Burns that cover large areas of the body can lead to further complications as the damage causes the body’s systems to fail. This leads to death in many cases. For those workers who survive complications from workplace burns, it invariably means additional expensive and arduous medical treatments.
When workers suffer burn injuries or death in the workplace because safety rules and training were neglected, those who ignored safety regulations could be held accountable for the losses, pain and suffering of the injured workers and their families.
The Mayo Clinic says deep or widespread burns can lead to many complications, including:
- Infection. Burned skin is vulnerable to bacterial infection and increased risk of sepsis, a life-threatening infection that travels through the bloodstream and affects the entire body. Sepsis is a rapidly progressing condition that can cause shock and organ failure.
- Low blood volume (hypovolemia). Burns can damage blood vessels and cause fluid loss. This may lead to hypovolemia. Severe loss of blood and fluids prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the body.
- Low body temperature (hypothermia). The skin helps control the body’s temperature, so injury to a large portion of the skin can cause loss of body heat. This increases the risk of hypothermia, a condition in which the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerously low body temperature.
- Breathing (respiratory) problems. Inhaling hot air or smoke can burn airways and cause breathing difficulties. Smoke inhalation that results in damage to the lungs is common in fires. Such injuries can lead to respiratory failure.
- Scarring. Burns can leave scars and keloids, ridged areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue.
- Bone and joint problems. Deep burns can leave scar tissue that causes contractures, which is when skin, muscles or tendons shorten and tighten, permanently pulling joints out of position.
Legal Help for Burn Injury Complications
Serious burn injuries can cause deep tissue damage and lead to complications that require additional treatment for hopes of recovery. The expense of medical treatment and rehabilitation therapy necessitated by workplace burn complications may quickly exceed six figures. Some workplace burn victims can never work for a living again, and some do not survive.
In many cases, a workplace burn injury could have been avoided. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues thousands of violation citations each year to employers who have failed to adhere to safety regulations pertaining to fire and explosion, electrical safety, and use and storage of corrosive chemicals.
Regardless of whether an employer followed proper safety procedures, a worker who has suffered a workplace burn is likely to be due compensation for the injury and its complications. South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits apply to occupational burns regardless of a finding of negligence.
A worker who suffered a serious burn injury complication after a job site accident might also be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit if a third party caused or contributed to the accident. The family of a deceased workplace burn victim might be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
A workplace accident lawsuit could be an option if:
- A defective product led to the burn injury;
- A third party, such as a project manager, architect or engineer, was negligent and that led to the injury; or
- A subcontractor’s employee or a vendor at a job site caused the accident.
If a party other than the employer was responsible for an occupational burn injury, a lawsuit could be an appropriate course of action for the injury victim and/or their family. A workplace injury lawsuit could provide benefits beyond what is available from South Carolina workers’ compensation.
Our South Carolina Workplace Burn Injury Complication Lawyers Can Help You Now
When a workplace burn injury results in complications, proving the relationship between the original accident and the resulting medical problems can be complicated. To determine whether you have a valid legal claim based on workplace burn injury complications, discuss it with one of the attorneys at Joye Law Firm.
Your initial consultation is free and confidential. Contact the Joye Law Firm today at (888) 324-3100 or complete our online case evaluation form.
- Mayo Clinic – Burns: Complications