According to the official data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, major burn injuries are relatively common in Illinois. It is no secret that burn injuries are extraordinarily painful. Even minor burns can cause a tremendous amount of pain. Further, burns often require significant healing time and the medical expenses often add up quickly. If you have suffered a burn injury and that injury was caused by the negligence of another party, you are entitled to fair compensation. Please contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible, who can explain more about your legal rights.
Causes of Burn Injuries
Burns are most often mentally associated with fire or open flames. While it is true that fire is the most common cause of burn injuries, it is actually only responsible for a little less than half of all burn injuries. Scalding is the next most common cause of burns; to be sure, almost one third of all burn injuries are caused by scalding, which includes contact with hot liquids or steam. Burns can also occur when a very hot object is touched (thermal burns), when chemicals come in contact with the skin, when smoke is inhaled, or when an electrical current makes contact with a part of the body. All different types of burns are eligible for legal compensation. The determining factor for burn injury liability in Illinois is whether or not your burn was caused by the negligence of another party.
Burn Injury Negligence
Negligence has four required factors:
- Causation; and
To recover damages for your burn injury, you need to prove negligence. Proving negligence requires proving each one of those four factors. Perhaps the most famous American burn injury lawsuit is Liebeck vs McDonald’s. This case is also known as the ‘hot coffee case’ or the ‘McDonald’s coffee cup case’. In this case, the plaintiff purchased a cup of coffee from a McDonald’s chain restaurant. While in her car, the coffee was spilled, causing her major burn injuries. The injuries required surgery, skin grafting and resulted in permanent disfigurement. McDonald’s attempted to argue that they should not be held liable for a customer spilling coffee after a purchase. But, McDonald’s lost the case. The pivotal fact was that McDonald’s was serving their coffee at 190 degrees. The company had been warned before to stop selling coffee that was so hot. Coffee at a 190 degrees is simply too dangerous to sell, and may be considered negligent. The company had a duty to serve coffee at a reasonably safe temperature. They breached the duty by ignoring previous warnings and serving extremely hot coffee. Their overheated coffee then caused horrible disfiguring burns that would not have happened if the coffee had been less hot. Finally, those burns resulted in tremendous damage, leading to the surgery, skin grafts and disfigurement. The plaintiff was able to recover compensation for the damages.
Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Burn injuries often have devastating consequences. Businesses, property owners and private citizens have a legal obligation to protect other people from preventable burn hazards. Serving dangerously hot coffee is just one of many examples of a business breaching that obligation and negligently burning customers. If you have suffered a burn injury, you need to speak to an experienced Illinois burn injury attorney as soon as possible. You deserve full and fair compensation and your attorney can help you get justice.