Why Choose Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, LLP, to Assist You With Your Burn Injury Claim?
Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, LLP, is a national law firm with a local presence in Chico. This means we have the reputation and resources to handle even the most challenging claims and garner compensation on our clients’ behalf through a negotiated settlement or litigation when necessary. Many big city lawyers attempt to grab cases from this area but lack the knowledge of the site and the issues impacting Chico’s population to deliver the customer service that local clients need.
Rather than focusing on a quick resolution, our team uses over 150 years of combined experience to help our clients obtain a fair resolution.
While no guarantee of success in all cases, some of our results include:
- $37 million for the victims of a dangerous condition on a public property
- $6.5 million for the victim of a tanker truck explosion
- $2.1 million for the victim of electrocution at a construction site
With a local office in Chico, obtaining a free case evaluation is simple. Our clients are our neighbors, meaning every case we take is personal and important. Call us or send us a message to learn more about your legal options for seeking compensation for the costs and impacts of your injury.
The Compensation Available for Burn Injuries
Those who suffer burn injuries caused by another party’s negligence in Chico can seek compensation for both the expenses and the psychological impacts of their injury.
Compensation for expenses is referred to in the legal arena as economic damages. It includes costs associated with medical treatment of the injury and associated complications, wage loss, lost earning capacity, and property damage arising from the same incident that caused the injury.
Compensation for the psychological impacts of the injury is called non-economic damages. You can seek them for physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and much more.
While the expenses of the accident are generally easy to calculate as they generate documentation such as receipts or bills, the value of non-economic damages typically involves consideration of the severity and permanence of the injury, the inconvenience incurred by the claimant due to frequent medical treatments, and even the level of recklessness exhibited by the at-fault party that caused the accident.
An experienced burn injury lawyer from Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, LLP, can consider these factors carefully to establish a true value to the claim.
How Burn Injuries Occur in Chico?
Many hazards in Chico can lead to a burn injury, such as:
- Wildfires. As climate change and population growth continue in Northern California, there is a greater risk of wildfires that can destroy neighborhoods and businesses and lead to severe burn injuries. Recently, as reported by Action News Now, the City of Chico identified areas at greatest risk of wildfires, including properties featuring or surrounded by grassy lots, such as those along the northern and eastern edges of the city. According to the city’s report, the neighborhoods along El Monte and Centennial Avenue in the southeastern portion of Chico pose the highest risk of wildfires.
- Motor vehicle accidents. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) notes that motor vehicle accidents in Chico injured or killed around 300 people in one recent year. Vehicles require caustic and flammable fluids to run. During an accident, vehicle occupants can come in contact with these fluids, causing chemical burns. Additionally, if these fluids contact a spark, a fire can start and result in severe burn injuries.
- Premises liability. Landlords and other property owners are required by law to perform regular inspections of the property to discover hazards that could injure tenants and guests. Some of the hazards that can cause burn injuries include faulty or aged electrical wiring and a lack of adequate exits and smoke detectors that can be used to warn others of a fire.
The Financial and Psychological Impacts of a Burn Injury
Burn injuries are expensive to treat and highly impactful to the sufferer’s quality of life. As noted by Paradigm, even low-intensity treatment of moderate burns can result in more than $200,000 worth of expenses if there are complications, and severe burns without complications can result in costs of more than $1.6 million. Severe burns with complications can cost more than $10 million to treat.
Many complications associated with burn injuries can drive these costs up even further, including:
- Disfigurement and contracture, which occurs when the scar tissue from the burn matures and thickens, impacting movement. Paradigm reports that this complication can add up to $35,000 to the cost of treating the injury.
- Psychological complications, which impact more than half of burn injury sufferers, can add up to $75,000 in treatment costs.
- Fragile skin or skin breakdown can up the cost of treatment by more than $100,000.
- Infections, such as pneumonia or sepsis, which along with resultant organ failure represent an increase to the costs of medically treating the injury of up to $120,000.
- Delayed healing or skin graft failure, which impacts nearly a third of burn injury suffers, can add up to $110,000 to treatment costs.
