Burn Injury at Work Attorneys in Massachusetts
If you've suffered a burn injury at work, you owe it to yourself to contact a skilled and experienced workers' compensation attorney. The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman understands the challenges of dealing with at-work burn injuries and handling complex workers' compensation claims.
Our attorneys treat clients with compassion and care. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there's no charge to you unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.
Whether you work in a restaurant, factory, laboratory, construction site, or some other workplace, you could sustain an on-the-job burn injury. If that's you, it's critical you hire experienced and aggressive legal representation to ensure someone is on your side. A seasoned workers' compensation personal injury attorney will fight for you and make sure you receive the treatment, lost wages, and scarring and disfigurement benefits you are entitled to.
You've probably burned yourself many times over the years. Maybe you splashed yourself with boiling water, brushed up against a hot object, or stayed out in the sun too long.
If you've suffered a severe burn, you know too well how painful a burn can be and how long it can take to heal.
Workplace injuries can cause some of the most severe burn injuries you can sustain. Workers frequently are exposed to burn-causing hazards such as chemicals, high-voltage equipment, open flames, and industrial tools and machinery.
Serious burns can require years of painful treatment and rehabilitation, including skin grafts. Some burns can render an individual permanently disabled, while others can even lead to death.
The American Burn Association has reported that there were 486,000 burn injuries treated at hospitals in the United States in 2016. Tens of thousands of those burns are believed to be work-related injuries.Types of Burn Injuries
Thermal burns: Burns caused by the heat from liquids, open flames, hot objects, and explosions. Burns caused by liquids are also known as "scalding" burns.
Employees at risk: Chefs and other restaurant workers who prepare and serve hot food, welders, mechanics.
Prevention: Workers should wear personal protective equipment; employers should have fire prevention, detection, and protection procedures and plans.
Chemical burns: Occur when eyes or skin come into contact with acids, alkaloids, or other corrosive or caustic materials. These types of burns eat away or burn skin and deeper tissue.
Employees at risk: Chemists and lab workers, janitors and other maintenance workers.
Prevention: Employers should make sure workers know the symbols and labels that warn of chemical risk and train workers so they know what to do if they come into contact with hazardous chemicals.
Electrical burns: Occur when electrical current travels through the body.
Employees at risk: Electricians, construction workers, utility line workers, landscapers, maintenance technicians, machinery workers.
Prevention: High-voltage areas and equipment should be appropriately marked; workers should avoid contact with water when working with electricity.
Sun exposure burns: Sun exposure burns are a type of thermal burn.
Employees at risk: Landscapers, construction workers and anyone who works outdoors.
Prevention: Reduce working hours under direct sun; wear sunscreen and hats and other sun-protective clothing.
All burns can be painful, but the damage a burn can cause varies greatly depending on the severity of the burn. There are four severity classifications that burns fall under. They include:
First-degree Burns: affect only the top layer of the skin, which is called the epidermis. This is the least serious type of burn and generally results in redness, pain, and discomfort. A mild sunburn is considered a first-degree burn.
Second-degree Burns: affect the epidermis and the second layer of skin known as the dermis. A second-degree burn can cause the skin to blister and can result in scarring.
Third-degree Burns: penetrate the layer of skin beneath the dermis and destroy nerves. These burns can appear white or charred and are extremely painful.
Fourth-degree Burns: affect all layers of the skin and can damage muscle, tendons, and bone. Skin grafts don’t work on these severe burns and amputation of a limb or extremity is sometimes required.
Even minor burns can have major health consequences. That’s why it’s important that you report all burn injuries to your employer and seek prompt medical treatment.
A minor burn can result in blistering, swelling and infection that can prevent you from performing your job duties for days or even weeks.
Certain kinds of burns like electric shocks can cause internal damage.
If you delay in reporting the injury or seeking medical treatment, your employer could claim that your injury did not occur at work or that you exacerbated your injury by failing to follow doctor’s orders.
