St. Louis Burn Injury Lawyer

There is a reason why Hell is associated with burning. It’s because burning is the worst kind of suffering the human mind can imagine. If you have suffered a severe burn injury that someone else is responsible for, you might be entitled to compensation. To secure that compensation, you will likely need the assistance of a St. Louis burn injury lawyer. 

Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers was founded in 2010, and since then, we have operated as a pillar of support for St. Louis, MO accident victims. We understand the unique challenges faced by burn injury victims – excruciating pain, permanent disfigurement, and long-term emotional trauma, among other maladies. In many cases, burn injury victims must also undergo multiple reconstructive surgeries, endure physical disability, and suffer social ostracism. 

Justice demands a response when this suffering was caused by someone else’s misconduct in St. Louis, Missouri. Contact our St. Louis burn injury attorneys today for a free consultation. You can call us at (314) 444-4444.

How Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers Can Make a Difference After a St. Louis Burn Injury Accident

How Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers Can Make a Difference After a St. Louis Burn Injury Accident

Our team of St. Louis personal injury lawyers enjoys the benefit of over a century of combined legal experience. Moreover, we have been instrumental in securing generous compensation for burn injury victims and their families across the state of Missouri. To date, we’ve successfully reclaimed over $50 million in settlements and verdicts for victims of various kinds of personal injury, including burn injuries. 

Our St. Louis burn injury lawyers can offer you the following forms of assistance, among others:

  • Ensuring your access to specialized medical treatment
  • Securing the help of expert witnesses in burn treatment and rehabilitation
  • Assessing your long-term care needs, if any
  • Calculating your pain and suffering damages
  • Evaluating your cosmetic and reconstructive surgery costs
  • Demanding compensation for psychological counseling
  • Negotiating with insurance companies
  • Calculating and demanding compensation for current and future loss of earnings

We have been honored with professional awards and recognition from prestigious attorney organizations such as the Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, the National Trial Lawyers, the Legal Directorate, and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

What matters is the bottom line-–how much compensation you receive. Our track record has demonstrated time and time again that we know how to recover the compensation you deserve from defendants and insurance companies in St. Louis, MO. 

How Common Are Burn Injuries?

According to the American Burn Association, thousands of people every year die from fires and smoke inhalation. About a half million need medical treatment. About 40,000 people are hospitalized. 

What Are the Different Types of Burns?

Doctors use the following four categories to classify burns: 

  • First-degree burns. Destroy the outermost layer of skin, but they heal automatically.
  • Second-degree burns. Destroy the second layer of skin, the dermis. They heal with scar tissue, but you will need medical treatment to prevent infection.
  • Third-degree burns. Destroy the deepest layer of skin, and they do not heal on their own. Medical treatment is essential.
  • Fourth-degree burns. A recently added category that is used when there is charring of the skin, internal organs, and even muscle and bones. Medical treatment is essential.

Don’t try to determine the seriousness of your burn injury on your own unless you are certain that it is a first-degree burn (sunburn, for example). 

What Kinds of Compensation Can I Expect?

Serious burn injuries often justify high damages awards. The three components of a personal injury damages award are economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages (rarely).

Economic Damages

Economic damages include any type of loss you can easily count or that you receive a bill for. In a burn injury case, the most prominent among these are typically medical expenses and lost earnings. Your lost earnings can soar if your injuries are so serious that you are forced into early retirement. You can also claim compensation for out-of-pocket expenses.

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages are intangible losses that are difficult to put a dollar amount on, including: 

  • Pain and suffering for physical pain
  • Emotional distress for psychological pain
  • Loss of enjoyment of life if you lose the ability to participate in activities that once brought you enjoyment, such as exercise and sports

Several other types of noneconomic damages are available.

Punitive Damages

You can qualify for punitive damages if and only if:

  • You already qualify for compensatory damages (economic and/or noneconomic damages);
  • The defendant burned you intentionally or acted with deliberate and flagrant disregard for your safety; and
  • You can prove the intentional or flagrant nature of the defendant’s conduct by “clear and convincing evidence” (a higher standard of proof than the standard that applies typically to personal injury cases).   

What Factors Determine the Amount of My Compensation?

Many factors come into play in determining the exact nature of your compensation, including: 

Available Insurance Coverage

No insurance company will pay you a dime more than their coverage limits, and the law doesn’t require them to. If your burn injury is worth a million dollars, but a $50,000 policy covers it, then $50,000 is the most you will get from insurance. You might still have a claim for $950,000 against the defendant who caused your burn injury, but it may be uncollectible if the defendant lacks the money to pay your claim.

The Severity of Your Injury

The severity of your injury affects just about every component of your compensation. It affects the amount of your medical bills, the intensity of your pain and suffering, the amount of time you have to miss work, and the magnitude of any diminished earning capacity you might suffer.

Your Age and Income

Imagine your injuries force you to retire at 60 instead of 65. Imagine further that your retirement reduces your income from $40,000 per year to $25,000 per year. Your total lost income would be $15,000 X 5 + $75,000.

Now imagine that you are 30 years old and that your retirement reduces your income from $200,000 per year to $30,000 per year. Your total lost income would be $170,000 x 35 = 5.95 million dollars. That is an example of how much your age and income matter in a diminished earning capacity claim based on a burn injury.

Your Negotiating Skills

Your negotiating skills, or the negotiating skills of your lawyer, can make all the difference in the world for the value of your claim. Of all the negotiating skills you rely on, the most important one is patience. The insurance company’s lowest offer will probably be their first one, and you need to resist the temptation to “take the money and run.” Your best bet is to let your lawyer do the negotiating for you.

Types of Burn Injury Claims

Your burn injury claim needs to have a legal theory behind it–in other words, some legal basis for your claim. Three of the most common legal bases for burn injury claims are the following.

Negligence Claims

In a negligence claim, you assert that:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care. In a car accident claim, for example, the defendant had the duty to drive safely.
  • The defendant breached their duty of care. The defendant might have swerved into your lane without looking, for example. 
  • You suffered harm. You might have suffered ”road rash” burns when you laid your motorcycle down after impact with the defendant’s automobile, for example.   
  • The defendant’s negligence was the cause of the harm you suffered. The defendant’s swerving into your lane caused the impact that laid down your motorcycle.
  • Your injury was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligence.

You must prove each of the previous elements to prove negligence liability.

Product Liability Claims

In a product liability claim, you claim that a defective product caused your injury. The defect must be a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or inadequate product warnings. A manufacturing defect in a gas stove might have caused an explosion that injured you, for example. You can sue any party in the product’s distribution chain and win without proving fault.

Workers Compensation Claims

The workers compensation system probably governs your claim if your injury was work-related. This is not good because you will only be able to claim economic damages, and only a portion of those. If you can find a third party, other than your employer, and if you can prove fault, then you can file an ordinary negligence claim and seek full compensation even though your injury was work-related.

Let a St. Louis Burn Injury Lawyer Fight for You

Burn injury cases often involve permanent disfigurement and large amounts of physical pain. It is easy, however, to underestimate just how much your claim is worth. The opposing party might offer you significant compensation to cover your medical expenses, but you may need more. What about your lost earnings, for example? And don’t you deserve compensation for the magnitude of your suffering?

Here at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers, we are very familiar with the challenges faced by victims of catastrophic injuries, including burn injuries, in St. Louis, MO. We will calculate the true value of your claim. Contact our St. Louis burn injury attorney today for a free consultation.