Here’s what you should know about workers’ compensation if you’ve suffered a burn injury at work. No matter how minor they are or may seem, burns are a very painful sort of injury, and many times take a long time to heal.
Burns have different classifications to rate their severity: First-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. These are also known as superficial, partial thickness, and full thickness burns, respectively. There is also a fourth-degree burn that’s even more severe, an injury I learned about when representing a lady who was hit by a taxi, and the car’s tire spun on her such that it caused fourth degree burns.
- A first-degree or superficial burn is painful, but only involves the outer layer of the skin, which is called the epidermis. The site of injury appears red, dry, and painful. Long-term tissue damage is rare with first-degree burns.
- A second-degree or partial thickness burn will have blistering and can get into the dense bottom portion of the dermis, which is immediately below the epidermis. Second-degree burns can result in scarring and necessitate skin grafts in some cases.
- Third-degree or full thickness burns will cause destruction of the epidermis and damage down to the hypodermis, into the bones, muscles, or tendons. Nerve endings are destroyed and the burn site appears white or charred. Grafts and repeated surgeries are likely necessary and performed in stages over time.
- Fourth-degree. This is the deepest and most severe of burns. They’re potentially life-threatening. These burns destroy all layers of your skin, as well as your bones, muscles, and tendons.
Types of workplace burns
The main types of workplace burn injuries include:
- Thermal Burns: Caused by contact with a flame, steam, boiling liquids like water or grease or from touching hot, solid objects such as motors.
- Chemical Burns: Caused by contact with a corrosive substance such as acids or solvents.
- Electrical Burns: Caused by contact with either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) like an electrical wire.
Does workers’ compensation cover burn injuries?
Workers’ compensation burn injuries can be tricky, because a lot of different variables come into play. How and under what circumstances was the employee burned? What was he or she burned with? Were adequate workplace safety precautions and practices set forth and observed by the employer? These things will be examined, and a good workers’ compensation attorney will know the questions to ask in seeking benefits for a burn victim.
Burn cases require a long view, as second- and third-degree burns will involve varying levels of ongoing care. Since all burn injuries, and the people recovering from them, are different, it may be difficult to determine what financial burdens may face a burn victim as a result of continuing treatment and surgeries. There are quality of life issues to be addressed (for instance, special garments), too. These add up to additional burden and expense on an injured worker.
If you suffered a burn injury in the workplace and would like to discuss your Georgia workers’ compensation case to make sure you are receiving every benefit you’re entitled to, give our offices a call. We are a firm well-versed in workers’ compensation, and we are sympathetic to your needs.