Navigating Burn Injury Costs: Expert Insights from Attorney Paul Samakow

Photo Credit: Paul Samakow Law Firm

Please be Careful, Don’t Get Burned Twice: The High Cost of Caring for Burn Injuries 

Unlike some injuries that require a short period of medical attention, and then get better, burn injuries, the serious ones, often require extensive and perhaps long-term medical and other types of care. The real cost of this care can be astronomical.

The path to recovery from burn-injuries can be long and costly. Putting the physical and psychological pain aside, the financial burden can be enormous.  In the United States, burn-related medical costs (per the American Burn Association) exceed $1.5 billion per year, and indirect costs exceed $5 billion per year. The average cost of a burn-related hospital stay is $24,000, more than double the cost of non-burn related stays.

Why are burn injuries so expensive to treat? 

 Moderate to severe burns can damage many systems in the body, creating varied and multiple medical problems. This is what makes them so expensive to treat. Some of the injuries that result from burns include:

Damage to the outer layer (epidermis) of the skin; Nerve damage; Bacterial infection, which may lead to a bloodstream infection (sepsis); Body fluid losses; Dangerously low body temperature; Muscle, ligament, and tendon damage; Scars or ridged areas or keloids; Bone and joint problems, such as when scar tissue causes the shortening and tightening of skin, muscles or tendons (contractures); Eye/vision damage; and Breathing system problems.

When injuries are severe, life altering, or catastrophic, they will likely require many medical and mental-health professionals to treat the survivor to help with the various phases of care. After

Emergent Care, Acute Care and Rehabilitative Care, continuing expenses can include daily medications like painkillers and antibiotics, blood transfusions, wound dressings, pressure bandages, any number and types of therapies, and more.

With all this considered, the enormity of the real and actual costs of burn care, when the injury is due to someone else’s neglect, a company’s neglect, or a product malfunction, knowing the survivor’s rights is essential. A survivor needs to hire an experienced burn injury attorney. 

I currently represent a previously completely healthy 44-year-old woman who suffered severe 3rd degree burns over 40% of her body. She was at a tanning salon and the tanning bed was malfunctioning. She had several horribly painful debridement procedures and skin-grafts. The complications led to heart issues. Her medical bills currently total over $500,000.00.

I currently also represent a man who went through a popular fast-food restaurant’s drive-thru. He ordered hot coffee, and the attendant did not properly fashion the lid. The coffee spilled onto his shorts and spilled onto all parts of his private area. The temperature of the coffee was exceedingly hot (over 180 degrees), and not fit for consumption. He has not had the ability to have intimate relations for over one year, and he has permanent scarring. He is highly distressed because now he does not want a potential partner to see his scars, and he fears he might never now marry, and thus never have children.

Psychological Distress  

 Most people experience some degree of psychological distress after a burn injury, some more so than others. Of greatest concern is the psychological trauma children suffer. Kids can have problems in school settings where simple stares from other children or bullying comments can compound an already fragile situation.


Unfortunately, complications from burn injuries happen more often than not. Common complications are:

– Scarring, disfigurement, and contracture.

– Infections. Over one-third (35 percent) of hospitalized burn survivors experience one or more infections, and sometimes organ failure due to the infections.

– Skin graft failure or wounds that are slow to heal.

– Breathing system (inhalation) problems.

Non-medical costs can be substantial 

 Upon return home from the hospital the family vehicle or the home may require costly modifications. Additionally, medical equipment such as walkers or wheelchairs, orthotics, and prosthetics, along with home health care, may be needed and can cause mounting bills. Lost income can be devastating, particularly if the survivor was the family’s “breadwinner.”


 1.   Be careful!

2.   Hire An Attorney – this is not a little fender bender that the insurance company will pay.

3.   Be careful!

4.   Read 1-3 again

You may obtain my book, TWICE BURNED, for free, by going to, or by calling me, and I’ll send it right out to you.  My number is 833-MY-BURNS.

Best wishes to you,

Paul Samakow 

National Burn Attorney