What Are the Average Damages Awarded for a Burn Injury?

What Are the Average Damages Awarded for a Burn Injury?

What Are the Average Damages Awarded for a Burn Injury

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), every 60 seconds, someone in the U.S. sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment. This type of injury is among the most devastating and life-altering events a person can experience.

The physical, emotional, and financial burden can be immense, leaving victims and their families struggling to cope with the aftermath. So, when it comes to seeking compensation for a burn injury, understanding the factors that influence settlement amounts is crucial.

Factors Affecting Burn Injury Settlement Amounts

When seeking compensation for a burn injury, several factors influence the settlement amounts, including:

Severity and Degree of the Burn

The severity of a burn is a significant factor in determining settlement amounts. Burns are classified by degrees, with first-degree burns being the least severe and fourth-degree burns being the most severe.

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital said that it may be impossible to classify a burn immediately when it occurs. It can progress over time, so you may not know the full extent for a day or two. For appropriate treatment, the following classifications apply:

  • First-degree (superficial) burns. First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. The burn site is red, painful, dry, and has no blisters. Mild sunburn is an example. Long-term tissue damage is rare and often consists of an increase or decrease in the skin color.
  • Second-degree (partial thickness) burns. Second-degree burns involve the epidermis and part of the lower layer of skin, the dermis. The burn site looks red, blistered, and may be swollen and painful.
  • Third-degree (full thickness) burns. Third-degree burns destroy the epidermis and dermis. They may go into the innermost layer of skin, the subcutaneous tissue. The burn site may look white or blackened and charred.
  • Fourth-degree burns. Fourth-degree burns go through both layers of the skin and underlying tissue as well as deeper tissue, possibly involving muscle and bone. There is no feeling in the area since the nerve endings are destroyed.

Location and Extent of the Burn

The location and extent of the burn also play a role in settlement amounts. Burns on the face, hands, or other highly visible areas can lead to higher settlements due to the potential for disfigurement and the impact on the victim’s quality of life.

Similarly, burns that cover a large portion of the body may require extensive medical treatment and result in higher settlement amounts. In our experience, burns covering more than 20% of the body often lead to settlements in the upper six-figure range.

According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) National Inpatient Sample (NIS), there are over 29,000 burn admissions per year, representing 88.5 admissions per million lives per year.

Extensive burns requiring surgical treatment and prolonged mechanical ventilation accounted for 4.4% of all admissions, with an inpatient mortality of 17.8%. Deep burns requiring surgical treatment without prolonged ventilation were 32% of all admissions and had an inpatient mortality of 2.6%.

Long-term Impact on Quality of Life

The long-term impact of a burn injury on the victim’s quality of life is another critical factor in determining settlement amounts. Burns can result in permanent scarring, chronic pain, and loss of mobility, all of which can significantly impact a person’s ability to work, engage in hobbies, and maintain relationships.

We’ve commonly seen cases where burn victims are unable to return to their previous occupation due to their injuries, leading to substantial lost earning capacity claims. Additionally, the impact on spousal relationships can result in loss of consortium claims, further increasing the potential settlement amount.

Age, Occupation, and Education Level of the Victim

The age, occupation, and education level of the burn victim can also influence settlement amounts. Younger victims with longer lifespans ahead of them may receive higher settlements due to the extended duration of their injuries’ impact.

Similarly, victims in physically demanding occupations may receive higher settlements if their injuries prevent them from returning to work. The education level of the victim can also play a role, as it may impact their earning potential and the value of lost earning capacity claims.

Potential for Disfigurement and Scarring

The potential for disfigurement and scarring is a significant factor in burn injury settlements. Visible scars, particularly on the face, neck, or hands, can lead to substantial emotional distress and may require costly reconstructive surgeries.

In cases where disfigurement is severe, settlements can easily reach seven figures. We may be biased, but we recommend that burn victims seek the counsel of an experienced burn injury attorney to ensure their disfigurement and scarring are properly valued in their settlement.

Risk Factors Involving Burn Injuries

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there are a number of other risk factors for burns, including:

  • Occupations that increase exposure to fire;
  • Poverty, overcrowding and lack of proper safety measures;
  • Placement of young girls in household roles such as cooking and care of small children;
  • Underlying medical conditions, including epilepsy, peripheral neuropathy, and physical and cognitive disabilities;
  • Alcohol abuse and smoking;
  • Easy access to chemicals used for assault (such as in acid violence attacks);
  • Use of kerosene (paraffin) as a fuel source for non-electric domestic appliances; and
  • Inadequate safety measures for liquefied petroleum gas and electricity.

Types of Damages in Burn Injury Cases

In burn injury cases, various types of damages are considered when seeking compensation, each with its own significance and complexities. Understanding these types of damages is crucial for navigating the legal process and ensuring fair compensation.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are designed to compensate the burn victim for their losses and can include a wide range of expenses and impacts. Some common examples of compensatory damages in burn injury cases include:

  • Medical bills, including hospitalization, surgeries, and ongoing treatment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages and earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium (impact on spousal relationships)
  • Permanent disability or scarring

It’s important to work with an experienced burn injury attorney to ensure all applicable compensatory damages are included in your settlement demand.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the liable party for particularly egregious or intentional conduct and to deter similar behavior in the future.

