Most of us remember the famous case of Liebeck vs McDonald’s that involved a woman suing the fast food chain after receiving serious burns from a spilled coffee. While the case was initially criticized as being frivolous, it was soon discovered that Liebeck suffered third-degree burns over 16 percent of her body. This case exposed the dangers of everyday products we use and often consume. It also sent a message that a person deserves compensation for things like burn injuries caused by consumer products.
A severe burn injury can lead to permanent scarring and even cause nerve damage. When this happens as a result of using a product, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. Let’s break down the different types of burn injuries and go over a few things you should know about product liability cases.
How Everyday Products Can Cause Burn Injuries
Heat isn’t the only way a product can cause a severe burn. There are plenty of common, household items that can potentially burn you if proper instructions aren’t provided or a defect is present. When this happens, the manufacturer of the product may be liable. Let’s look at some of the most common ways products can cause burns.
- Household products – Many cleaning products you use on a regular basis can cause chemical burns. Things such as bleach and surface cleaners with ammonia contain acids that can burn the skin. Swimming pool chlorine can also cause a chemical burn.
- Hot liquids – Many drinks you buy at restaurants can be harmful if spilled. These burn injuries (coffee burns) can happen if a cup is defective or the liquid was heated beyond what was necessary. Other products like microwavable soups can be very hazardous, especially to children.
- Appliances – Common household appliances such as vacuums, dryers, or irons can cause serious burn injuries. Many of these involve electrical burns due to product defects or improper labeling.
The Different Levels of Burn Injuries
Regardless of the type of burn injury you’ve sustained, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. If left untreated, a burn can lead to infection and sepsis, which is potentially life-threatening. The severity of a burn is determined by how much tissue was affected. There are three classifications.
- First-degree burns – These refer to minor burns that only affect the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and minor pain.
- Second-degree burns – These occur when the second layer of skin called the dermis is burned. In these cases, blisters may form initially and scarring could result. The pain is much more severe.
- Third-degree burns – These burns affect the fatty tissue below the skin. Burns of this degree can cause severe scarring and nerve damage.
Who’s Responsible for a Product Injury?
If you’ve sustained burn injuries caused by a defective product, the manufacturer is liable. A product liability attorney will need to examine the details of your case to determine if the product was, in fact, defective. Many times, a defective appliance contains faulty wiring that leads to electrical burns.
A product may also have been sold without proper warnings or instructions. Scalding can happen as a result of a defective coffee maker or hot water heater that doesn’t function properly.
Regardless of the reason, an attorney can seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and future pain and suffering.
Contact a New Jersey Burn Injury Attorney Today
A severe burn injury can lead to overwhelming medical bills and even permanent disability. If your injury was a result of a company’s defective product, you deserve full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages from missed work, and pain and suffering. Let the personal injury attorneys at Rosner Law Offices, P.C. help protect your rights. Call us today at (856) 457-6477 to schedule a free consultation.