds of burns happen when a person comes into contact with a source of radiation. When these injuries occur in accidents, they most frequently happen in the workplace. Radiation burns can also occur in medical settings, and they could result from medical malpractice in some instances.

How Burn Injuries Are Classified: Degrees of Burns

Burn injury severity is classified by the degree of the burn. Any of the burns described above can be classified as first-degree burns, second-degree burns, third-degree burns, or fourth-degree burns. WebMD explains those classifications as follows:

  • First-degree burns: These are the least serious of all types of burn injuries, and they “only affect the outer layer of your skin.” Even with a first-degree burn, though, you can experience red and painful skin. It is unlikely that first-degree burns will result in long-term damage.
  • Second-degree burns: This degree of burn is more serious than a first-degree burn, and it typically affects both the outer layer of your skin and the layer directly underneath that outer layer (the dermis). Second-degree burns cause red and swollen skin, and often blisters. These burns can leave permanent scarring and can affect the color of a person’s skin.
  • Third-degree burns: These are also known as “full-thickness” burns, and they are extremely serious. Third-degree burns destroy two layers of a person’s skin, and the skin can turn black, brown, or white. Third-degree burns damage a person’s nerve endings, and they frequently have life-long consequences.
  • Fourth-degree burns: These are the most serious of all types of burns and are usually life-threatening. They destroy all layers of a person’s skin, in addition to a person’s bones and muscles and tendons.

Burn Treatment

It is important to get prompt treatment in any burn case. Most of our past clients have been treated at the Kessler Burn Center at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY. They are considered to be a national leader in treating burns and burn trauma.

It is important to follow medical directions following a burn. There is potential for significant scarring in any burn case. Scarring is generally considered permanent about a year after the incident. Scarring is the most common injury in a burn case and you can be compensated for burns. It is important to treat it exactly as directed, because if there is in fact a scar, we want to be able to show that it is because of the burn, not because you didn’t follow doctors orders. Insurance companies will often try to blame permanent injuries on the victim, saying the problem is because they didn’t follow the directions given. Burn protocol is particularly important because sun exposure can lead to significant changes in burn appearance.

Burn Documentation

It is important to document the burn with photos of the injury for at least a year. We recommend about 7 to 10 photographs from different angles and different distances every 60 days to show how the injury healed over time. It can also be beneficial to take photographs following proper treatment protocol as described by your doctor to show how the burn impacted your day to day life, in addition to the immediate pain and suffering from the event itself.

Time Requirements in a Burn Case

New York has complex rules regarding filing a burn case. The rules are different depending on who caused the burn, as well as how the injury occurred and the age of the victim.

Generally, a burn victim has three years from the injury to file a claim. However, there are several exceptions. If the defendant would be a municipality, a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days. If the burn caused a death, the time limit is 2 years. If the burn was the result of a car accident, a no fault claim must be made within 30 days. Finally a claim can be extended if the victim was under 18 at the time of the injury. This is not meant to be legal advice, but rather to illustrate the point that consulting a lawyer is important. I would be happy to personally review your case for free.

What a Burn Lawyer Should Do

A burn injury lawyer must be able to prove two things.

  1. That the way this burn happened was the result of unreasonable conduct by another person or business.
  2. The burn lawyer must also prove precisely the damages that are owed to the burn victim.

Like most injury cases, a lawyer should conduct their own investigation immediately – evidence disappears, memories fade. At our firm, two lawyers will be immediately assigned to the investigation of WHAT HAPPENED. We pride ourselves on having the best investigations, and being able to prove beyond all doubt what happened.

Next, a burn lawyer must prove what happened to YOU because of this burn. The highest settlements and the quickest settlements go to those that PROVE the level of pain and suffering. Proving damages requires photos, medical records and a detailed narrative by the burn victim that explains their pain and suffering, not just during the event and immediate aftermath, but proves the effect on your day to day life until now and in the future.

Contact a Rochester Burn Injury Attorney

When you work with King Law, all you have to do is focus on your recovery while they do all the work for you. You can start by discussing the details of your accident, what you hope to achieve out of your claim, and the struggles that you are currently facing. It is important that you hold the liable parties accountable for the accident so others do not have to suffer the same injuries as you. If you lost a loved one due to a burn injury or accident, the firm can help you file a wrongful death claim. Get justice for your accident by calling King Law.

The firm is ready to listen and help. Call (585) 270-8882 to begin.