Today I'd like to talk about work-related burn injuries. Maybe "like to talk" is too strong a phrase, but I'll write about it regardless.
One thing we all know is that no matter how minor they are or may seem, burns are a very painful sort of injury, and many times take their sweet time to heal.
Burns have three different classifications to rate their severity: First-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. These are also known as superficial, partial thickness, and full thickness burns, respectively. A first-degree or superficial burn is painful, but only involves the outer layer of the skin, which is called the epidermis. The site of injury appears red, dry, and painful. Long-term tissue damage is rare with first-degree burns.
A second-degree or partial thickness burn will have blistering and can get into the dense bottom portion of the dermis, which is immediately below the epidermis. Second-degree burns can result in scarring and necessitate skin grafts in some cases.
Third-degree or full thickness burns will cause destruction of the epidermis and damage down to the hypodermis, into the bones, muscles, or tendons. Nerve endings are destroyed and the burn site appears white or charred. Grafts and repeated surgeries are likely necessary and performed in stages over time.
Workers' compensation burn injuries can be tricky, because a lot of different variables come into play. How and under what circumstances was the employee burned? What was he or she burned with? Were adequate workplace safety precautions and practices set forth and observed by the employer? These things will be examined, and a good workers' compensation attorney will know the questions to ask in seeking benefits for a burn victim.
Burn cases require a long view, as second- and third-degree burns will involve varying levels of ongoing care. Since all burn injuries and the people recovering for them are different, it may be difficult to determine what financial burdens may face a burn victim as a result of continuing treatment and surgeries. There are quality of life issues to be addressed (for instance, special garments), too. These add up to additional burden and expense on an injured worker.
Most severe burn injuries won't be addressed overnight, and workers have the right to be compensated for injuries on the job in a way that makes sure needs that are encountered down the road are met. If you were burned in the workplace and would like to discuss your Georgia workers' compensation case to make sure you are receiving every benefit you're entitled to, give our offices a call. We are a firm well-versed in workers' compensation, and we are sympathetic to your needs.