What Are My Options If I Sustain a Burn Injury At Work?
Learn what to do after a work-related burn injury.
Burn injuries range from mild to fatal and often result from exposure to hot surfaces, flames, boiling water, electricity, and hazardous chemicals. According to the American Burn Association, about 40,000 people in the United States are admitted to hospitals for burn injuries each year. About 43% of burns are caused by fires, while 34% are caused by scalding. About 8% occur in the workplace.
If you’ve sustained a burn injury on the job, you shouldn’t have to worry about how you will pay for your medical bills or when the next paycheck will come in. The experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers at Vellner Law, PC can help you on the path to recovery. We have been serving injured workers in greater Allentown, Bethlehem, and Lehigh Valley since 1991.
The most common burn injury types
Generally, three types of burn injuries happen in the workplace. These include:
- 1st-degree burns: This type of burn only impacts the outer layer of the skin and causes mild to moderate pain. The skin often appears red and dry without any blisters.
- 2nd-degree burns: This type of burn affects both the outer and second layers of the skin. It may cause severe pain, swelling, blisters, red or white spots, and sometimes scarring.
- 3rd-degree burns: This type of burn extends to the fat layer beneath the second layer of the skin. The skin may appear black, brown, stiff, leathery, tan, or waxy and typically requires a skin graph to repair. Third-degree burns can also cause severe pain or numbness due to damaged nerves.
- 4th-degree burns: These burn injuries are the most severe and often affect the bones, tendons, and muscles, leading to permanent loss of a body part or amputation.
Common causes of work-related burn injuries
Job-related burns often happen due to:
- Workplace fires or explosions.
- Contact with a hot stove, oven, blow torch, boiler, or open flame.
- Scalding due to exposure to boiling water.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Skin exposure to hazardous chemicals.
- Accidents involving flammable materials such as gasoline or solvents.
- Exposure to loose wires, powerlines, and other electrical sources.
Risks of severe burn injuries
If you’ve sustained a severe burn injury, it’s critical that you get immediate medical attention. Third-degree burns often lead to:
- Loss of fluid.
- Dangerous drops in body temperature.
- Bacterial infections.
- Permanent scarring.
- Need for amputation in rare cases.
What to do if you’ve sustained a burn injury on the job
Depending on the severity of your job-related burn, you could be faced with a heap of medical expenses. Meanwhile, you could be out of work for an extended time, unable to collect a paycheck.
To be reimbursed for your medical expenses and lost wages, you’ll need to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you don’t have to prove negligence when filing a claim. You must only prove that the injury occurred within the scope of your employment.
If a negligent third party caused your injury, then you may be able to pursue additional damages by filing a personal injury claim. A third party would be an individual or entity separate from your employer. That includes:
- Outside vendors.
- Other property or business owners.
- Motor vehicle or truck drivers.
- Manufacturers or distributors of faulty machinery, equipment, or supplies.
Why hire a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer?
The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system is designed to ensure that you get reimbursed for lost wages, medical expenses, and other losses after sustaining a burn injury. However, without the help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, you may have a hard time obtaining the benefits you deserve.
The legal team at Vellner Law, PC knows exactly how to build strong workers’ compensation cases from start to finish. We’ll help you navigate the complex application process and your medical evaluation. We’ll also advocate for you and fight for every dollar you’re entitled to under Pennsylvania law.
The longer you wait to take action, the more difficult it will be to pursue a solid claim. Schedule your free consultation today by contacting us online. We have law offices in Bethlehem and Allentown.