Personal injury

Skillfully deal with burn cases


In this article, Casey takes us through the details of burn injury cases, drawing on a wealth of personal experience gained through representing numerous clients in this field. From analyzing the dangers posed by unreliable smoke detectors to a look at the burn injury cases that proved to be the most formative of his career, Casey provides a comprehensive examination of this vital area of ​​personal injury law and shares a glimpse into where Langston & Lott is and looks to further expand its expertise.

I know you handle all types of personal injury cases, but you have developed a niche in burn injury cases. What are the most common accidents that cause burn injuries?

We probably deal with more propane gas explosions than anything else. Propane explosions are more common than people realize. We have also represented people who have been burned by hot liquids or toxic chemicals. Faulty products such as electronic cigarettes or portable propane cylinders can explode and cause serious injury. Home appliances such as water heaters, stoves, and space heaters are the cause of many residential fires each year.

Sometimes you don’t know what caused a fire, but you know that injury or death from the fire could have been prevented. For example, the fire investigators we hire to provide us with expert opinions on the cause of a fire are sometimes unable to tell us how the fire started. They can always tell us where the fire started—for example, on the west wall of the living room—but they can’t always tell us exactly how the fire started. Maybe it was the wrong wiring. Maybe someone dropped a candle. You can’t always know, because sometimes a lot of evidence is destroyed in a fire. But I’ve never represented anyone who’s been burned in a residential fire where the smoke detectors are working properly, because those people get out in the nick of time.

Therefore, when someone is burned in a house or apartment fire, there is a good chance that the smoke detector was not working properly. And if the condition of the smoke detectors is someone else’s responsibility – for example, the landlord – you may have a cause of action against the landlord for a safety violation. Smoke detector manufacturers have advertising materials that say:“Every second counts”And they are right. Research has shown that delaying the release of detectors significantly increases the risk of serious injury or death.

I’ve never represented anyone who’s been burned in a residential fire where smoke detectors are working properly, because these people get out in the nick of time.

What are the most common reasons why smoke alarms are not working properly?

Oftentimes, this is because the detectors are not connected to a power source and the battery is either dead, not installed properly, or not installed at all. Sometimes they are installed correctly, but they don’t work because they are outdated. All smoke detectors have an expiration date. Some models last up to five years and some as long as 10. Alarm sensors wear out, and dust and cobwebs make it difficult for alarms to detect smoke, so it’s important to keep them clean and replace them before they expire.

Even if the detector is old and installed properly, it may not detect the fire in time if it is not an assembled unit. There are three types of smoke detectors: ionizing, photoelectric, and combination units. You really need a bundled unit if you want complete protection. Ionization and photoelectric detectors have different sensing technologies, which means they perform differently for different types of fires. Scientific tests have shown that ionization detectors can fail to provide a timely warning about slow-growing or smoldering fires, even if smoke levels are extremely high. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and many other agencies recommend installing both types of smoke detectors or combination units, but sometimes landlords sacrifice safety to save a few dollars.

What led you to focus on personal injury and wrongful death as areas of specialization?

Early in my career, I would take whatever came through the door. Family law, criminal defense – pretty much anything. It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I’m going to be a master of all trades, I’ll be a master of none. I knew I had to focus on a specific area if I was going to get to where I wanted to be. She hated divorce and child custody issues. Personal injury has been by far the most rewarding practice area for me.

I still have a picture on my desk of a little girl I was posing in badly burned condition. She had very bad scars on her face and needed laser skin resurfacing treatments, but Medicaid didn’t cover them. They said it was “cosmetics”. I knew how desperately she needed these treatments, and fortunately, we were able to convince the burn center to take over the proceeds from our civil case, so she could get the treatment she needed right away. We eventually got a very good recovery for that little girl, and we had to get the settlement court’s approval because she was a minor.

When I saw the little girl at the settlement hearing, I couldn’t believe my eyes. You can’t even tell that it burned. It’s amazing what those treatments did for her. She gave me one of her last school pictures where she was smiling from ear to ear, and I fell on her back. That picture has been on my desk for the past eight years. When you see things like this, it makes you feel really good about what you’re doing.

How do you measure your success?

