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If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury because of another person or group’s negligence, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit in Atlanta. Burns happen every day. They can happen from grabbing the handle of a pan that is too hot, pulling something out of the oven, and in many other ways. However, they can also be debilitating or life-changing injuries. The Atlanta burn injury lawyers at Cruz & Associates have handled numerous burn injury cases, and secured compensation for our clients.

Degrees of Burn Severity

One of the aspects of a burn injury lawsuit is determining the severity of the burn. There are four categories of burns: first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree in order of increasing severity.

  • First-degree. These burns do not affect anything other than your outer layer of skin. For these burns, it is rare that someone would be permanently injured or disfigured.
  • Second-degree. These burns affect both the outer layer of skin and the layer beneath it. Depending on the depth and thickness of your burn, there is a possibility of scarring.
  • Third-degree. Physicians sometimes call third-degree burns “full thickness burns.” They deeply damage two layers of skin and often do not hurt as much because they damage nerve endings.
  • Fourth-degree burns. These are the most severe type and can permanently change your life. They burn all layers of your skin, even affecting bones, muscles, and tendons. Fourth-degree burns can leave you scarred and disfigured.

Liability in Georgia Burn Cases

Depending on what caused the burn and where the victim was, the defendant could be liable. If the victim suffered an injury at work because of someone else’s mistake, for example, the person who acted carelessly might be responsible for the burn injury. Liability is especially clear if someone who is not following safety rules and regulations caused the injury.

Punitive Damages vs. Traditional Damages

If the defendant was extremely negligent, the courts may award the person who suffered the burn punitive damages. The courts award punitive damages to a plaintiff if the court believes the defendant has acted egregiously or were grossly negligent. Gross negligence is when a person or group acts is being actively reckless and careless. It works as a punishment for the defendant to discourage such behavior in the future.

Courts base most damage awards on the literal financial toll of the injury, but punitive damages are an additional sum. The financial amount won’t be about what the victim paid or suffered, so it isn’t a set amount. It depends on the scope of the negligence and the financial power of the defendant.

If a manufacturer, employer, or other entity’s gross negligence caused you to suffer a serious burn injury, talk to a a burn injury attorney about possible punitive damages.

Damages for Physical and Emotional Trauma and Injury

Though all personal injury cases can include emotional pain as well as physical, severe burn injuries often cause more permanent disfigurement than other types of injuries. If the courts find the defendant responsible for your injury, they may also require the defendant to pay compensation for the emotional pain you have suffered and will suffer in the future because of the burn injury.

How Can an Atlanta Burn Injury Lawyer Help Me?

The circumstances and severity of a burn can vary greatly, so if you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury, you need a burn injury attorney with extensive knowledge of Georgia’s burn injury laws.