When Negligent Medical Care Results in Burns, or Burn Injuries are Negligently Treated, You May be Entitled to Compensation in New Jersey
According to the World Health Organization, burn injuries cause an estimated 180,000 deaths annually, and most are preventable. Most people think about burns from fires, explosives, or electrical shocks. However, numerous sources of burns occur in the most unsuspecting places. The medical facilities that you enter to treat burns and other injuries may be where you least expect to experience a burn injury. Sadly, your medical provider or the medical procedure you undergo may be the source of who or what burns you. When a burn injury occurs from medical treatment or care, it may be malpractice.
Generally, burns occur primarily at home or work, but they happen at healthcare provider locations, too. Burn injuries are the most painful and traumatic experiences to endure. Whether caused by fire, hot liquids, chemicals, electricity, or radiation, burns cause severe physical and emotional suffering, long-term complications, and even death. In these instances, it is vital to fully understand your rights and the legal options that you may have to seek compensation. If you or a loved one suffered burns due to negligent medical care, or the care that you received for burn injuries led to further complications, contact the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group today. We can assist you in a free consultation by contacting us online or calling 973-435-4551.
Most Frequent Types of Burns
The most common burns are thermal, radiation, chemical, friction, or electrical sources. Thermal burns result from heat that kills cell tissue or chars the skin from hot metals, liquids, steam, and fire. Though heat may be involved, radiation burns do not scald or char. They come from overexposure to ultraviolet sun rays or X-rays. Caustic substances that burn contain potent acids, solvents, or other caustic substances that injure the skin or eyes and can be severe. Further, the entire body can suffer friction burns when the skin scrapes forcefully against a surface, as in vehicle accidents. Also, electrical burns come from alternating or direct currents that pass through the body, causing burns and internal damage.
Classification of Burn Injuries by Severity
How deeply and extensively burns go beneath the skin’s surface determines their classification as first, second, third, or fourth degree burns. First degree burns are the most superficial since the outer layer of the skin is affected. An example is a light sunburn. However, second degree burns affect the outer layer or epidermis and the layer underneath, the dermis. Symptoms include redness, blisters, swelling, and pain.
More severe is the third degree burn that destroys the epidermis and dermis and maybe the deepest skin layer, the subcutaneous tissue, to char the skin black or white. And the most severe is the fourth degree burn that penetrates all layers of the skin into the muscle or bone, destroying the nerve endings and pain receptors.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries in Medical Settings
Burns Caused by MRI Machines
In the medical setting, burns may happen due to malfunctioning equipment or human error. For example, a patient may suffer a second degree thermal burn from an MRI machine that is defective or damaged, or a negligent technician. Patients contacting the MRI scanner burn their skin when radiological currents heat the skin, often leaving permanent scars.
Burns Caused by Laser Treatments and Surgeries
Laser surgery also causes burns. Laser treatments and therapy range from corrective eye surgery to cosmetic surgery, such as laser skin resurfacing and hair removal. When surgeons make errors, lasers can cause severe burns. Some mistakes include conducting laser eye surgery on an ineligible patient or improperly using laser equipment. A post-laser surgical burn may appear as an infection and pain at the burn site. Additionally, an unskilled surgeon or technician may not calibrate the laser equipment properly, resulting in burns that leave permanent scarring and extensive treatment to heal the burn and fix scars.
Burns Caused by Malfunctioning Medical Equipment
Furthermore, equipment burns occur from damaged or defective medical equipment that may spark and burn a patient or from hypothermia blankets meant to warm surgical patients in the recovery room when insufficiently monitored. Old or poorly maintained medical equipment may have exposed wires that cause electrical surges or blasts that burn patients.
Burn Injuries Caused by Surgical Fires
Additionally, surgical fires in the operating room where oxygen and other gases, cauterizing equipment, and compounds, can ignite and cause burn victims. The three main components causing an operating room fire are the oxygen or nitrous oxide machines called an oxidizer, an ignition source such as lasers or electric surgical devices, and a fuel source like curtains or the patient’s alcohol-rubbed skin. Lastly, chemical burns from disinfectant misapplied prior to surgery may also be the cause of burn injuries.
How to Determine Liability for Medical Malpractice in Burn Injury Situations
Medical malpractice in burn situations occurs when healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurses, or medical facilities, fail to meet the standard of care required to treat patients for their health conditions. It may involve negligence, errors, or omissions during diagnosis, treatment, or post-treatment care. In many burn incidences, negligent operation or the omission of proper maintenance of medical equipment is the source of patient burns. In other instances, performing surgical procedures or mishandling caustic substances leads to burns. Proving malpractice in burn cases is often complex, involving comprehensive reviews of medical records, expert testimony, and legal expertise. Working with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney, you can investigate the liable parties in your particular burn malpractice case and seek compensation by filing a claim.
Recovering Compensation for Medical Burn Injuries
Once you establish medical malpractice related to burn injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages, including medical expenses coverage for past and future medical bills for surgeries, hospital stays, medications, therapy, and rehabilitation.
You can also receive lost wages compensation for past and future earning capacity loss. Additionally, you can collect damages for pain and suffering for the physical and emotional distress caused by the burn injury due to malpractice. And any rehabilitation and therapy costs, past and future, are part of a damages award. Finally, a jury may award punitive damages to punish the healthcare provider’s gross negligence or misconduct.
Contact Our New Jersey Medical Burn Injury Lawyers for Assistance
After a severe burn, you most likely need to spend your time and energy recovering. When you enlist help from our skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group, we can take much of the burden off your shoulders in pursuing your claim aggressively. Since our attorneys regularly deal in medical malpractice, we can take immediate steps to ascertain the viability of your claim and the other party’s liability by investigating the facts you relay and the medical documents you supply or obtain. We also consult medical experts to validate and help you prove your claim to a jury, and ensure that a complete portrait of the extent of your injuries and damages results in the highest financial award recoverable in your case.
Whether negligent professionals on your medical team caused your burn injury, or your existing burns were improperly or insufficiently treated resulting in further pain and suffering, call 973-435-4551 for a free case evaluation by a medical malpractice attorney at our NJ law office.