Workers in some industries are more likely to suffer burn injuries than others. Firefighters, of course, are high on the list, but so are utility company workers, food service employees, factory workers and paper mill employees.
If you work in any of these industries, you may think of burns as just one of the hazards you face — but the truth may not be so simple. While most workplace burn injuries are covered under workers’ compensation, it’s always possible that you may be able to file a third-party claim.
What’s a third-party claim and why does it matter?
Workers’ compensation only provides limited benefits, like partial replacement wages and medical care. While that’s fine for most workplace accidents, it often falls short of what’s needed for long-term care after a catastrophic injury — like a bad burn.
A third-party claim is a personal injury lawsuit outside of the worker’s comp system. Directed at other party’s who are responsible for your burns, a successful claim can provide you with the additional compensation you need for your own needs and your family’s needs.
What type of burns do workers face?
There are four different types of burns that afflict workers the most, including:
- Thermal burns: Firefighters, mechanics and food service workers are most apt to be affected by these types of burns as they’re often caused by close contact with steam, boiling liquids and open flames.
- Electrical burns: Construction and utility workers and electricians are most likely to face electrocution on the job or suffer an electrical burn. A person may develop neurological impairments after electrocution occurs.
- Radiation burns: Scientists, engineers, weapons manufacturers and health care workers are most likely to suffer this type of burn.
- Chemical burns: Science lab and manufacturing workers are most apt to suffer this burn on the job.
Burns can be caused by negligent property owners who don’t warn construction workers about explosives on the site, contractors who carelessly leave caustic chemicals where they can be splashed or spilled on someone and so on. Defective electrical equipment and tools can also lead to serious burns, and that could be the fault of a manufacturer, supplier or repair company that didn’t take proper precautions.
If you’ve suffered a burn injury at work, don’t assume that you’re limited to worker’s compensation without looking deeper into the issue. Understanding when you may have a third-party claim on your own isn’t easy.