Construction workers are vulnerable to a number of on-the-job injuries, including burns. Workers’ compensation benefits provide financial assistance for those who suffer burns while performing their job duties.
Types of Burns
Burns occurring as the result of a construction accident are typically classified as thermal burns, electrical burns, or chemical burns.
- Thermal burns are what most of us imagine when discussing a burn injury. These burns are caused by exposure to flame, steam, boiling water, or hot objects.
- Electrical burns happen when a construction worker makes contact with either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). This type of burn most often occurs when the worker is struck by lightning, falls into electrified water, or accidentally touches a functioning electrical circuit or live wire.
- Chemical burns occur when tissues of the body make contact with solvents, thinning agents, or other dangerous chemicals.
Classifying the Severity of Burns
Burn injuries, regardless of type, are assigned a rating based on their severity. First degree burns are minor burns, while fourth degree burns are the most serious.
- First degree burns affect only the epidermis—the outermost layer of skin—and can be easily treated with antiseptic ointments, topical analgesics, and sterile bandages. Most first degree burns heal within seven to ten days.
- Second degree burns affect both the epidermis and dermis. As a result, they can cause blisters and scarring. Most second degree burns heal within two to three weeks.
- Third degree burns damage the fatty layer of tissue beneath the dermis and can penetrate the body deep enough to cause permanent nerve damage. Narcotic pain medications are generally required for victims with third degree burns, due to the severity of the condition. There is no definite timeline for how long a third degree burn can take to heal, since people with these serious burns may require skin grafts and cosmetic surgery.
- Fourth degree burns involve charred muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. These types of burns are most often fatal.
Infection is the most common complication in the burn healing process. Burn victims should take care to keep their wounds clean and covered. Picking at blisters or scabs should be avoided, since this creates additional opportunity for infection. It’s normal for burns to itch as they heal, but aggressively scratching the area increases infection risk.
Sensitivity to sunlight is another issue that can affect the healing process. When bandages are no longer needed, it’s important to be vigilant about sunscreen use over the affected area.
Your Right to Compensation
Georgia law protects both part-time and full-time construction workers who are employed at a business with three or more employees, regardless of their length of service. If you’ve been injured at your workplace, you’re entitled to several different benefits.
Medical benefits cover the cost of your medical care, including emergency treatment and follow up care from a doctor on your employer’s panel of physicians. You are also entitled to reimbursement for mileage and other travel expenses relating to your medical treatment.
Income replacement benefits include Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits for workers who are unable to work at all, and Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits for workers who are working light duty and are earning less money than they were prior to their accident.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits compensate workers who’ve sustained permanently disabling injuries to a specific body part or the body as a whole. These benefits are payable only once a worker is no longer receiving TTD or TPD benefits.
Death benefits can be awarded to the spouse and/or dependent children of a worker who has sustained fatal injuries. These benefits cover funeral and burial costs in addition to providing income replacement.
If you’re struggling to collect your workers’ compensation benefits, hiring an experienced attorney is the best way to protect your rights. Rechtman & Spevak is committed to advocating for the needs of Georgia workers who’ve suffered burns and other on-the-job injuries. We’ve assisted clients in obtaining settlements from Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Kroger, Piedmont Healthcare, Waffle House, Chick-fil-A, and other local businesses. Please call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.