However, punitive damages are rare and can be challenging to calculate. In most cases, pre-settlement funding focuses on the compensatory damages estimated by your attorney.

Unique Aspects of Burn Injury Cases

Burn injuries present a distinct set of challenges compared to other types of personal injury cases. Not only do they cause physical harm, but they also carry profound emotional and psychological implications.

Emotional Distress Claims

Burn injuries often result in significant emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These emotional impacts can be just as devastating as the physical injuries and are often compensated in burn injury settlements.

In our experience, emotional distress claims can account for a significant portion of the overall settlement, particularly in cases involving severe disfigurement or scarring. It’s crucial to work with an attorney who understands the full impact of emotional distress and can effectively advocate for your needs.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

If a burn injury occurs in the workplace, the victim may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers’ compensation claims often result in lower settlement amounts compared to personal injury lawsuits.

Additionally, legal funding options may be more limited in workers’ compensation cases. Loan representatives can help burn victims explore their options and determine the best course of action for their unique situation.

Jury Empathy in Burn Injury Cases

Burn injuries are often highly relatable to jurors, as most people have experienced a minor burn at some point in their lives. This relatability can lead to increased jury empathy and, in turn, higher settlement amounts compared to other types of personal injury cases.

Skilled burn injury attorneys understand how to effectively present the full impact of a burn injury to a jury, maximizing the potential for a substantial settlement or verdict.

Lawsuit Duration and Pre-Settlement Funding

It’s crucial to explore the different factors that can affect the timeline of burn injury lawsuits and the role of pre-settlement funding in providing much-needed relief to those awaiting fair compensation.

Understanding the lawsuit duration and the options for pre-settlement funding is essential for alleviating financial burdens and ensuring that burn injury victims can access the support they need, when they need it the most.

Factors Affecting Lawsuit Length

The length of a burn injury lawsuit can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the severity of the injuries, the complexity of the case, and the willingness of the liable party to settle.

In some cases, a settlement may be reached in a matter of months. However, more complex cases involving severe injuries or disputed liability can take several years to resolve. It’s important to work with an attorney who has experience navigating the complexities of burn injury cases and can provide a realistic timeline for your unique situation.

Financial Challenges During the Legal Process

The extended duration of many burn injury lawsuits can lead to significant financial challenges for victims and their families. Lost income, mounting medical bills, and everyday expenses can quickly deplete savings and max out credit cards.

In one case we encountered, a burn victim had to sell their home and move in with family members while awaiting the resolution of their lawsuit. The financial strain can be immense, and it’s not uncommon for victims to feel pressure to accept a lower settlement offer just to make ends meet.

Benefits of Pre-Settlement Funding

Pre-settlement funding can provide a lifeline for burn injury victims facing financial challenges during the legal process. By receiving a portion of the anticipated settlement in advance, victims can pay bills, cover medical expenses, and maintain their quality of life while awaiting the resolution of their case.

Takeaways and Next Steps

Burn injury settlements can vary widely depending on a range of factors, from the severity and location of the burn to the long-term impact on the victim’s quality of life. Understanding these factors and working with an experienced burn injury attorney are crucial steps in maximizing your potential settlement.

If you’re facing financial challenges while awaiting the resolution of your burn injury lawsuit, pre-settlement funding from Tribeca Lawsuit Loans can provide the support you need. Our loan representatives are here to help you explore your options and determine the best path forward.

Don’t let financial pressures force you to accept a lower settlement than you deserve. Contact Tribeca Lawsuit Loans today at 866-388-2288 to learn more about how we can help you pursue the compensation you need to move forward with your life.


What is the average settlement for a third-degree burn?

Third-degree burn settlements can vary widely, but it’s not uncommon for these cases to result in settlements of $500,000 or more. The exact amount will depend on factors such as the extent of the burn, the victim’s age and occupation, and the long-term impact on their quality of life.

Can I pursue a burn injury settlement if I was partially at fault for the accident?

In some cases, yes. Many states follow comparative negligence laws, which allow victims to pursue compensation even if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, the settlement amount may be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to the victim.

How long does it typically take to receive a burn injury settlement?

The timeline for a burn injury settlement can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the case and the willingness of the liable party to settle. Some cases may resolve in a matter of months, while others can take several years. An experienced burn injury attorney can provide a more accurate estimate based on the specifics of your case.

How can pre-settlement funding help me during my burn injury lawsuit?

Pre-settlement funding can provide much-needed financial support while you await the resolution of your burn injury lawsuit. By receiving a portion of your anticipated settlement in advance, you can pay bills, cover medical expenses, and maintain your quality of life without feeling pressured to accept a lower settlement offer.

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