Fire and burn injuries are the second leading cause of accidental deaths in children ages one to four, with approximately 3,000 children dying each year from burn injuries.
Even with careful adult supervision, events can get out of control, resulting in a tragic accident. Too often, neighbors, family friends, or others responsible for your child are careless, and this results in your child being seriously burned.
A child’s burn injury may have life-altering consequences. Second- and third-degree burns require intensive medical treatment initially, normally at a specialized burn center. Treatment may require extended periods of in-patient therapy. Often multiple surgeries are required. Special pressure garments are often used. Plastic surgeries to restore cosmetic appearance may be required as well as counseling and emotional therapies which could be needed shortly after a burn injury and in the future.
Almost every burn case requires investigation beyond what the police or sheriff’s office provides. An early investigation can make a big difference in how your case turns out in the end. Obtaining photographs of the injuries and the scene and witness statements should be done as soon as possible after an injury while memories are fresh.
Paying for needed medical care is a primary concern for any parent. Medical care may not be the largest component of your child’s injury claim, but it is a significant part. If you do not have medical insurance, we may be able to arrange for doctors and other medical providers to wait for payment until your child’s case is settled. This is through the use of a Letter of Protection, which promises the provider will be paid from the proceeds of any recovery for your child. Most medical providers will not see an injury victim who has no medical insurance unless the person is represented by an attorney to work out the Letter of Protection.
Even if you are fortunate enough to have medical insurance, do you understand your insurance company’s right to require reimbursement for the expenses they have paid from any recovery your child receives? Their reimbursement rights will differ depending upon whether they are an employer-sponsored plan or one you obtained on your own. Dealing with their reimbursement rights requires special knowledge of Florida and Federal laws.
Finally, many burn cases are brought against a homeowner based on their negligence. This is common in fireworks injuries as well as other burn situations. Claims against a homeowner may be covered by their homeowner’s insurance. Often, it will provide insurance coverage for acts the homeowner commits away from their home. Some policies will also have a small medical payments coverage amount.
Remember, any insurance company, who insures the person responsible for a burn injury, will be aware of the potential catastrophic losses your child could suffer. Don’t be lulled into believing they will treat you fairly simply because the injured person is your child, regardless of their age. They will assign a highly trained professional adjuster to investigate the claim immediately. They will be interviewing all potential witnesses and have investigators at the scene, gathering evidence, and taking photographs. They will likely contact you to attempt to get a statement from you about the accident. They will generally ask you to give them access to your child’s medical reports and sign one or more other forms.