Ohio workplace injury attorneys discuss the ways severe burns can occur while on the job
A workplace injury can happen in seconds, but the impact can be felt by workers and their families for months or years. Medical expenses can add up quickly, and injured workers who miss time from work can suffer a loss of income. Many workers who are hurt on the job go through a period of mental, emotional, and financial stress.
Burns are among the worst types of injuries a person can suffer while on the job, but a lot of people don't realize burns are also very common in the workplace. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 16,550 cases involving workplace burn injuries in 2020.
Burn injuries at work
Burns are classified according to the depth and size of the injury. First- and second-degree burns, also referred to as partial-thickness burns, damage different layers of the skin. Third-degree burns, also referred to as full-thickness burns, extend completely through all layers of the skin. There are also fourth-degree burns which can damage the skin and deeper tissue in the body.
There are three types of burns that are the most common.
Thermal burns are caused by exposure to sources of heat. These sources include open flames, steam, heated objects, hot liquids, and explosions. These injuries are often seen in accidents at industrial plants and in the foodservice industry (e.g., cooks and other restaurant workers). According to BLS, there were 11,840 cases of thermal burns in 2020.
Caused by contact with acids, alkalis, and other substances that can damage skin and deeper tissue, chemical burns are often caused by exposure to industrial cleaners and solvents. According to BLS, there were 3,540 cases of chemical burns in 2020.
Electricity burns are caused by contact with live electrical current. This can happen if a worker makes contact with a power line or if equipment is defective. These types of burns are often seen in construction and manufacturing. According to BLS, there were 620 cases of chemical burns in 2020.
Any type of burn injury can be very painful and disfiguring. Recovery can take a long time, and injured workers may need reconstructive surgery. The medical expenses for treatment can add up quickly and become overwhelming. There is also a loss of income while workers are unable to go back to the workplace. Depending on the severity of the burns, some workers may never be able to work again.
Legal help is available for workplace burn injury victims
The workers’ compensation system is supposed to help injured workers by covering medical expenses related to their work injury and providing partial wages to help them get by during a difficult period.
But getting the benefits you deserve after a burn injury can be a complicated process. Many initial claims are denied. Employers may question the seriousness of your burn injuries and the need for further treatment. They may even argue you are ready to return to work even though you have not fully recovered from your injury.
In some cases, workers who suffer burn injuries while on the job can pursue a personal injury claim if a negligent third party (e.g., product manufacturer, subcontractor, etc.) was responsible for or contributed to the victim's injuries. That’s why you should get a clear understanding of all your legal rights and options by talking to an experienced workplace injury attorney.
At Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A, we fight to help injured workers in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Troy get the compensation they deserve. Learn more about how we can help – contact us today for a free initial consultation.