When individuals sustain a burn injury, they may seek financial compensation by filing a burn injury claim or lawsuit against the party responsible for the injury. When pursuing a burn injury claim or lawsuit, the victim is also frequently referred to as the plaintiff. The plaintiff has the burden of proof. This means that victims and plaintiffs must provide sufficient evidence to prove fault on the part of the responsible party, known as the defendant. Gathering and providing burn lawsuit evidence is critical and must be done quickly. It can be a time-consuming, expensive and potentially difficult task. For this reason, burn injury victims should seek the representation of an experienced burn injury attorney immediately.
Burn Injury Evidence
In order to prove a burn injury claim and win a lawsuit, the plaintiff must provide reasonable proof of a specific set of elements in order to meet the legal requirements. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a legal duty to him. Then, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached that duty by doing something unreasonable or dangerous. This breach of duty must then be the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s burn injury. All elements must be proven in order to meet the burden of proof.
Duty of Care and Breach of Duty
For example, a plaintiff in a stove burn case may allege that the manufacturer owed a duty to provide customers with a safe device, that under reasonable and foreseeable circumstances, would not catch on fire and create a danger to the user. By manufacturing a stove that would catch on fire and therefore be dangerous, the manufacturer may be seen to have breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff.
Direct or Proximate Cause
In addition to acting negligently and breaching the duty of care, it must be proven that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, the plaintiff in a defective stove case must prove that the stove’s defect was the direct or proximate cause of the burns sustained.
The plaintiff must provide sufficient evidence of the injury. This is often established through the presentation of photographs, videotape, medical records, hospital or direct care bills, and other factual documents surrounding the burn injury. The plaintiff may not be eligible to recover compensation if he or she cannot reasonably prove a burn injury or financial loss due to a burn injury. For this reason, it is important that all aspects of injury or loss are documented.
Burn Injury Liability
The majority of burn injury claims and lawsuits are based on the victim asserting that the defendant’s actions or conduct was dangerous or negligent, which in turn caused the plaintiff’s injury. Negligence refers to actions or behaviors that are careless, thoughtless or dangerous. Negligence can occur when an individual or entity acts in an inappropriate manner, such as manufacturing a defective stove that catches fire, despite evidence that burn injuries may likely occur. Negligence may also occur if the defendant fails to act in an appropriate manner, such as a manufacture failing to warn users of a potentially hazardous quality of an otherwise safe stove, or failing to recall an unsafe stove when it has reason to know that users could be injured.
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Clermont, Kevin M. “Litigation realities redux.” Notre Dame Law Review July 2009: 1919+. Academic OneFile. Web. 5 Oct. 2013.
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Trevor, Eunice. “Representing a burn survivor.” Trial Sept. 1996: 40+. Academic OneFile. Web. 5 Oct. 2013.