Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating for Ronald V. Miller Jr.
Best Law Firms
Avvo Rating - 10
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Litigator Awards

Burn Injuries Lawsuits

Americans suffer an astronomical 1.1 million burn injuries each year that require medical treatment.

Most burn injuries – thankfully – do not result in lawsuits either because the injured person is responsible for their own injuries or because the burns are not significant enough to warrant a lawsuit. But there are 40,000 hospitalizations each year from burn injuries, and many of these accidents are the result of a negligent person or corporation.

Of course, all types of physical injuries can be brutally painful. But burns really are especially awful. They often leave behind permanent mental and physical scars. Sometimes, only the victim really understands because they see their scars differently than we do. But scars can and do cause real destruction to the victim’s self-image and self-worth.

Burn injuries are often exacerbated by other negligence that makes the victim’s injuries much worse. One of the most difficult wrongful death cases our lawyers have ever taken to trial involved a case where a woman died after six days not because of the burns themselves but because of the chemicals that were in the fluid that caused her burns. Thankfully, we were able to obtain a significant recovery in our claim on behalf of our client, the victim’s 8-year-old daughter.

Average Burn Injury Verdicts

The median recovery in burn injury lawsuits, according to Jury Verdict Research, is $366,313. But the data also reflects that in the most serious burn injury cases involving negligence, juries appreciate the sometimes unspeakable suffering caused by burn injuries. In the most serious cases where the victim suffered third-degree burns on over sixty percent of their bodies, the median verdict rises to $7,750,000.00. According to Metro Verdict Monthly, the median jury verdict in burn injury cases is $125,000 in Maryland and $400,000 in Virginia (no, our lawyers cannot explain the disparity).

Another Jury Verdict Research study indicated that the most successful burn injury cases are usually product liability claims. Here are the other types of claims and the median recoveries

Causes of Burn Injuries

There are many causes for burn injuries that end up resulting in a lawsuit or an out-of-court settlement:

  • Building Fires
  • Chemical Spills
  • Defective Products (including claims involving HVAC and defective fireplaces)
  • Car Accidents
  • Electrical Accidents
  • Lighters & Matches
  • Excessive Radiation (medical malpractice typically)
  • Automobile Accidents
  • Nursing Homes
  • Flammable Liquids

A burn injury that over gets overlooked is the trauma that follows breathing of gases during a fire. Ingestion of toxic substances and burns are an awful combination. Carbon monoxide poisoning in burn victims can often go undetected by health care providers treating burns until it is too late. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the cause of the majority of burn injuries.

What to Do If You Have a Significant Burn Injury from Negligence

Our lawyers have represented burn victims and their families in burn injury and wrongful death cases. We handle burn cases from vehicle collisions, explosions, home fires, electrocutions, and liquid burn cases (no hot coffee cases, please!).

Pain and suffering is a phrase that lawyers throw around pretty loosely in personal injury cases. But serious burn victims truly know pain and suffering.

What Is the Settlement Value for 1st or 2nd-Degree Burns in a Lawsuit?

First-degree burns are very minor injuries, almost comparable to a sunburn. They have little or no settlement value in a personal injury lawsuit. Second-degree burns are also not considered significant injuries, so they have a low settlement value in the $10,000 range. In some cases, however, second-degree burns can be worth much more if they result in permanent scarring or disfigurement.  Scarring is permanent and permanency drives settlement payouts.  You can likely find a lawyer for a second-degree burn. A first degree?  Probably not absent some compelling circumstance that is hard to imagine.

How Much Are 3rd-Degree Burns Worth in a Lawsuit Settlement?

Third-degree burns are very serious injuries that can cause extreme pain and usually result in significant scarring and disfigurement. They also require extensive medical care and treatment. For these reasons, 3rd-degree burns have a very high potential settlement value in a personal injury lawsuit. These burns can have a settlement value between $200,000 to $800,000 (and far beyond in some cases).

What Factors Impact the Settlement Value of Burn Injuries?

The settlement amounts in a burn injury lawsuit can vary widely based on more factors than our lawyers can count.  Compensation amounts reflect the complexities and specific circumstances of each case. But there are key factors that driver burn injury settlements:

  1. Liability and Negligence:  The road to settlement value starts with whether you can win the case. The outcome of a burn injury lawsuit will heavily depend on the ability to prove liability. If it’s clear that another party’s negligence caused the injury, the settlement amount might be higher.
  2. Severity and Extent of the Burn Injuries: The degree (first, second, third, or fourth-degree burns), size (percentage of the body covered), and depth of the burns are crucial determinants. More severe injuries generally lead to higher medical costs, longer recovery times, and greater compensation for pain and suffering.
  3. Medical Expenses: This includes all medical bills related to the burn injury, such as hospital stays, surgeries, medications, specialized treatments (like skin grafts), and future medical care costs.  Economic costs like medical bills really move insurance adjusters and juries to higher payouts. The more extensive and ongoing the medical treatment, the higher the potential settlement.
  4. Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: If the burn injury prevents the victim from working temporarily or permanently, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity can significantly influence the settlement amount. This considers the victim’s age, profession, and the impact of the injury on their ability to work.
  5. Pain and Suffering: Compensation for pain and suffering is more subjective and varies significantly from case to case. It accounts for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the burns, including trauma, depression, anxiety, and the impact on the victim’s quality of life.
  6. Disfigurement and Scarring: Burn injuries often result in permanent scarring or disfigurement, which can lead to significant psychological distress and social challenges. Again, there is often great value in a permanent injury which a scar certainly is.  Compensation typically reflects the severity and visibility of the scarring, as well as its psychological impact on the victim.  Women and young people get more compensation for scarring than men and older victims.
  7. Insurance Coverage: The defendant’s insurance policy limits can also affect the settlement amount. If the responsible party has substantial insurance coverage, there may be more funds available for a larger settlement.
  8. Quality of Legal Representation: Your lawyer really matters in these cases. Yes, the quality of your attorney matters in every case. But burn injuries because the value of a burn injury case is especially subjective.  So the skill, experience, reputation for success, and negotiation tactics of the burn injury attorney can significantly impact the settlement amount. Experienced attorneys who know how to fight and are willing to fight secure higher settlements for their clients.

Can 2nd-Degree Burns Result in Million-Dollar Verdicts?

Yes. Although 2nd-degree burns are less serious, they can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. In a recent case in Texas, a plaintiff got $6.9 million for 2nd-degree burns on 20% of his body because the burns left his face disfigured.

Hiring a Burn Injury Lawyer

Our lawyers fight to get you the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you love has experienced a serious burn injury, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.

Related Information

  • Example opening statement we gave in a burn injury death case in Baltimore
  • Treating burn injuries
  • Nursing home burn cases are all too common. Here is a burn case against a nursing home that led to a man’s traffic death
Client Reviews
They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives. Terry Waldron
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa
Contact Information