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Burn Injuries in Boston Workers’ Compensation Cases

We have all been burned at some point in our lives.  Whether we are talking about being burned on the stove, suffering a moderate to severe sunburn or actually being badly burned by fire or electricity, we know just how painful burn injuries can be.  For the most part, our experiences are limited to fairly mild burns to a small area of our body.  Unfortunately, some workers are not that lucky. There are few things more painful or serious than serious burn injuries.

weldingDoctors grade burns according to the severity.  We are usually dealing with the issue of the depth of the burn, as measured in degrees, and the size of the burn on a patient’s body, as measured in a percentage.  Most people have heard of first, second and third-degree burns.  A first-degree burn is something like a mild sunburn that may blister or peel, and a third degree burn involves the destruction all dermal (skin) layers as well as some muscle beneath.  However, there is what are known to doctors as fourth-degree burns that involve full thickness destruction. This means that the burn goes through all layers of skin and then destroys bone and other tissues. If a fourth-degree burn is to a large area of the injured worker, the result is often fatal.  Even if the burn does not kill the injured worker, the body will be very susceptible to staph and other secondary infections, because the skin is the body’s best defense to bacteria and many viruses.
According to a recent news article from WDEL, a petroleum worker was seriously injured in a workplace accident that involved an explosion. Authorities say he was using a chop saw that created sparks.  These sparks ignited petroleum vapors, which caused an explosive flash.  While he was fortunate to survive the potentially fatal workplace explosion, he suffered severe burns to more than 80 percent of his body.  He has a very difficult recovery process ahead and may never work again.  The main concern is keeping him from getting infection as various skin grafts are performed.

As our Boston workplace injury lawyers can explain, certain types of accidents allow for one-time payments of special compensation in addition to the standard workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages and past and future medical bills. In cases where a victim is scarred on his or her face, head, neck, or hands, the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act will authorize one-time payments based upon a percentage of the state average weekly wage (SAWW) or other formula set by the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (Mass DIA).

There are also one-time special payments for other accidents that involve the loss of a hand, arm, leg, or foot.  These payments will depend on whether or not it was a dominant or non-dominant extremity. Additionally, there additional benefits for the loss of vision or an eye or both eyes.   These benefits should not affect your standard workers’ compensation benefits.

If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Additional Resources:

Delaware Petroleum worker injured in explosion was Lewes Fire Department Captain, March 29, 2017, By Amy Cherry, WDEL

More Blog Entries:
Report: Three Workers Burned in Natural Gas Explosion, Feb. 18, 2017, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog