Many car crashes, especially large vehicle collisions, cause third- or fourth-degree burns. Third-degree burns destroy the skin, and fourth-degree burns sear bones. These injuries are not just difficult to surgically correct, they also require months or years of physical therapy.
As a result, the average burn injury car crash hospital bill is more than $1.6 million. If there are any complications, the cost is exponentially higher. The extended recovery time also means substantial lost work, along with unbelievable pain and suffering. Once the victim recovers, permanent scars and disfigurement usually remain.
A Rockford personal injury attorney can usually obtain substantial compensation in serious burn cases. Many of these claims settle on favorable terms before the victim/plaintiff even files court paperwork.
Dealing with Hospital Bills
Medical attention is usually a top priority. Many local trauma centers lack the resources to properly treat these injuries. Many times, the victim must go to a specialty burn center miles away from their home. This kind of treatment is quite expensive. Many times, the victim’s health insurance company refuses to cover these expenses. Even if that’s not the case, the deductibles and copays can be crippling.
Our attorneys send letters of protection to medical providers. These providers agree to defer billing until the case is resolved. Letters of protection allow attorneys to negotiate with physicians for lower fees, allowing the victim to keep more of the settlement money.
Prompt medical attention is not only important for your health, it’s also important for your legal claim. If local doctors misdiagnose the extent of the burn injury, it could be difficult to recover additional costs later.
What to Expect in a Winnebago County Burn Claim
Once medical treatment is at least substantially complete, an attorney can calculate a claim’s settlement value. This figure must include all medical treatment costs and other economic losses – such as lost wages. Additionally, the settlement value must account for non-economic damages, such as emotional distress.
Typically, attorneys use multipliers to calculate non-economic damages. In a serious burn case, an attorney might demand three or four times the economic losses. Other factors, such as the strength of the plaintiff’s evidence and the presence of any insurance company defenses, could affect this calculation.
If liability is reasonably clear, insurance companies have a legal duty to negotiate in good faith and quickly resolve the matter. Unfortunately, there is usually some liability question.
In these cases, the claim must go to court. Typically, insurance company lawyers file pretrial motions. These motions ask the judge to throw the case out of court. The discovery phase usually comes next. Many cases settle at this point.
Next, unresolved cases usually go to mediation. A neutral third party tries to bring the two sides together on a financial settlement. If both parties negotiate with open minds, mediation is usually successful.
Only a small number of cases go to trial. If they get this far, the victim and plaintiff must establish each element of a negligence case by a preponderance of the evidence.
Count on Tenacious Attorneys
Burn claims are some of the most expensive personal injury claims. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. Home and hospital visits are available.