Burn Injuries and California Workers’ Compensation
Expert assistance with workers’ comp claims from a board-certified specialist serving Orange County and the Inland Empire
Burn injuries are among the most devastating harm a person can endure, not only causing immense physical pain, suffering and mental distress but also causing financial strain due to ongoing medical bills and loss of income. Employees who suffered a burn injury on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation, but sometimes employers and their workers’ comp insurance carriers stand in the way of the employee’s benefits.
If you are employed in Orange County or the Inland Empire and suffer from a burn injury, Invictus Law, P.C., can help. Our Board-Certified workers’ compensation specialist has years of experience helping workers injured on the job and works diligently to make sure injured workers get all the benefits they are entitled to. Learn important facts below about burn injuries and workers’ compensation, and call Invictus Law, P.C., for help if your claim is denied, unreasonably delayed, underpaid, or terminated prematurely.
Risks of Burn Injuries Are Prevalent Across Many Different Occupational Settings
Burn injuries can occur anywhere, but some workplaces are more prone to such incidents than others. Below are various occupational settings where burn injuries are more common:
- Industrial & Manufacturing Workplaces – These settings often involve high-temperature machines, chemicals, and hazardous materials that can lead to burns.
- Restaurants & Commercial Kitchens – Hot oil, boiling water, and high-temperature ovens can result in severe burns for employees who are not provided with protective equipment and safe work practices in the chaotic kitchen environment.
- Construction Sites – Exposure to electrical wiring, flammable substances, and hot machinery can cause burns. Electrical shocks are a leading cause of death on construction projects, but even nonlethal burns can be avoided if workers and supervisors follow OSHA rules for grounding electrical equipment, lockout/tagout procedures, and working on or near energized surfaces and power lines.
- Laboratories – Chemical burns are a potential risk when handling dangerous substances without adequate safety measures, including protective gloves, goggles and clothing, respiratory equipment, and adequate ventilation.
Understanding the Degrees of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can range in severity, generally categorized into four different degrees:
- First-Degree Burns. These burns only affect the top layer of the skin and typically require minimal treatment like cold water and topical ointments.
- Second-Degree Burns. Affecting the top two layers of the skin, these burns may require more intensive treatment, including specialized bandaging or even skin grafting.
- Third-Degree Burns. These burns affect multiple layers of skin and underlying tissues. Hospitalization and long-term treatment are often necessary.
- Fourth-Degree Burns. The most severe type, fourth-degree burns, penetrate deep into muscle and bone, requiring complex medical intervention and often leading to long-term disabilities.
Workers’ Compensation for Burn Injuries in California
Workers who suffer a burn injury on the job can file for workers’ compensation benefits, which can cover medical bills, temporary or permanent wage replacement and disability benefits, and even vocational rehabilitation. However, the process can be complicated, and having an experienced law firm like Invictus Law, P.C., can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim. Underscoring the need for experienced legal counsel, it is not uncommon for employers and their workers’ comp insurance carriers to employ tactics to avoid paying full benefits. Some strategies include:
- Downgrading the Severity of the Injury – By minimizing the degree of the burn, they may try to offer lower compensation than you are entitled to. Employers can require claimants to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) by one of their doctors, and the results of the IME can be used to oppose the diagnosis/prognosis of the employee’s treating physician.
- Questioning the Circumstances. Employers may argue that the injury occurred outside the scope of employment to avoid liability altogether. This tactic is often accompanied by repeated requests for documentation and information, delaying the claims process until the worker gives up.
- Terminating Benefits Early. Insurance companies often push to stop benefits before the injured worker is fully healed and ready to return to work. The IME can be used here as well to argue the employee is fit for duty so the employer can stop paying workers’ comp.
Contact Invictus Law, P.C., for Help After a Burn Injury at Work in Orange County or Inland Empire
If you’ve been injured on the job in Southern California and need help securing workers’ compensation benefits completely, promptly, and successfully, contact a seasoned workers’ compensation specialist by calling Invictus Law, P.C., at 949-287-5711, serving Orange County and the Inland Empire with offices in Orange and Ontario.