Workplace burn injuries can be particularly difficult to recover from. Workers may experience many different types of burns, including chemical, electrical, and thermal burns from dangerous conditions. This type of injury can have serious consequences. Severe burn injuries may require skin grafting and leave burn victims at risk of infection.
Because of the seriousness of these injuries, many burn injury victims are able to receive compensation from their employers.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation from your employer.
In order to be eligible to file a claim, the injury must be significant enough that simple first aid is not enough to treat the burn – further medical attention is needed in order to qualify for benefits. Additionally, the injury must have occurred during the scope of your employment, even if they took place away from your normal place of work. It doesn’t matter if it was your fault, or how the burn occurred, you will still be eligible for benefits.
For example, if you receive a serious chemical burn while working offsite, you can still seek workers comp for your injuries, regardless of who or what caused the injury.
Not everyone is able to receive workers comp. Your eligibility will also depend on your employment status. Full-time and part-time workers are typically eligible for benefits, but independent contractors, freelancers, and many volunteers typically cannot file claims against their employers.
Types of Compensated Expenses
In your workers’ compensation claim, you can receive compensation for a number of different types of expenses.
Injured workers can have a significant number of medical expenses stemming from burns at work. This is especially true for electrical burns, which can cause serious internal tissue damage and often requires hospitalization.
If you are injured at work, you may be required to go to a doctor of your employer’s choice for your first diagnostic appointment. For future appointments and treatment, you may see a doctor of your choice.
However, not all medical treatments are covered. If the treatment is considered therapeutic, rather than necessary for medical improvement, it may not be covered by your claims. Many employers try to limit the amount of medical treatment paid through workers’ compensation, so you should be prepared to demonstrate the medical necessity of your treatments.
In order to maximize your compensation of medical expenses, you should keep all paperwork you receive from your physician, especially documentation related to your treatment plan. Keep track of all your medical bills, including prescription medication in order to demonstrate the expenses you incur as a result of your injury.
Workers suffering from burn injuries may also be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages due to time spent out of work. Typically, injured employees receive approximately two-thirds of their monthly salary through workers’ comp claims. Additional payments may be available if you have dependents.
Suing Your Employer
Accepting workers’ compensation payments typically means that you aren’t able to sue your employer if you are hurt on the job.
Despite this limitation, there are certain situations where you may be able to seek further compensation. For example, if your workplace does not have proper insurance, you can pursue your employer in court for medical expenses and lost wages you would otherwise have been entitled to.
Additionally, if there was “willful misconduct” on behalf of your employer or a co-worker, you can initiate litigation against both parties. This type of conduct must be more than simple negligence. There are three common scenarios:
- Your co-worker or employer deliberately violated a safety order or another law, and the violation caused your injury. This situation may arise if, by law, your employer is required to provide safety equipment that meets a certain standard, yet fails to do so. If you receive burns due to the lack of proper safety equipment, you might be successful in your lawsuit.
- Your employer knew you faced serious injury and required you to proceed with the dangerous situation regardless of the probable consequences.
- Your co-worker’s actions injuring you were deliberate, such as by deliberately spilling chemicals on your skin or playing a “joke” by rewiring electrical circuits to give you a shock.
If one of these situations occurred, you may be able to proceed with a civil lawsuit on top of your worker’s compensation claims.
This article does not provide legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship. If you received a burn injury while at work, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys to discuss your options with a free consultation. Our law firm is dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive the best service possible while recovering from their injuries.