In addition to the costs of treating the injury and its physical effects, burn injuries almost always produce income losses due to time missed from work and can even result in disabilities that prevent the sufferer from earning an income in the future. These injuries also commonly cause psychological impacts such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of the ability to participate in enjoyable activities and events, and more.
Fighting the Insurance Company for the Compensation You Need
Nearly all burn injury claims are compensated through liability insurance coverage provided by a policy held by the at-fault party, such as an at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance policy, a landlord’s property insurance policy, or even the business policy of a utility or other type of business performing work that could cause a fire.
While it seems like an insurance company that covers liability for burn injuries caused by their insured’s negligence would quickly and appropriately respond to the needs of the injured party, that is unfortunately not how insurance companies work.
To remain in business and protect their bottom line, insurers usually try to keep the payouts on liability claims as low as possible. They assign claims adjusters to evaluate these claims to determine if their insured was liable if the policy the claim was filed against includes coverage for the injury suffered and how much compensation is owed due to the claim.
Claimants who attempt to navigate California’s personal injury claims process without having an experienced lawyer to assist them with the process often find the value of their claim falling victim to the claim’s adjuster’s tactics, such as offering a low settlement, looking for a reason to shift the blame for the accident on the claimant or someone else, or even failing to respond to the claim.
The legal team from Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, LLP can provide services to help Chico burn injury claimants as they seek fair compensation for their injury, including:
- Determining liability and identifying insurance resources that can compensate you. In some cases, the at-fault party’s insurance will not fully compensate the victim for the expenses and impacts they incurred due to policy limits. Policy limits refer to the maximum amount of money the company will pay out on a claim based on state coverage requirements for certain insurance policies, such as auto liability insurance, as well as the coverage amounts chosen by the at-fault party when they purchased the policy. In these instances, our burn injury lawyers can help you determine if other insurance resources can provide coverage.
- Establishing a value to the claim based on the expenses and impacts the claimant incurred, as well as the potential for punitive damages due to fraud, malice, oppression, or extreme recklessness posed by the at-fault party associated with the accident. Punitive damages refer to compensation that punishes the defendant’s behavior.
- Managing communication with the at-fault party’s insurer to protect the claim’s value and negotiate a fair settlement.
- Gathering evidence and documentation needed to prove liability and justify the claim’s value.
- Filing a lawsuit in court within the state’s statute of limitations if the insurer fails to offer a fair settlement. The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in California is two years from the accident’s date.
- Collecting compensation recovered through a negotiated settlement or a court award. The Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, LLP, legal team provides their services to claimants through a contingent fee billing method. This means that payment for their work on a claim is contingent on its successful resolution. Instead of billing clients by the hour or requiring an upfront retainer, the firm enters into a contingent fee agreement that allows the claimant to withhold payment until compensation is received and designates a percentage of that compensation to pay the attorney. After the claim, the award will be sent directly to the attorney, who will withdraw their percentage and help the claimant settle any medical liens that were placed on the award before turning the rest of the compensation over to the claimant.
How You Can Protect the Value of Your Chico Burn Injury Claim?
While your legal team will handle much of the legwork involved in the claims process, there are several things that you can do to protect the value of your Chico burn injury claim. One of the most critical tasks is to comply with your physician’s treatment plan, including attending scheduled appointments, taking prescribed medications, and completing treatment.
This is important not only to provide you with the best opportunity for recovery but also to prevent the insurance company from reducing the value of their settlement offer due to your failure to take action to mitigate your damages.
While the legal team will gather documentation and evidence for your case, if you have information pertinent to your claim, it is essential to provide it to your legal team. Commonly, claimants will obtain a police accident report, photos from the accident scene, and medical documentation that will help their attorney determine the claim’s value.
Claimants can also protect the value of a burn injury claim by keeping a journal of the day-to-day impacts of their injury, such as their pain levels, the frequency of medical appointments, and the time they’ve missed from work while recovering from the injury.
If You’ve Suffered Burn Injuries in Chico, Contact Us
Burn injuries are particularly severe, impactful, and expensive. The legal team at Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, LLP is devoted to providing national law firm expertise and resources with the personalized services of a local office. To obtain a free case evaluation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Chico, contact our Chico office by calling (530) 891-1909 or message us online.