Burn injuries are one of the most common injuries that occur in the U.S. They can range in severity, some requiring light medical treatment to recover, others leaving victims totally impaired or disabled for the rest of their lives.
Burns in the Southern California workplace are common, especially in industrial settings. If you received a burn injury at work and believe your employer was somehow negligent, you may be able to seek compensation. The Work Injury Advocate can answer all your questions about your workplace burn injury.
Burn Injuries in the California Workplace
Burn injuries can come from several sources in the workplace and result in different degrees of severity.
Common types of workplace burns:
- Thermal burns: Burns from exposure to fire or flammable liquid
- Scalding burns: Burns when hot liquid comes into contact with the skin
- Chemical burns: Burns when a strong chemical, such as ammonia, battery acid, bleach, concrete mix, toilet bowl cleaners, metal cleaners, or pool chlorinators come into contact with skin
- Electrical burns: Skin burned by electrical voltage; may also cause internal damage
- Inhalation burns: Inhaling smoke, steam, or toxic fumes
- Gas explosions: Burns resulting from a gas leak that catches fire
- Contact burns: Burn from coming into contact with an object hot to the touch, such as a kitchen appliance or lightbulb
The source of the burn matters significantly when seeking medical treatment. For a personal injury case, however, the severity of the burn matters more than the source.
Do Burns Differ from Other Work Injuries?
In most situations, individuals injured on the job must rely on California workers’ compensation benefits and cannot bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Typically, temporary disability benefits in California for a work injury last 104 weeks. Under California’s Labor Code, Article 3, section 4656, however, individuals with “severe” burns may get an extension to 240 weeks of disability benefits.
To determine if a burn is “severe” enough to grant a worker extended benefits, the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) must consider four factors:
- The extent of treatment
- The amount of resulting temporary disability
- Residual permanent disability
- Medical classification of the burn
If you’re seeking extended worker’s compensation benefits for a severe burn, you may have to argue your case with the DWC and provide evidence supporting your claim.
Seeking Compensation for a Workplace Burn Injury
If you’re able to bring a civil lawsuit against your employer, you can seek economic, non-economic, or punitive damages. Economic is financial compensation for your medical bills, missed paychecks, etc. Non-economic is financial compensation for your pain and suffering. Punitive damages are a greater award given when the employer’s negligence was particularly egregious.
Keep in mind that California is a comparative fault state. If any part of the injury was the injured person’s fault, they’ll receive reduced compensation for damages.
Questions About Your Workplace Burn Injury?
If you think you might be entitled to compensation for your workplace burn injury, then the Work Injury Advocate can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.