What to Know About Workers’ Compensation for Burn Injuries

burn on handAccording to the American Burn Association, more than 486,000 people sought emergency room treatment for burn injuries between 2011 and 2015. These injuries often occur at work, particularly among employees who work in situations where there is exposed electrical wiring, hot or flammable substances, or anywhere else where there is a risk of fires or explosions.

If you suffered a burn injury at work, it is important that you understand your rights. A Savannah burn injury attorney from Roden Law can help protect your claim by providing advice and assistance at each stage of the workers’ compensation process. This is one of the many reasons to consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer.

What to Do if You Are Burned at Work

If you are burned at work, it is important that you take immediate steps to treat your injuries.

If you have a minor burn, such as one that is causing pain, swelling and minor redness, but no blistering, follow these steps:

  • Place the burned area under cool, not cold water to help reduce swelling
  • Use mild soap and water to cleanse the area
  • Apply antibiotic ointment if there is no opening of the skin
  • Loosely wrap the area in sterile gauze to prevent it from becoming agitated

Serious burn injuries require prompt medical attention from a licensed medical professional. Seeking medical attention can help prevent an infection from arising and reduce your chances of scarring.

Serious burns, such as second or third-degree burns, often require hospitalization and skin grafts or other surgical remedies. Severe burns cause blistering and discoloring of the skin – the skin on the burned area could be white, yellow or charred.

Be sure to notify your supervisor about your burn injury if it occurred at work while completing a work-related task.

Getting Workers’ Compensation for a Burn Injury

If you were burned in an accident at work, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you miss more than seven days of work because of a work-related injury, you may be able to receive up to two-thirds of your average weekly earnings, up to $575 a week. Depending on the extent of your injury, you may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits for up to 400 weeks.

To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Report your injury immediately to your supervisor. If you delay in reporting the injury for more than 30 days, you might lose the opportunity to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
  2. Complete Form WC-14. You may want the assistance of a lawyer for this.
  3. File the form with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
  4. Send a copy of Form WC-14 to your employer and its workers’ compensation carrier.

Catastrophic Designation

Our attorneys can carefully review your medical records to determine the severity of your burn injury. This will help us determine if you should apply for a catastrophic designation for your injury.

If your burn receives a catastrophic designation, you could be entitled to temporary total disability benefits for more than 400 weeks, which is the limit for non-catastrophic injuries.

Your injury may qualify as a catastrophic designation if it meets one of the following criteria, according to Official Code of Georgia Annotated 34-9-200.1(g):

  • It is a second-degree burn covering more than 25 percent of the body
  • It is a third-degree burn that covers five percent or more of the face or hands
  • It causes blindness or amputation of a foot or hand
  • It prevents you from completing your work or any other work available in the national economy for which you are qualified.

The Managed Care and Rehabilitation Division completes a sequential analysis when a claim is submitted for catastrophic designation. The worker through his or her legal counsel must submit Form WC-R1CATEE along with supportive documentation, such as a physician’s statement regarding the percentage of the surface area and type of burn.

Additional documentation that may need to be submitted includes:

  • Current medical diagnosis
  • Current medical records related to the burn injury
  • A recently-prepared opinion of a treating physician regarding the employee’s work capabilities and a detailed analysis of his or her capability of completing various tasks

Contact a Licensed Attorney

If you have questions about your rights to pursue a workers’ compensation claim after suffering a serious burn, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for assistance. An injury lawyer from our firm can explain your rights and reporting requirements so that you can protect your claim. If your claim is denied, we can assist with all aspects of the appeals process.

We provide a free consultation to discuss your case confidentially. You are under no obligation to hire us to represent you in your workers’ compensation matter. However, if you decide to pursue a claim, you will not owe us any attorney’s fees unless we recover benefits on your behalf.