While chemical burns trigger fewer than 10 percent of burn-related injuries, they’re usually much worse than thermal or electrical burns because they can cause both external and internal injuries. Dangerous chemicals can seep through the skin, destroy nerves, and sear internal organs.
Additionally, these injuries often have ongoing consequences. For example, eye burns often cause partial or total blindness. And, exposure to chemicals has been linked to psychological symptoms, like depression and anxiety. Frequently, these ongoing consequences do not become apparent for several years.At Williams Hart, our Houston burn injury lawyers work hard to obtain fair compensation for these victims. As outlined below, these victims usually have several legal options.
Chemical Burn Injury Treatment
Temperature burns usually occur suddenly. Sometimes, chemical burns happen this way. Other times, chemical burn injuries occur slowly over time.
Most victims receive first aid following surface chemical burns. That usually includes pulling the victim away from the source of the caustic chemical and some basic injury treatment, like washing the area and bandaging it. These steps do not eliminate injury, but they often mitigate its effects.
Serious surface burns usually require treatment at specialized burn centers. Medical technology has advanced light years in many areas. But in terms of burn treatment, skin grafts are often the only available treatment. Furthermore, surface burn wounds have high infection rates. If the victim has a pre-existing condition, these bacterial infections are often life-threatening.
Other chemical burns do not affect the skin at all. Instead, the victim is exposed to toxic fumes. These fumes are either inhaled or they absorb directly through the skin or another orifice, such as the eyes.
These injuries are difficult to diagnose. The initial chemical poisoning symptoms, like headaches, cough, shortness of breath, and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) are rather generic. Doctors often do not connect the symptoms with a chemical burn until the injury reaches an advanced stage.
In both situations, we quickly connect victims with doctors. You never know the extent of your illness or injury until a well-qualified doctor examines you.
If the chemical burn injury is job-related, workers’ compensation is usually available. This no-fault insurance covers:
- Lost Wages: Generally, the victim is the family’s primary or only wage earner. In these situations, even a few weeks without a paycheck could be devastating. And, serious burns usually have much longer recovery periods. So, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of a temporary disability.
- Medical Bills: The cost of burn injury treatment can reach a staggering $10 million. Workers’ compensation pays 100 percent of these costs. Workers’ comp also pays for other reasonably necessary expenses, such as airlifting and emergency transportation, physical therapy, and future medical expenses.
Victims need not prove fault or negligence to obtain these benefits. However, Claims Examiners usually deny claims, at least in part. So, our Houston burn injury lawyers proceed to the next level, which is a trial-like hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Insurance companies know that, at the ALJ hearing, attorneys have free reign. Therefore, these cases usually settle on victim-friendly terms prior to the hearing.
Many chemical burn injuries occur at offshore energy production facilities. Various federal workers-compensation-type systems usually apply in these incidents.
Texas is one of the only states in the country where workers’ compensation insurance is optional. So, there is a good chance your employer is uninsured. If you are injured and your employer has no insurance, our Houston burn injury lawyers can file a claim in civil court.
If that happens, employers are not allowed to use some key defenses, such as assumption of the risk and comparative fault. Moreover, the victims are entitled to additional compensation for their pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other noneconomic losses.
Additionally, if the chemical burn injury was not job-related, the victim may file a civil claim. Many common household and industrial products can cause serious burns. Moreover, many employers make little or no effort to warn passers-by and other potential victims about the risk of toxic fumes emanating from a chemical plant.
Either immediately or over time, chemical burns often cause serious injuries. For a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart today. Home and hospital visits are available.