Burn Injury Attorney


Burn injuries are among the most traumatic and painful injuries anyone can endure. Sotiriou Wilmowski, burn injury attorneys in St. Louis, can help you seek the financial compensation you need to get your life back on track. 

Burn injuries are an unfortunate reality for countless people. Attorneys Deme Sotiriou and Tom Wilmowski understandsthe challenges you may face and the impact a burn injury can have on your daily life. We also understands that while no amount of money can truly compensate you for all the suffering or make up for the horror of a burn injury, obtaining adequate monetary compensation can relieve some of your financial burdens.

With an office in St. Louis, Deme and Tom serve accident victims and their families throughout Missouri and Southern Illinois. With more than 35 years of combined experience providing dedicated legal counsel, Deme and Tom have successfully won multi-million-dollar cases for their clients.

If you are ready to discuss your case with Deme and Tom, feel free to reach out today and schedule your free consultation. Call 314-925-1000 or email us today. 

Types Of Burn Injuries

Medically speaking, a burn injury is defined as severe skin and tissue damage resulting from various external sources such as heat, electricity, radiation, or chemicals, according to Mayo Clinic. This injury occurs when the body comes into contact with substances or energies strong enough to disrupt the integrity of the skin and underlying tissues. The damage from a burn can range from minor superficial effects to life-threatening conditions.

Burn injuries are classified into degrees, with each degree signifying the depth and severity of the injury:

  1. First-degree burns (superficial burns). These burns affect only the outermost layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. These burns are characterized by redness, minor inflammation (swelling), pain, and dryness (without blisters). An example of a first-degree burn would be a mild sunburn.
  2. Second-degree burns (partial thickness burns). These burns involve the epidermis and also part of the dermis layer of skin. They present symptoms such as intense redness, swelling, pain, and blistering. These burns can result from more severe sunburns, scalding liquids, or brief contact with hot surfaces.
  3. Third-degree burns (full thickness burns). These burns are the most severe, extending through every layer of skin. The affected areas can look white or charred. Other characteristics include severe pain (or sometimes no pain due to nerve damage), a leathery texture, and a lack of elasticity. These burns typically result from prolonged contact with heated objects, chemicals, electricity, or fire.

In addition to “degrees,” which indicate the depth and severity of the injury, burn injuries are also classified by the agent or substance that caused damage to the skin. These include:

  • Thermal burns. Thermal burns are caused by external heat sources that raise the temperature of the skin, causing tissue cell damage or charring. Common sources of thermal burns include fire or flames, hot metals, liquids, or steam, and scalds from boiling liquids.
  • Radiation burns. Radiation burns are caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays from the sun or other sources of radiation, such as X-rays or radiation therapy for cancer treatment. Characteristics of radiation burns include redness similar to sunburn, peeling skin, and possible blistering depending on exposure duration.
  • Chemical burns. As the name implies, chemical burns result from contact with household or industrial chemicals in a liquid, solid, or gas form. The severity of a chemical burn depends on the strength of the chemical, the duration of contact, and whether the skin was intact or had cuts or abrasions.
  • Electrical burns. Electrical burns occur upon contact with electric current. They can result in both external and internal injuries and present unique challenges, including entrance and exit wounds, cardiac arrhythmias, and possible muscle, nerve, and tissue destruction. These burns may appear minor on the surface, but the internal damage can be severe.

Burns are complex and require medical attention to mitigate complications and promote healing. It is crucial to identify the severity and type of burn to apply the appropriate first aid and acquire the necessary medical treatment.

Common Causes Of Burn Injuries

According to the American Burn Association, burn injuries remain one of the leading causes of unintentional injury and death in the United States. Each year, approximately 100,000 people visit emergency departments across the country for burn-related injuries. Some of the frequent sources of burns that can unexpectedly disrupt lives include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents. High-velocity impacts can lead to fires or explosions, exposing occupants of vehicles to intense heat and flames and causing significant burn injuries. Burn injuries are a common occurrence in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents.
  • Electrocution. Exposure to electrical currents – whether from industrial equipment or household items – can cause electrical burns. These burns not only affect the skin but can also cause internal damage.
  • Defective products. Faulty electronics, kitchen appliances, or other consumer products when malfunctioning can overheat or spark, leading to burns to the users.
  • Chemical accidents. Chemical burns occur when skin or eyes come into contact with corrosive substances like acids or alkalis. These are common in industrial workplaces or even at home with the mishandling of cleaning products.
  • Apartment or hotel fires. Fires in residential buildings can quickly spread, especially without proper smoke detectors or fire escapes, causing burn injuries to residents and guests.
  • Work fires. Individuals working in environments with high risks of fire hazards, such as kitchens, laboratories, or industrial plants, can experience burns due to accidental fires.
  • Gas explosions. Natural gas leaks within domestic or commercial premises can lead to devastating explosions, causing severe thermal and blast injuries to anyone nearby.

Sotiriou Wilmowski handles all types of burn injury claims regardless of the cause of the injury. With an office in St. Louis, Deme and Tom take cases throughout the state of Missouri and also in Southern Illinois.

