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When a fire occurs on a piece of property, the incident frequently gives rise to a premises liability cause of action.  Any type of real estate may contain a hazard that gives rise to a fire, including commercial buildings, public property, a residence, or an apartment building. There are many reasons fires can occur. The most common source of fire is one of the following:

Who is responsible for paying an injured victim compensation for the losses he or she sustains?

Generally, in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.; an owner or occupier of the premises generally has a legal duty to keep the property clear of any unreasonable risk of injury for anyone who may enter it. The duty extends to such individuals as apartment tenants, shoppers in a store, diners at a restaurant, and other people who may be present at the premises. The justification of applying this duty is that the owner or occupier is in the best position to manage the property and ensure its safety. A visitor is not. Note however that a premises owner is not an insurer for any and all harm that occurs on the premises. The owner/occupier only has a reasonable duty of care to prevent harm that it knows about or should have known about. In cases where burn injuries were caused by the premises owner’s negligence, (such as for failure to maintain or employ functioning smoke detectors,) victims may be able to recover compensation for their burn injuries to address medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and other types of damages.

Extreme Nature of Burn Injuries

As with many types of personal injury, it is difficult to develop an accurate value of the pain and suffering a victim endures and the value of these cases typically varies depending on specific factors applicable in each case. However, considering the fact that the skin is the human body’s largest organ, and contains the most pain receptors in the human body, tissue and nerve damage on the skin and nerves can result in severe suffering. The following factors may be relevant in determining the level of compensation available to a victim:

  • Severity of the Burn: Burns are medically classified by the depth, size, and location of the injury. First- and second-degree burns accounting on a small portion of the total body are considered minor. Major burns would be those that cover more than 10%, and those classified as third- or fourth-degree would cover more than 5% of the body.
  • Medical Expenses for Treatment: A burn may require extensive treatment, even surgery, which come with high medical bills. Plus, there are the costs associated with future care, as future surgeries may be necessary for scarring.
  • Psychological Consequences to Victim: Burn victims often experience emotional and mental problems as a result of, yet secondary to, their injuries. Severe burns commonly lead to deep psychological problems, at times as a reaction to the extreme pain that burns cause. In addition, a victim who is seriously disfigured must endure the unfavorable scrutiny of others, who can sometimes be not so kind.


Burn injuries from car accidents are more common than many people assume. The types of bodily harm that first come to mind are bone fractures, head trauma, injuries to internal organs, whiplash, and similar wounds. Though burns do not typically top the list, they can be among the most painful, traumatic, and life-changing. The long term effects, including scarring and disfigurement, often lead to emotional distress in addition to the physical pain. If you or a loved one suffered burns in a Maryland auto accident, here are some of the basics you need to know about these injuries.

Types of Burn Injuries

Burns can range from a minor sunburn to life-threatening, even fatal, injuries. Medical experts classify burn injuries into four classifications.

  • First Degree: These burns are typically mild, as they only affect the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. The skin will appear dry, red, and sensitive to the touch. The wound usually heals in three to five days, but many patients require medical attention to assist with pain management.
  • Second Degree: Depending on how deep the injury penetrates the skin, second degree burns are classified as either partial or full thickness. The epidermis and layer of skin underneath, termed the dermis, are both affected by a partial thickness burn. Blisters often develop, appearing deep pink or red; however, the skin turns pale when a slight amount of pressure is applied. A partial burn injury may take up to 21 days or more to fully heal, but skin grafting is not necessary and the scarring is minimal. A full thickness second degree burn will penetrate the entire epidermis and most of the dermis layer of skin underneath. There may be minor to extensive nerve damage, which actually serves to minimize the pain for a victim. However, skin graft surgery is usually necessary, scarring can be severe, and the recovery period is lengthy.
  • Third Degree: These burns are extremely critical and require extensive medical treatment over a long healing process. All layers of skin are destroyed, and there may be damage to underlying bones, muscles, and tendons. Again, the pain for a victim may be limited because the nerve endings have been obliterated. The skin appears leathery or charred, and the color may range from ashy grey to white.
  • Fourth Degree: The most serious types of burns are often fatal, as the injury penetrates muscle, subcutaneous fat, bone, and internal organs under the skin. If the victim survives, he or she will still suffer significant scarring and disfigurement.

Medical Conditions That Accompany Serious Burns

Even a minor burn can lead to health complications if not treated properly, either by seeking medical care or using over-the-counter solutions. The skin is the human body’s natural barrier, preventing disease, bacteria, and dangerous microorganisms from entering. A burn destroys that protection.


