Can I File a Claim for a Burn Injury After a Crash in New Jersey?
If you suffered a burn injury after a crash, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your damages. However, be aware there are some factors about New Jersey’s insurance laws that could impact the legal process.
Let our knowledgeable auto collision lawyers in New Jersey help you. Our attorneys understand the state’s complex insurance laws and are prepared to discuss your legal options during a free consultation. We do not charge you any fees while we work on your case, so there is no risk to you.
Below, we discuss the Garden State’s insurance laws, including what impact they may have on burn injury claims.
Types of Burn Injuries From Car Accidents
Vehicle fires do not occur often, but when they do the results can be dire. There are four types of burns that accident victims may experience:
- First-degree burns – only affect the outer layer of the skin and tend to be less severe
- Second-degree burns – both the first and second layers of skin are damaged
- Third-degree burns – destroy the skin’s outermost and second layers while penetrating the innermost layer of the skin
- Fourth-degree burns – the most severe of all burn injuries, as the burn invades all layers of the skin, muscles and nerve tissue
The deployment of an airbag in the vehicle can result in first or second-degree burns. Depending on the:
- Proximity to the airbag
- Amount of exposed skin
- Release of airbag chemicals
If your bare skin meets a heated surface, you may also experience burn injuries.
It is important to note that while gas-powered vehicles are more susceptible to catching fire in a crash, electric vehicle fires are more difficult to extinguish. The longer the fire burns, the higher the risk of suffering a burn injury.
How Do New Jersey Insurance Laws Affect Burn Injury Claims?
New Jersey is a no-fault state. This means accident victims must file a claim with their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance first. PIP should cover the costs of your medical bills. If you are unable to work, PIP may also provide compensation for your lost wages.
However, to recover compensation for things like pain and suffering and other non-economic damages, you must pursue compensation from the at-fault party. This means filing a third-party claim with the liability insurance of the driver who caused the crash.
In most states, accident victims can file a lawsuit when the liability insurance refuses to pay compensation. However, in New Jersey, the laws differ. Your right to sue is affected by the type of insurance policy you have.
Can I Sue After Suffering a Burn Injury?
If you have a basic insurance policy, you cannot sue to recover compensation for pain and suffering. There are some exceptions for victims who sustain injuries with long-lasting effects, such as permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Some burn injuries may fall under the umbrella of permanent scarring or disfigurement. If the burn was severe enough to cause nerve damage, it can also classify as a permanent injury.
This means you may be able to file a lawsuit for a burn injury even if you have a basic insurance policy. However, you must be able to prove the severity of your injuries and link them directly to the negligent actions of another driver.
What if My Burn Injuries Are Due to Vehicle Defects?
Millions of vehicles are recalled annually due to fire hazards. As recently as October 2022, KIA issued a new recall for its Model Year 2008-2009 KIA Sportage due to a continued risk of fire.
If a vehicle defect led to your burn injury, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle or the manufacturer of the defective part.
Our attorneys are prepared to help you throughout the complex legal process. Especially if you need to take on a product manufacturer. They often have more resources to find any reason to deny your claim.
Call an Experienced Lawyer Today
If you suffered a burn injury due to another party’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. With decades of experience and millions recovered on behalf of our clients, our attorneys are ready to help.*
We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim, and we do not charge you anything up front.
Call (800) 518-0508 to learn more.