Obtaining Workers Compensation Benefits for Burn Injuries in Virginia
Each year thousands of workers require medical treatment and hospitalization after getting burned at work. Some of these workplace burn injuries are even fatal. This article explains common workplace burn injuries, how the severity of burns is determined, and what Virginia workers compensation benefits you may receive if you suffer a work-related burn.
If you have any questions or comments about workers compensation for a burn at work, contact Virginia workplace accident attorney Corey Pollard for a free consultation. We’re here to help you get an Award Agreement and top-dollar workers comp settlement in Virginia for your workplace burn injuries.
Three Types of Workplace Burns
There are three types of burns that an employee may suffer in the workplace: chemical burns; electrical burns; and thermal burns.
Many of you work in industries that expose you to toxic and corrosive substances. This puts you at risk of suffering a chemical burn at work when a substance such as an acid, base, paint thinner lye, gasoline, oxidizer, solvent, thinning agent, or cleanser comes into contact with your skin, eyes, ears, or other internal organs.
When an employee suffers a chemical burn:
- The chemical should be removed. If it’s a dry chemical, it can be brushed off. If it’s a wet chemical then the person removing it should take steps to make sure they don’t get burned also. This may include wearing gloves and safety goggles.
- All clothing, jewelry, and accessories that have come into contact with the chemical should be removed.
- Cool tap water should be run over the affected burn area.
- Loose fitting bandages and gauze should be applied.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers may help control the pain.
If the employee is in shock (has fainted or is having difficulty breathing) or the chemical burn has penetrated the skin or injured the eyes or a major joint, call for emergency help.
Electrical Burns at Work
Electricians, construction workers, and union members are often exposed to electrical currents in the workplace. This can lead to electrical burns, which happen when an employee comes into contact with electrified water, a functioning electrical wire or power socket, or falls into electrified water. An electrical burn can cause not only pain and the loss of use of the body part, but also heart problems, cardiac arrest, and even death. Electrical burn victims may lose consciousness.
Call 911 immediately if you or a co-worker suffers an electrical burn. It’s also important to remove the burn victim from the source of the electricity so that the injury does not continue. Cut off the source of the electricity immediately. If necessary perform CPR while waiting for first responders to arrive – but only after making sure the power source is cut off.
Thermal Burns in the Workplace
A thermal burn is what many people think of when they hear the word “burn.” Fire, steam, boiling water, boiling liquid, and hot objects like tools, engines, motors, pipes, and other items found in the workplace can cause a thermal burn injury. So can exposure to the sun or heat after a car accident.
Thermal burns at work can cause skin damage, swelling, injuries to internal organs, cardiac shock, and other complications. Burn injury victims often require extensive medical treatment, including mental health counseling to deal with the trauma.
Burn Rating System
Regardless of the cause, all burns are rated according to the severity of the damage they cause.
A first degree burn affects the skin’s top layer, called the epidermis. This is the least serious burn. An example is a sunburn, which can cause redness, pain, and discomfort. Typical treatment includes bandages, wet cool compresses, and covering the affected burn area. Pain medication can be used to relieve discomfort.
A second degree burn is similar to a first degree burn but penetrates into the second layer of the skin, called the dermis. It can cause blisters, scarring, pain, and discomfort. Get immediate medical attention for a second degree burn.
A third degree burn penetrates the skin entirely and can damage the underlying tissue and nerves. These burns are very painful. They require emergency medical help and pain management.
A fourth degree burn is the most serious type of burn injury. This burn penetrates the skin and damages nerves, muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments. Fourth degree burns are often fatal to the injured employee.
Workers Compensation for Workplace Burn Injuries in Virginia
Employees who suffer burns at work are entitled to workers compensation benefits. This includes the payment of lifetime medical treatment, temporary total disability, and permanent disability benefits. In Virginia you’re entitled to a maximum of 60 weeks of wage loss benefits for scarring, disfigurement, and decreased range of motion caused by the severe burns if you’re able to return to work.
But you must follow the correct legal procedures, which start with reporting your burn injury to the employer and filing a workers compensation claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. And you must comply with medical treatment.
With the help of a workers compensation attorney who handles burn injury cases, you can make sure that the employer and its workers comp insurance carrier pay for all surgeries, doctor visits, medication, therapy, and pain management related to your burn injuries. This could include payment of multiple skin grafts. And if your loved one died because of his or her burn injuries, we can help you and your dependents qualify for workers comp death benefits.
Call, text, or email Corey Pollard today for a free consultation. We help workplace burn injury victims across Virginia, including those in Richmond, Newport News, Norfolk, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, and Prince William County. We’ll pursue all legal options on your behalf: including filing a workers comp claim and filing a third party lawsuit against other negligent parties in circuit court. This is common in cases involving workplace burn injuries on construction sites. If someone else should have cut off the power source, we’ll pursue all legal options against that person.