Determining Liability For Burn Injuries

If you suffered a burn injury, the success of your claim for compensation hinges on your ability to establish someone else’s liability for your injury. Determining liability for a burn injury may involve:

  1. Investigating the incident to understand what caused your injury;
  2. Identifying potentially liable parties in your case;
  3. Preparing for possible defense strategies employed by the liable party (e.g., the manufacturer of a faulty product may argue that the product was used improperly);
  4. Determining the severity of the injury; and
  5. Having a burn injury attorney build a legal case for you.

Proving liability for burn injuries can be more complicated than it might seem at first sight. That is why injured victims and their families often need the services of a skilled attorney who can determine whether they have a case and navigate the legal process from start to finish.

Let us help you

As former insurance defense lawyers, personal injury attorneys Deme Sotiriou and Tom Wilmowski of Sotiriou Wilmowski pride themselves on using their inside knowledge of the insurance industry to obtain maximum value — and often more — for their clients.

Damages For Catastrophic Burn Injuries

Not all burn injuries are considered “catastrophic.” Whether or not a burn injury is catastrophic depends on the severity of the damage and the long-term effects such as chronic pain, limited mobility, permanent scarring, and disfigurement.

Regardless of the severity of the burn injury, the injured victim may be entitled to compensation in the form of damages. According to the American Bar Association, “damages” refers to monetary compensation that the law permits the injured victim to recover. There are two types of damages for burn injuries:

  • Economic damages compensate the victim for quantifiable monetary expenses and losses. Examples include medical bills and costs, loss of earning potential, lost wages, property damage, and others.
  • Non-economic damages compensate the victim for losses that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Examples include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and others.

Identifying the recoverable damages and determining the appropriate amount of compensation may require the assistance of a burn injury attorney. Sotiriou Wilmowski has represented clients with burn injuries of various degrees and understands the possible ways to maximize compensation in such cases.

How To Prove My Burn Injury Case

Most burn injury cases are based on the principle of “negligence,” which the American Bar Association defines as a failure to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in similar circumstances.

If you have suffered a burn injury due to someone else’s negligence or a defective product, you may have the right to compensation. The other party’s negligence can be proven by establishing four elements:

  1. Duty of care. First, you must demonstrate that the defendant (the person you are filing a complaint or lawsuit against) owed you a duty of care in the situation that led to your burn injury. This could mean showing that an employer was responsible for providing a safe working environment or that a manufacturer had a duty to produce a safe product.
  2. Breach of duty. Then, you need to prove that the defendant failed to meet their duty of care. Evidence may include testimonies about visible hazards in the workplace that were not addressed by your employer or reports detailing a product’s known defects.
  3. Causation. Show that the breach of duty directly caused your injury. The key is linking your burns directly to the negligence or defective product, which can typically be shown by demonstrating medical records and photos from the scene of the incident.
  4. Damages. Finally, you must prove that you suffered actual damages as a result of the injury. Medical bills, receipts for medications, proof of lost wages, and documentation related to pain and suffering (e.g., a daily journal detailing your pain and the injury’s impact on your life) all support the extent of your damages.

Sotiriou Wilmowski can help you build a strong case and establish the negligence and liability of the individual or entity who caused your burn injury.

Burn Injury Attorney Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As someone who suffered a burn injury, you may have many questions regarding your rights and aspects of your potential legal case for compensation. While the FAQ section below may answer some of your questions, you may need a personalized case evaluation by a burn injury attorney to receive further guidance.

Who can sue for a burn injury?

A person who suffers a burn injury can file a lawsuit against the negligent party to recover damages. If the victim who suffers a burn injury subsequently dies, their surviving family members can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who can be held responsible for a burn injury?

Responsibility for a burn injury can vary depending on the specifics of the case. Potentially liable parties may include individuals (e.g., car drivers), corporations, manufacturers of faulty products, employers, or even property owners.

Is the existence of insurance coverage important?

Yes, insurance coverage can potentially play a vital role in burn injury cases. It can affect the potential for receiving compensation from those responsible. Insurance policies may cover costs associated with medical treatment, rehabilitation, and lost wages.

What is the average settlement value for a burn injury claim?

Settlement values for burn injury claims can differ widely based on various factors, such as the severity of the burn, the extent of medical treatment required, and the long-term impact of the injury. As such, there is no “average” settlement value, as each case must be individually assessed by a burn injury attorney.

When do you need a burn injury lawyer?

A burn injury lawyer’s legal expertise is crucial for navigating the complex legal system, understanding your rights, identifying potential compensation sources, negotiating with insurance companies, filing legal documents, and ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

How does a burn injury claim work?

A burn injury claim typically begins with a lawyer’s investigation of the incident to establish fault, document the injury and its impacts, and collect evidence. Your attorney will then negotiate with insurance companies or the defendant’s legal team to reach a settlement or prepare to take the case to trial.

Sotiriou Wilmowski: Consult with a Trusted Burn Injury Attorney

Sotiriou Wilmowski, burn injury attorneys based in St. Louis, Missouri, serve injury victims and their families throughout the state of Missouri and Southern Illinois. In their practice as lawyers, Deme and Tom have seen the devastating impact that burn injuries can have on one’s life. Deme and Tom are committed to helping their clients fight for maximum compensation from the responsible parties by any means necessary. Find out how Sotiriou Wilmowski might be able to help you in your unique situation by scheduling a free case evaluation.

Call 314-860-1644 or email us to get started.

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