What Legal Theories can You use to Recover Compensation for Burn Injuries?
Have you suffered severe burns in an accident? Did someone else's negligence cause your severe burn injuries? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Determining how to seek compensation for your injuries is an important first step in recovering compensation. There are several different legal theories as to how to recover compensation for burn injuries in North Carolina. The most common legal theories are intentional torts, negligence, and product liability. If you have questions about bringing a lawsuit based on a burn injury, contact one of our personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today.Intentional Torts Cases for Burn Injuries
Many different fires are started intentionally. When a person starts a fire in a commercial building, residential building, or another building, they are legally responsible for the injuries they cause. If you are suing someone for an intentional tort, you will need to prove that they took intentional acts that led to your injuries. You will need to prove that the defendant did not have the authority, license, or permission to commit the intentional action of those circumstances.
For example, hitting someone in a boxing match is acceptable under the circumstances. However, hitting someone you work with in an office is not acceptable and would be an intentional tort. What happens when someone starts a bonfire in his or her backyard and the bonfire ends up spreading to the neighbor's house? Unless you could prove that the defendant intended the bonfire to spread to the neighbor's house, you will likely need to sue using the legal theory of negligence, not under intentional torts. You may be entitled to punitive damages as well in an intentional tort case.The Elements in an Intentional Tort
The key difference between negligence cases and intentional tort cases is that in an intentional tort case, you must prove that the plaintiff intended to set a fire knowing it could cause injuries. To succeed in an intentional tort lawsuit, you will need to prove the following elements:
- Harmful/offensive contact
In a product liability lawsuit, a defective product caused the fire or explosion that resulted in the burn injuries. For example, a toaster may have had faulty electrical wiring that caused it to catch fire and cause an explosion. In a product liability lawsuit, a plaintiff can sue anyone who is in the "chain of distribution" of that toaster. Any business that plays a part in the chain of distribution may be held liable for the burn injuries caused by the defective product.
Any person or entity that played a part in the creation, manufacture, or sale of the product before it came into your possession could be part of the lawsuit. Typically, product liability lawsuits are one of two different types:
- The product that caused the fire suffered from a design or manufacturing defect that caused the fire that caused your injuries
- The product did not come with an adequate warning as to its dangers
Product manufacturers have a duty to provide warnings or instructions when it comes to any dangerous aspects of the product. Product liability lawsuits tend to be more complex than other types of personal injury lawsuits. Unlike negligence lawsuits, product liability lawsuits require evidence that the creation or design of a commercial good is inherently unsafe. The plaintiff must prove one of the following:
- The warning on the product or the product itself was defective
- You were using the product in a reasonable manner
- You were injured while using the product
- A product defect caused the injury
Most lawsuits involving burn injuries are filed under the theory of negligence. When you cannot prove who intended to start the fire, you may need to file a negligence lawsuit for your burn injuries. In a negligence lawsuit, you will need to prove that the defendant acted in an unreasonable way under the circumstances. You will need to prove that the defendant did not meet the standard of care that a reasonable person would have met in a similar situation.
There are four main elements to prove in a negligence lawsuit for a burn injury, mainly, duty, breach, causation, and damages. As the plaintiff, you must prove that the defendant breached his or her duty of reasonable care and that the breach caused the defendant's injuries. Finally, you will need to prove that you suffered actual damages.Contact Our Experienced Lawyers Today