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Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are among the leading causes of accidental death and injury in the United States. According to the American Burn Association, nearly 490,000 people in the United States receive medical treatment for burns—and thousands of these individuals suffer from injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.

The path to recovery after a burn injury can be grueling. Burn injury victims may face emergency care, intensive physical therapy, cosmetic surgery, and psychological counseling. On top of the physical and emotional pain, burn victims unfortunately also have to deal with expensive medical bills and lost wages during their recovery.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of on-the-job burns, their causes, and what you should know if you or a loved one has suffered a serious burn injury that wasn’t your fault.

Common Types of Burn Injuries

Burns are painful wounds mainly affecting the skin, the largest organ in the body. Depending on the type and severity of the burn, recovering can be a long process. There are four types of common burn injuries at the workplace – thermal burns, radiation burns, chemical burns, and electrical burns.

  • Thermal Burns: Thermal burns are due to an excessive heat source that quickly raises the skin temperature. Scalding water, flames, hot metals, and even steam can cause a thermal burn. Some thermal burns do not cause any long-term medical issues and others can cause tissue death or charring.
  • Radiation Burns: Radiation burns occur when the skin is overexposed to harmful UV rays from the sun or even from prolonged exposure to other sources of radiation such as X-ray. Sunburns are the most common type of radiation burn.
  • Chemical Burns: Chemical burns can be extremely painful. Chemical burns happen when the skin, eyes, mouth, or internal organs are exposed to corrosive substances such as strong acids, caustic chemicals, detergents, gasoline, or any other harsh substance.
  • Electrical Burns: This type of burn is caused when the skin is exposed to electricity. The electrical current passes through the body and can damage internal organs, cause superficial skin burns, and in extreme cases, death. According to the National Library of Medicine, accidental electrical deaths account for nearly 1,000 deaths per year, mostly in an occupational setting.

Burns are also classified into three different categories based on the severity of the injury and how deep the burn penetrates the skin’s surface: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns.

  • First-Degree Burns: A first-degree burn is superficial, meaning the burn only affects the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis. First-degree burn sites are red and painful with no blisters. Most people have experienced a first-degree burn from the sun. First-degree burns are easy to recover from and rarely involve tissue damage.
  • Second-Degree Burns: Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and some of the dermis, the thick layer of tissue just below the epidermis. Second-degree burns appear red and blistered and can be swollen and painful. Some second-degree burns may require skin graft surgery to reduce scarring and heal.
  • Third-Degree Burns: A third-degree burn, also called a full-thickness burn, completely destroys the epidermis and the dermis, and in some cases can even affect the bones, muscles, and tendons near the burn site.

Burn injuries are serious and can result in weeks or months of physical therapy and doctor’s appointments, painful surgeries, and loss of income. If you’ve suffered a burn injury at work, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to help with your medical bills and lost wages. In addition, burns that cause scarring or disfigurement to the hands, face or neck are compensable separately from the income loss and medical expenses incurred. Contact a workers’ compensation and burn injury attorney to understand your rights after a burn injury.

Burn Injury Causes & Prevention Tips

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports that some of the most common causes of workplace burn injuries include exposure to extreme temperatures (such as fires and hot liquids), exposure to hazardous chemicals (like acids or solvents), and contact with electrical sources (like wiring or machinery).

Other risk factors for on-the-job burns include improper use or maintenance of equipment; inadequate safety training; lack of safety gear; failure to follow safety protocols; lack of posted warnings; defective products; and poor supervision by employers. In some cases, this negligence can result in severe burn injuries that require long periods of rehabilitation and recovery—and lead to financial hardship due to lost wages and medical bills.

To reduce your risk of experiencing a burn injury while on the job it is important to understand all safety procedures related to hazardous materials in your workplace as well as any safety protocols related to fires and explosions that could occur due to faulty equipment or human error.

Additionally, it is important for workers who may come into contact with these materials or equipment frequently to wear protective clothing such as gloves and masks in order to reduce their risk of experiencing a burn injury on the job.

Know Your Rights After Suffering a Burn Injury at Work

Burn injuries at work are covered under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance in most cases. If you’ve suffered a burn injury at work, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages. Additionally, burns that cause scarring or disfigurement to the hands, face or neck are compensable separately from the income loss and medical expenses incurred.

The workers’ comp process in Pennsylvania can be complicated and working with a workers’ comp and burn injury lawyer can help ease the burden of filing a claim and trying to fight the insurance company alone. A personal injury lawyer can also assist if the burn was caused by a third-party such as an outside contractor or manufacturer. In these cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be the best course of action to recover funds not available in workers’ comp cases like compensation for pain and suffering.

Burn Injury Attorneys in Lancaster, Pa.

If you have suffered a serious burn injury while in the course and scope of your employment or due to someone else’s negligence it is important that you consult with an experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process.

At Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. firm, our team of top attorneys and paralegals has been fighting for the rights of injured workers and burn victims for decades. We are different than other law practices and understand that injuries on-the-job not only affect the accident victim but their families as well.

You don’t have to go through the workers’ comp process alone. Contact us today for a free review of your case. We do not charge a fee for our services unless we recover compensation for you! Reach out online or call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW!

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