A burn makes a victim vulnerable to infection, and the situation is further complicated by the fact that infection and burns have similar symptoms. The skin around a burn is warm to the touch and sensitive – these are also typical signs of infection. There are other symptoms to carefully monitor:

  • Change in the color of the burn injury or surrounding skin;
  • Swelling and a purple discoloration;
  • A green-ish, mucus-like discharge or pus;
  • Fever;
  • Change in thickness of the burn, where it extends further into the skin;
  • A general change in the way the victim feels.


Serious burns result in fluid being lost through the damaged skin, so a victim may become severely dehydrated. In extreme cases, dehydration can lead to shock, which is a life-threatening medical condition. Often, emergency medical treatment through intravenous fluids is necessary. Some indications of dehydration are:

  • Extreme thirst;
  • Dizziness when rising to a standing position, from sitting or lying down;
  • General lightheadedness and weakness;
  • Dry skin and tongue;
  • Reduced urination.

Causes of Burn Injuries in Car Accidents

There are three primary sources of burns from an auto collision:

  • Heat Burns: Car accidents can cause a fuel tank to rupture, producing a fuel-based fire. Where a victim comes into direct contact with flames or a hot surface, there may be heat burn injuries.
  • Electrical Burns: This burn may occur when electrical current passes through the victim’s body. Modern vehicles incorporate many types of electrical systems that can lead to electrical burns; plus, if a vehicle strikes a utility pole, any downed electrical wires may cause injuries.
  • Chemical Burns: The most common scenario of a chemical burn is when a victim is involved in an accident with a truck carrying hazardous substances. When the cargo containers are ruptured, the resulting chemical spill may cause serious injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury through no fault of their own, please contact us today for a free consultation.

Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

Fadie Mohammad
Fadie Mohammad
14:54 08 Jan 19
Worked with Sarah Treuhaft (Paralegal) when retained Bob Katz's office. Sarah was absolutely amazing to work with, she was very professional and prompt with everything she did. She would respond to any inquiries I had immediately and never hesitated to hop on the phone to clarify or assist with anything, regardless of how early or late it was. I definitely highly recommend her and this law office.
Kelly Kess Malone
Kelly Kess Malone
15:50 20 Nov 18
Very helpful paralegals and attorney assistants. Also informative on various types of cases. Reasonably priced for the work that they provide.
Brittany Peterson
Brittany Peterson
08:19 17 Nov 18
Had a very awesome experience fast settlements... Communication was a A+ ...Strongly recommend Mr.Katz. !!! Ms. Robin made me felt like family was always there when i needed her and when i had a question.
Yarnell Goodwin
Yarnell Goodwin
23:38 15 Nov 18
Got a little more settlement money than expected. Was provided great service and prompt responses. I greatly appreciate it!
Ashley Poole
Ashley Poole
01:05 08 Nov 18
Attorney Bob Katz and his staff are highly recommend. Customer Service was impeccable. Every phone call and email was responded to in a timely manner. Natalie Ulrich was very professional, helpful and thorough every step of the way, which resulted in a stress free experience. I will recommend this law firm to family and friends!
Tania Jefferson
Tania Jefferson
17:51 06 Nov 18
Customer service was A+. All questions were answered promptly and information was shared appropriately. Concerns were addressed and I was made aware of all updates on my case. I would whole heartedly recommend this firm.
edward Robinson
edward Robinson
03:00 06 Nov 18
I highly recommend Mr. Katz and his staff. They were friendly, compassionate and really showed they had their clients best interest at heart. There was never a time you called them they didn't respond or returned your calls and answer your questions.They took the worry, and stress and turn it into reassurance. They were diligent and just down right professional. My wife and I really thank God for allowing us to cross paths on a professional business experience. Ms. Rebecca Slatery is the most courteous, compassionate soul. We wish you all peace, love and blessings. Thank you for your service.
20:11 31 Oct 18
I decided to use this firm again for an accident I was involved in. As always they were professional and caring. Rebecca slattery was the paralegal assigned to my case and she was professional and kept me up to date with everything. I would recommend this firm to friends and family!
Cedric Jones
Cedric Jones
19:04 23 Oct 18
Erica Z is amazing with keeping you to date and staying communication with you during the entire process. Meghan Young was a wonderful lawyer made me feel extremely comfortable in the courtroom and she also fights for the best possible outcome for you..GREAT LAW FIRM
Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
16:44 23 Oct 18
It was a great experience being taken care of by Rebecca Slattery and Meghan Young, they helped me resolve my case and were very courteous and professional. Highly recommend working with this law firm
Soun Gil
Soun Gil
21:35 17 Oct 18
Ms. Park helped me out through my whole accident process. She took her time with me and made sure I understood everything. I would recommend to her all of my friends if they were to get into any accident.
Yejin Chung
Yejin Chung
15:40 12 Oct 18
I highly recommend. My family’s experience with this office was great. Christina Franetovich was very helpful throughout the whole process, which made this experience less stressful. She responded to my questions immediately and made sure that I understood everything.
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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