Steps to Take to Pursue a Burn Injury Lawsuit
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you have been burned through the negligence — or intent — of another, you have the grounds for a lawsuit.
Step 1: Find An Attorney
While it may appear self-serving, getting legal guidance from a personal injury attorney should be an early contact. Ask your family, friends, and professional contacts for a referral. Do some online research. Make a few phone calls, and schedule an appointment.
You’re looking for someone with experience, but also a person who makes you feel comfortable. You’re looking for someone who listens and responds and communicates well.
An attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can meet with you at your convenience, at a time and place that is comfortable for you, including your home, hospital room, or other location. We want to hear your story, learn about your situation and explore options with you.
Initial consultations are always at no cost. If we work together, and you decide to file a lawsuit, we charge on a contingency fee agreement, which means we do not get paid until we secure a settlement for you. All contingency fee agreements are in writing, and in Michigan, the legal fees are set by statute (MRPC Rule 1.5) and can be up to one-third of the recovery award.
Step 2: What Happened To You?
How your case proceeds will depend upon where you were when your burn injury happened, and why it happened.
- If your injury happened at work, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will cover your medical treatment, lost wages, and other costs directly associated with your recovery. But if your burn was more serious and has led to long-term or permanent disability and/or disfigurement, you are probably filled with questions and concerns about your future. Depending on your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
- If your burn injury happened at your home, there is probably no liability unless the burn was the result of a defective product. If you rent your home, however, or if the burn injury happened at a business, you probably have a premises liability case, and can sue for damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
- If your injury happened as the result of a car accident, your no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP insurance covers your medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages for up to three years, and other costs. In many cases, PIP is all the coverage you need. But if your injuries are more serious, and the impact of these injuries on your life is more profound, including economic and emotional impacts that are hard to quantify, then a personal injury lawsuit may be an option to consider.
- If your burn injuries are the result of intentional action, there may be a criminal case against the perpetrator. The fact that there are criminal proceedings underway does not prevent you from pursuing a civil action to receive monetary damages for your losses.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. is a law firm dedicated to helping injury victims understand their options, assisting them in addressing immediate needs, and then taking a step by step approach to ensuring that ongoing and future needs are met as well.
Step 3: Your Burn Injury Claim
Proving negligence and determining liability involves assembling evidence, interviewing witnesses, and discovering information from the other side.
Before you meet with your attorney for the first time, gather any records you have of your accident, the names of individuals who responded at the scene, the EMTs and other medical professionals you’ve seen, and any other evidence you have, including photographs, video, and audio recordings. Your attorney can help you request these records, too.
In any settlement discussion or court proceeding, it will be necessary to have a thorough and professional evaluation of your injury, medical condition, and treatment over time, and an estimate of the medical bills you can be facing in the future.
First degree burns are superficial, but second, third, and fourth-degree burns are painful, damaging to underlying tissue, and permanently scarring.
Your burn injury case will also take into consideration your economic and emotional losses and challenges — your pain and suffering — and access exemplary damages, which are similar to punitive damages but emphasize a different legal intention.
The professional team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. have worked with individuals and families throughout Michigan, helping them understand possible settlement and litigation scenarios. In some cases, we may recommend that there be specific doctors evaluate your burn injuries and the medical attention you have received to date.
Senior partner Eileen Kroll specializes in medical cases, and her training as a registered nurse is invaluable in evaluating your burn injuries for legal purposes.
Step 4: Dealing With Insurance Company Attorneys
The way insurance companies make money is by collecting as much money as they can in premiums and paying out as little as they can on claims. Sometimes insurance claims adjusters offer you a quick deal if you’ll sign your name in a few places. Don’t sign anything — or even meet with an insurance company attorney or claims adjuster — without your attorney with you.
It’s extremely difficult for a layperson to navigate a settlement and litigation process alone.
While every case is different, the insurance company approaching you has a staff of lawyers on retainer. They’re writing the fine print on documents that will minimize or eliminate their future liability. You need somebody in the room who understands the system, the tricks involved in the negotiation process, and is on your side.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. are a group of personal injury lawyers who are ready to be your advocate. We want you to understand the implications and impacts of any settlement offer.
Contact us toll-free (24 hours) at 1-866-MICH-LAW or use our convenient online contact form to set up a free consultation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.