If you feel that you might be able to file a law suit against your burn injury, then you should speak with an attorney for his/her legal opinion.
What are my legal rights?
Civil law exists to compensate an individual for injuries and losses which were caused by someone's negligence; a defective product; or some other form of misconduct or failure to act.
Your legal rights to compensation include the following:
1. Payments of medical bills.
2. Financial compensation for loss of income.
3. Vocational rehabilitation
4. Financial compensation for pain and suffering.
5. Loss of consortium
What is loss of consortium?
Loss of consortium is a claim separate from the injury victim's claim. It is unique to the injured party's spouse and is compensable by a separate damages recovery.
The spouse of a burn survivor may be entitled to compensation when an injury is so severe that it interferes with the injured party's spousal relations. Many courts recognize the right of the injured party's spouse to recover in an appropriate case for a loss of support, services, love, companionship, society, affection, sexual relations and solace in the form of a loss of consortium action.
What is negligence of others?
Negligence is an accident that is caused by someone's carelessness or failure to act.
The law requires that each person owes every other person a duty to act as a reasonably prudent person would act under the same or similar circumstances. When a person or entity does not act reasonably, then they have violated that duty and will be held responsible for any injury or damage that results.
What is a third party claim?
A third party claim arises when a worker who is injured while on the job is injured as the result of the negligence of another or from a defective product.
What compensation may I be entitled to?
Compensatory damages are there in order to compensate the injured person for various kinds of losses or damages. Below is a list of what is included in compensatory damages:
1. Current medical expenses
2. Lost wages
3. Anticipated future medical expenses
4. Anticipated future loss of wages
5. Current and anticipated future mental and/or emotional pain and suffering
7. Physical or mental impairment and/or disability.
What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages are damages that are awarded in a lawsuit as a punishment and example to others for malicious, evil or particularly fraudulent acts.
The plaintiff has the burden of proving that punitive damages should be awarded, and the amount, by a preponderance of the evidence.
What is Worker's Compensation?
Workers' Compensation is an insurance system. All employers must have worker's compensation insurance of some kind.
It doesn't matter whether or not the injury is an accident. If it happened on the job, the employer's worker's compensation insurance must pay for the employee. Worker's compensation has limitations. For example, employees can recover only set maximum amounts, regardless of how much their income was.
If you get worker's compensation, the law states that employees may generally not recover from the employer in any legal action other than worker's compensation. If you are going to sue your employer then you must remember not to accept the worker's compensation.
BSTTW advises you to speak with an attorney before you take any action including accepting the worker's compensation.
You can find a link to attorneys at BSTTW Legal Links
What does Worker's Compensation pay for?
Worker's Compensation benefits usually provide payments for the following:
1. Medical expenses
2. Temporary disability payments
3. Permanent disability benefits
4. Vocational rehabilitation benefits Death benefits and burial expenses to a deceased worker's dependents
What is the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations is the specified time period that the law permits a claim to be filed against a responsible party.
The statute of limitations varies for the type of injury cases, cases involving children and adults, and also differs from state to state.
You should contact an attorney for a free consultation to find out about the statute of limitations in your state.
What do I do if I have been injured by a defective product?
You should NOT change, alter, or throw away the product. You should take pictures and contact an attorney immediately, who will most likely have the product examined by an expert.
What if my work-related accident was not caused by my employer?
The employer is responsible for all employees and others that are on the work place.
It is extreamly important that there be a prompt and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your work-related injury. You and/or your family should contact and hire an attorney. This way an investigation can be done by trained attorneys, investigators, and experts, whose job it is to determine exactly what caused your accident. Photographs, witness statements, and evidence should be secured as quickly as possible after a serious work-related injury occurs.
How do I find an attorney?
You can find an attoney in many different ways. Below are examples of how an attorney can be found:
1. BSTTW Legal Links
2. The local yellow pages
3. Other burn survivors
4. Support groups
5. Burn survivor organizations
It is very important that you hire an attorney who has extensive experience in handling catastrophic injuries and illnesses.
How do I pay for legal assistance?
Most attorneys offer you a free consultation. During that consultation you must ask the attorney how the expenses are taken care of. Most burn survivors have enough financial issues due to medical expenses, the accident and loosing their job.
Most attorneys who handle personal injury cases are paid by contingency fee. A contingency fee is a fixed percentage of the amount that is successfully recovered for the client. If there is no recovery, the attorney does not get paid.