Burn injuries are common workplace injuries in Georgia. Many industries have a high rate of fires and explosions, but any work environment could pose the risk of burn injuries. Our Atlanta and Savannah workers’ compensation attorneys discuss work-related burn injuries in this blog, including the legal rights of workers who suffer burn injuries on the job.

Understanding Burn Injuries: Types and Severity

Burns can occur at work from several sources. Heat burns are caused by hot liquids and surfaces, fires, and steam. These burns are called thermal burns. Other types of burns at work include radiation, electrical, chemical, and fracture burns.

Burn injuries are classified by degree. The degrees of a burn injury are:

  • First-degree burns – These burns cause the least damage. They are shallow burns that do not cause serious damage because they are contained to the outer layer of the skin.
  • Second-degree burns – These burns damage the outer layer of skin and the dermis. Second-degree burns cause blisters and may result in the loss of some skin.
  • Third-degree burns – These burns require emergency medical treatment because they damage the entire thickness of the skin. A victim may not experience pain if the nerves are destroyed.
  • Fourth and Fifth-degree burns – These types of burns go below the skin layers. They damage the muscles and bones.

All types and degrees of burns should be treated seriously. Evaluation by a medical professional as soon as possible can reduce the risk of complications and life-threatening conditions.

Major Causes of Burn Injuries in the Workplace

Negligence is a common factor in the cause of burn injuries in the workplace. Examples of the causes of work-related burn injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Fires and explosions
  • Exposure to chemicals and hazardous substances
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Defective machinery and tools
  • Electrocutions
  • Hot liquids
  • Failing to follow safety procedures
  • Inadequate training and supervision
  • Lack of fire extinguishers and other safety equipment

Prevention and safety measures are crucial for protecting workers from burn injuries. Employers in industries with a high risk of fires, explosions, and other sources of burn injuries should provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of burn injuries.

The Impact of Burn Injuries on Work Ability and Quality of Life

A worker who suffers a burn injury may be out of work for months. The severity of the burn injury determines the type of medical treatment required and the duration of the recovery. Generally, the time out of work increases as the severity of the burn increases.

In addition to being out of work, a worker with a burn injury may experience a significant decrease in their quality of life. They may be in the hospital for weeks or months as they recover from the burn injuries. They may be unable to perform many of the activities they did before the burn injury. As a result, they may require personal care in addition to medical treatment.

Legal Rights of Burn Injury Victims in Atlanta and Savannah

If a worker is burned on the job, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, a worker may be entitled to additional compensation if another party caused their injury.

A third-party personal injury complaint is filed against a party other than the employer who is responsible for causing the burn injury. For example, a manufacturer could be liable for economic and non-economic damages if a defective product caused the injury. Likewise, a property owner could be liable under premises liability if a dangerous condition on the property led to a worker’s burn injury.

However, workers are not permitted to sue their employers for damages in most cases. They are limited to seeking benefits through the workers’ compensation system.

Navigating Workers’ Compensation Claims After Burn Injuries

Most Georgia workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. If a worker is injured on the job during the ordinary course of employment, they can receive workers’ comp benefits, even if you are partially to blame for their injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits include medical treatment, disability benefits, and death benefits.

However, navigating the process for filing workers’ compensation claims may be difficult. Workers’ compensation insurance providers may deny valid claims. They may undervalue their wage benefits or try to force an employee to return to work before they are completely healed. Workers must meet strict deadlines to notify their employer of their injury and file a workers’ comp claim.

Workers who suffer burn injuries on the job are focused on healing. They may be in the hospital and receiving follow-up care for weeks or months. Therefore, it can help to hire an experienced Atlanta and Savannah area workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the workers’ comp claims process so you can focus on healing.

Proven Strategies to Maximize Compensation in Burn Injury Cases

Seek immediate medical treatment for your burn injury. You need medical records to document that you were injured on the job. The medical records also document the severity of the burn injury. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan to avoid accusations of intentionally making your injuries worse.

Document your damages by taking photographs of your burn injuries as you heal. It also helps to create a pain and suffering journal to record details of your recovery. Note information about the physical and emotional pain and suffering you experience. Keep a list of the activities you miss and the tasks you cannot perform because of your injuries.

Contact an Atlanta and Savannah workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. An attorney helps you understand your legal options for obtaining compensation for your burn injuries. A common mistake many workers make is failing to pursue all available sources of compensation for their burn injuries.

Hiring a lawyer also means you have someone to investigate the cause of your burn injuries and gather evidence to use in the various claims that may be available for your case. Also, an attorney can help you locate medical specialists and other expert witnesses. Experts can testify about the extent and severity of your burn injuries, as well as any permanent impairments or disfigurement you may have sustained because of the burn injuries.

Why Speaking With a Workers Compensation Attorney is Crucial for Burn Injury Victims

Dealing with a burn injury is overwhelming. In addition to the extreme physical pain you may feel, you are also likely to experience significant emotional distress and financial losses. The combination of the circumstances can be too much to handle alone.

However, working with the Atlanta and Savannah workers’ compensation attorney at Parsons Law Group means that you have someone on your side protecting your best interests. We work to ensure all of the legal aspects of your burn injury case are handled promptly and correctly. We stand up for your rights against your employer, the workers’ compensation insurance provider, and negligent third parties. Contact our Atlanta and Savannah workers’ comp attorney to discuss how we can help you recover the money you need and deserve after a burn injury at work.