The vast majority of burn injuries happen in the home, usually the result of fires and kitchen mishaps. But the workplace is the next most common place. Occupational accidents resulted in 8 percent of burn cases nationally and 9 percent of burn cases reported in Massachusetts in 2015. Half of the injured workers were scalded and the rest were burned by explosions, flames, chemicals or electric shock or suffered injuries due to inhalation of smoke and toxins.
If you’ve been injured in a burn-related work accident, you may have lost wages, accrued medical bills and other expenses for your care or accommodation of your new circumstances. Workers’ compensation provides coverage for workplace accidents regardless of fault, and depending on the case, you may be entitled to pursue other sources of money damages.
Your first step should be to notify your employer that you wish to file a worker’s compensation claim, giving as much detail about the accident as possible. The employer is then required to file a report with its insurance company and with the state Department of Industrial Accidents. You should seek medical treatment immediately. The insurance company will review your claim, including all medical reports, and must approve or deny the claim within 14 days of being notified.
Workers compensation claims can be denied on several grounds, sometimes concerning the relationship of the accident to one’s job. For example, an injury that occurred on the employer’s premises but due to horseplay during a lunch break may be challenged as not being in the course of employment.
Because burn injuries can be painful and sometimes permanently disfiguring, workers compensation may not be sufficient to fully redress the impact on your health and well-being. If other parties are at least partially at fault for the accident, you may be able to seek money damages from them in court. For example, if the burn was cause by an equipment malfunction, the manufacturer may be liable. If your uniform was highly flammable, the company that produced it could be responsible.
Law firms and investigators who have experience with burn injury cases, workers’ compensation and product liability can help you get to the cause of your accident and obtain the financial resources you need to move on. The workplace injury lawyers at Swartz & Lynch LLP have successfully represented clients in burn injury cases, many of them work-related. From our office in downtown Boston, we serve injured clients in the city and the surrounding neighborhoods of Suffolk County. Call us at 857-250-0664 or contact us online to arrange your free initial consultation.