On a professional level, I measure success by the impact I have through my law firm and in my community. I want to have a positive impact on as many people as possible, whether they are my customers, employees or members of my community. This is the macro level, but the means to achieve this end are more detailed. You can be the best lawyer in the world, but if you don’t have any clients, you won’t have much influence. So, not only do you have to be a good lawyer, you also have to be good at attracting clients. You must be a good lawyer and a good businessman. As with any business, you need to set clear and specific goals, both in the short and long term. I measure my professional success against those goals.

When it comes to my personal life, I measure success in happiness and luxury, not in money. I know many rich people who are not happy so money doesn’t get you where you want. My family is very important to me, and I must be careful not to allow my desire for professional success to conflict with the more important goal of being a good husband and father. It’s hard to strike the right balance sometimes. But nothing makes me happier than being around Amanda and the kids, so if I can be a good husband and father to them, that’s a success in my book..

You can be the best lawyer in the world, but if you don’t have any clients, you won’t have much influence.

Do you have a specific career achievement that you are particularly proud of?

I have been fortunate enough to litigate many cases throughout my career that have had a significant impact, not only on the client we represent, but on the public as a whole. Some situations have a lasting impact and lead to positive change that extends beyond that condition.

Flame arresters are a great example. We have successfully brought wrongful death lawsuits against manufacturers of water heaters and gas canisters for failing to equip their products with flame arresters, which are safety devices designed to prevent the spread of fire and explosions in certain equipment. Now, gas water heaters and gas containers have flame arresters. I’m not saying it’s just because of us, but I think the plaintiffs’ bar as a whole led to this change. Plaintiffs’ lawyers sometimes get a bad rap, but I believe the work we do drives the creation of regulations that lead to safer products and workplaces. Like I said, I’ve been fortunate enough to be sued in several cases that have had this kind of effect.

But in regard to a particular instance or professional achievement of which I am particularly proud, I cannot point to just one. I think I’m proud of the whole trip. When I joined my father in 2005, we were a firm of four – two attorneys and two paralegals. Today, we are a team of 17 people and six attorneys. John Morgan says if you don’t grow, you die, and I believe that. There are many ways to measure growth, and it’s not just the number of people you hire. But I see consistent growth in our company year after year, and that’s something I’m very proud of. I believe that winners are in competition with themselves, and that self-improvement is a never-ending journey. My goal is to be better every year, and I think we’ve done that so far.

Can you share anything about your plans for career development in the latter half of 2023?

We take a closer look at other areas of practice that could be beneficial to our firm, such as employment law. We filed several WARN cases this quarter. The WARN Act, which stands for Worker Amendment and Retraining Notice, is a US labor law that provides protections for workers by requiring some employers to give advance notice of large-scale layoffs or plant closures. The primary purpose of the WARN Act is to give employees who are living off their paychecks enough time to prepare for the loss of income and to seek other employment opportunities.

Unfortunately, we have recently seen a lot of large scale layoffs where employers have not adhered to the WARN. We looked at those cases and decided to go into this field of training because we believe it is an under-served field. Jack Simpson is in charge of those issues for us, and he’s doing a great job.

If you want to achieve sustainable success in our industry, you must be able to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances. I always do my best to look for other opportunities, because I don’t want to miss out on the ‘next big thing’. Personal injury is still our livelihood, and probably always will be, but the biggest fee I ever got came from an antitrust case. You can’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and that’s what we do with these WARN cases. I think it will be the “next big thing” for us.

Casey Lott, Managing Partner

Langston & Lott, PLC

100 South Main Street, Bonneville, MS 38829, USA

Tel: +1 662-728-9733


Casey Lott He is a highly experienced personal injury attorney who is actively involved in litigation across a variety of areas, including personal injury, product liability, burn cases and auto accident cases. With his extensive experience leading class action lawsuits and multi-district cases, Casey has earned a number of accolades for his work, including Martindale-Hubbell®’s “AV Preeminent” peer-review rating, the highest possible rating for legal ability and ethical standards. He and his wife, Amanda, also offer several scholarships each year to students at Northeast Mississippi Community College through the Casey and Amanda Lott Scholarship and the Cynthia Langston Memorial Scholarship.

Langston and Lott It is a personal injury law firm based in Mississippi that operates internationally. Founded in 1964, the company is actively involved in litigation relating to catastrophic injury, personal injury, product liability, and car, motorcycle, and truck accidents. Langston & Lott has won and negotiated settlements against many of the country’s most prominent corporations and insurers, and has won multimillion-dollar awards on behalf of its clients.


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