A workers’ compensation attorney fights the insurance companies to obtain the weekly checks and medical treatment you are eligible to receive. When your treatment nears an end, a workers’ compensation attorney will also help to obtain any loss of function, scarring, and disfigurement benefits you are legally entitled to.Burn-Related Injuries
Sustaining a burn injury at work can lead to a variety of different injuries. They include injuries such as:
- Internal damages
- Damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Wrongful death
The Department of Fire Services records information about burn injuries in the state through the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System.
Here are some statistics about work-related burn injuries in the state in 2017:
- 7% of reported burns occurred at work.
- 62% of work-related burns were incurred by workers between the ages of 15 and 34.
- 50% of work-related burns were caused by scalds.
Employees who suffer injuries, including burn injuries, during the course of employment, are eligible for workers' compensation benefits in Massachusetts. These benefits include medical and hospital services, medically necessary equipment and prescribed drugs, weekly compensation for lost income during the period the employee is unable to work, and vocational and rehabilitation services.
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether you or someone else is to blame for your burn injuries.
You can find more information about workers’ compensation in Massachusetts at the state’s website or by contacting the skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman.Employers Responsible for Safe Workplaces
The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has standards and regulations for fire and burn safety in the workplace.
Under OSHA guidelines, employers have a duty to provide a safe work environment for employees. OSHA regulations require employers to warn of potential hazards using color codes, posters, labels or signs. When it comes to burn prevention, employers can reduce and mitigate burn injuries by providing both initial and follow-up training on safety concepts and procedures. Workers should be trained to recognize symbols and Hazard Communication codes. When dangerous chemicals are located in a workplace, the employer is required to provide a written Hazard Communication plan.
When burn injuries happen at work, OSHA sometimes investigates the circumstances of the incident to determine if any OSHA violations led to the accident. If so, the employer could face fines and penalties.Third-Party Liability
In addition to obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, you might be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party that caused or contributed to your injuries. For example, if a defective product caused your burn injury, you might be able to file a product liability suit against the product manufacturer.
In addition, you might be able to sue a general contractor or vendor at a job site or a property owner or landlord that has failed to maintain your work premises in a safe condition. Multiple parties might also be to blame for your burn injury.
You typically cannot, however, sue your employer or any of your co-workers whose negligent actions cause burn injuries to you.
An attorney can help you identify all potentially liable parties and decide if a lawsuit against a third-party is something you should pursue. Unlike many other attorneys, our attorneys have extensive experience evaluating and handling both workers’ compensation cases and third-party lawsuits in burn accidents.Steps to Take When Injured in a Work Accident
You’ve suffered a burn while working. What should you do?
First, obtain medical treatment as soon as possible. Your health and well-being is always priority number one. A delay in treatment could cause further injury. In addition, delays often lead to employers arguing that a workplace accident did not cause your injury. Seeking treatment right away can help defeat this argument since it records the incident in your medical records. It is also important to tell your medical provider that you’ve suffered a work injury and to describe exactly what happened.
Under Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws, a worker has four years from the date he or she discovers a work-related injury or illness to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, the sooner a claim is filed, the higher chance of success you’ll have, and the sooner you’ll start receiving benefits.
The second most important thing to do after a workplace injury is reporting the injury to your employer as soon as possible. You may need to fill out an incident report. Your employer is required to file a claim with their insurance company on your behalf. It’s important to notify your employer of any at-work injury that you sustain, even if the injury appears to be minor. If you do not do so, your employer could claim the incident never happened, and your workers’ compensation benefits could be delayed or denied entirely.
If your employer or their insurance company has denied your workers’ compensation claim, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You have the right to appeal the denial.
If possible, you’ll next want to take pictures of your burn and any related injuries as well as the accident scene. Obtain contact information for any co-workers or other individuals who witnessed the accident, including their names and contact information. This information could be crucial to obtaining workers’ compensation benefits if the insurance company fights your case.
Insurance companies are infamous for using tactics to limit or delay payment. A seasoned workers’ compensation attorney will fight on your behalf to make sure you get the compensation you’re owed.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman has successfully handled workplace burn injury and workers’ compensation claims on behalf of individuals throughout Massachusetts.