According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are over 5,000 work-related burn injuries in the United States. A severe burn is a debilitating injury that can happen in an instant, but can leave you physically and emotionally scarred for the rest of your life. As with any workplace injury, it’s critical you take the right steps directly after an incident to ensure your rights are protected and you are properly supported.
Common Types of Burns
Before we get into your rights, let’s take a look at some of the more common severe burn injuries that occur in the workplace.
- A heat burn occurs when your skin comes into contact with an open flame, sparks, steam or a hot surface.
- An electrical burn happens when you are exposed to high voltage electricity. Not only can an electric burn damage your skin, it may also damage your internal organs.
- A chemical burn is caused by synthetic, corrosive substances like acid, thinning agents or oxidizers.
A severe burn injury, which includes third and fourth-degree burns, may penetrate the epidermis and destroy nerve fibers, muscles, ligaments, tendons and even bones. The severity of your burns directly affects the amount of workers’ compensation you may receive.
Protect Your Rights
In order to protect your legal rights, it’s essential you report your severe burn injury to your employer. Depending on the state in which the injury occurs, you may have to report it that same day or within a few days. If you don’t report the injury in a timely manner, you may relinquish your right to compensation. The next step is to file a claim with the workers’ compensation court, which puts the court, your employer, and your employer’s insurance company on formal notice of your injury.
Your Rights After a Severe Burn Injury
After you have reported your severe burn injury and filed a workers’ compensation claim, you have several rights you can exercise as an injured employee.
You have the right to:
- File a personal injury claim outside of workers’ compensation
- Bring a claim against a negligent third party
- Pursue medical treatment
- Get a second opinion if the employer requires you see a specific doctor
- Return to your job if your physician allows it
- Perform lighter duties at work if your doctor requires it
- Receive disability compensation if you cannot return to work, either temporarily or permanently
- Refuse requests or offers from your employer
- Say “no” to illegal incentives from your employer to try and persuade you to drop your workers’ compensation claim
- Pursue a workers’ compensation claim without fear of reprisal or harassment from your employer
- Appeal a decision if you do not agree with decisions made by your employer, employer’s insurance or the workers’ compensation court
- Be represented by a lawyer
Our Dallas burn injury attorneys at Deans & Lyons, LLP can help you understand your legal rights after a severe burn injury in the workplace. We have a proven track record in personal injury disputes, including fires and explosions, construction accidents and brain injuries. Our team of talented lawyers provides aggressive and efficient representation as we work toward the best result possible for you.Call (844) 297-8898 or contact us online to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your severe burn case.