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Burn Injuries Lawyer

Charlotte Burn Injuries Lawyer

Not only are burn injuries some of the most painful an individual can experience, but they often lead to debilitating injuries, scarring, orlong-term disability. Sadly, some workers in North Carolina will receive burn injuries while on the job.

If you’ve sustained a burn injury while performing your duties at work, then it’s urgent that you file a workers’ compensation claim after receiving medical treatment.

Despite the severity of what you’ve experienced, it’s rare that you will receive sympathy from the workers’ comp insurance provider that your employer has hired. Since insurance companies are inherently profit-driven organizations, it’s far more likely that they will attempt to minimize the compensation and benefit payments that you receive. In some cases, this could even mean downplaying the severity of your burn injuries.

The expert legal team at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler has been protecting the rights of injured workers since 1986. Since then, our firm has developed vast experience handling the workers’ comp claims of North Carolina employees.

Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler Understands Burn Injuries

Our firm has extensive knowledge of the many manners in which burn injuries can occur, as well as the array of injuries that can be the outcome. Although it is technically possible for any workers to receive a burn injury, many on-the-job burn injuries occur as a result of:

  • Electrical burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Grease burns

Further, the severity and degree of the burn can lead to different types of injuries. Some of the most common forms of burn injuries are:

  • Scarring
  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle damage
  • Disfigurement
  • Chronic pain

No matter which of these burn injuries you have sustained, Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler will work tirelessly to see that you receive maximum compensation. We will make sure that the compensation you receive fully covers the cost of your medical care and treatment. For instance, if you had to receive plastic surgery or skin grafts due to your on-the-job burn injury, you should not be forced to pay these fees out of pocket.

No matter the details of your burn injury, keep in mind that the NC workers’ compensation system isn’t set up to best benefit the workers of the state. Even if your injuries are severe, this is no guarantee that you will be offered a fair settlement, especially if it’s the initial offer. On that note, never accept a settlement of any kind until you have consulted with a workers’ comp attorney — especially if the injuries you’ve sustained are severe, such as permanent disfigurement or disability.

The Types of Burn Injuries

Regardless of where or how they occur, burn injuries can develop at varying levels of severity. Different degrees of injury will require different treatments, and some are more likely to result in permanent disfigurement or disability than others.

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns are the least severe type of burn injury. For instance, most sunburns would fall into the category of first-degree. When an individual sustains one of these injuries, only the uppermost layer of their skin will be damaged. In terms of appearance, first-degree burns take the form of reddening skin, much like what you’d expect from a sunburn.

Although they aren’t as severe as other types, this doesn’t mean that first-degree burns aren’t painful. Additionally, if the burn doesn’t receive the proper medical care, then it could become infected.

Second-Degree Burns

When the individual’s skin and the layer beneath it are both damaged, then they have sustained a second-degree burn. Second-degree burns are more severe than first-degree and can typically be identified by the blisters that form, as well as the reddening of the skin. These burns are often highly painful, and if they don’t receive medical care, can even develop into third-degree burns. This is due to the decreased blood flow and swelling that can occur.

Third-Degree Burns

If the burn reaches the layer of fat found beneath the skin, then the individual has developed a third-degree burn. Since these serious burns lead to nerves being destroyed, they are typically numb, despite the high level of severity. Following a third-degree burn, the skin might appear leathery or charred; it could also turn a shade of brown, white, or even black. Generally, individuals who sustain third-degree burns will require multiple skin grafts.

Heat Inhalation

If an individual breathes in hot air directly, this can lead to serious internal burns. Namely, the upper airways can sustain significant damage. This includes the esophagus, mucous membranes, and trachea. If the damage is prolonged and severe enough, then it is even possible for the lungs to be damaged as well.

Electrical Burns

Following an electrical shock, burns are the most common injury an individual can sustain. After coming into contact with an electrical charge or energized wiring, the current will travel through the person’s body. This can then lead to tissues and organs being damaged, sometimes severely.

Certain professions, such as construction work, are at a higher risk of sustaining electrical burns while on the job. For instance, a construction worker could come into contact with energized overhead or underground power lines.

In some cases, electrical shocks will result in long-term issues, including ongoing pain or muscle weakness. When electrical burns occur, it is often in the workplace.

Systemic Toxins

If an individual becomes exposed to systemic toxins, their body will struggle to adequately absorb oxygen. When this occurs, it can damage various organs throughout the body, including the brain.

Are Burn Injuries Covered Under Workers’ Comp in NC?

Yes, in North Carolina, burn injuries that were sustained on the job are covered under workers’ compensation.

For a work-related injury to be covered under workers’ comp, the most important criterion is that the injury was due to an accident of some kind. The worker should have been performing the normal scope of their job before an unusual event took place, which caused their burn injury.

The medical treatments required to care for a burn injury are often extremely expensive, and without the aid of workers’ comp, could put an overwhelming burden on the injured person’s own finances. In the case of serious burn injuries, it is even possible that medical treatment will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

This treatment could involve several surgeries, including cosmetic surgery, which is often used as a means to treat scarring.

Workers’ comp can be used to pay for any medical treatment (including surgery) and rehabilitation that the victim requires. While they are receiving this treatment and are unable to work, it is also possible for them to take in temporary disability payments. If the burn injury is severe enough to lead to the loss of a body part, it is also possible for NC workers’ comp to provide the appropriate compensation.

How Do I File an NC Workers’ Comp Claim After a Burn Injury?

If you fail to correctly file a North Carolina workers’ comp claim, then you could be sacrificing your entire claim. By working with a burn injury lawyer, you will have someone with the experience necessary to guide you through the entire process with ease.

As soon as possible, be sure to notify your employer about the burn injury. Only after you’ve completed this step should you begin the process of filing your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Even if your employer is currently paying for your medical treatment, you should still file this claim, rather than relying upon your employer to take care of it.

Your claim will need to be filed within two years of when you sustained the burn injury. However, the earlier you file the claim, the less likely it is that you will run into issues related to timeliness.

If you have any specific questions about how to file a workers’ comp claim in North Carolina, the best course of action is to consult with an attorney at your earliest convenience.

Is Smoke Inhalation a Type of Burn Injury?

Not only is smoke inhalation a form of burn injury, but it is also an extremely serious one. For perspective, when individuals die due to house fires, their death often isn’t the result of the flames — instead, it’s the result of smoke inhalation.

Smoke contains a cocktail of harmful gases (including carbon monoxide) and vapors; it also contains finely ground soot.

Eventually, smoke inhalation can lead to respiratory failure, which is often fatal. Sadly, it is possible that smoke inhalation victims will be deprioritized when it comes to receiving treatment, due to the lack of visible injury. Those with visible burn injuries will often be the first to be treated, despite the fact that most fatalities due to fires are actually the result of smoke, rather than direct contact with flames.

If you received injuries related to smoke inhalation while on the job, then you are owed substantial compensation for your injuries.

What Is an Injury Rating in an NC Workers’ Comp Claim?

One of the most essential stages of your workers’ comp claim occurs when you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This describes the point at which, based on the current state of medical technology, it isn’t feasible for treatment to improve your condition any further.

Oftentimes, this doesn’t actually mean that the individual has been healed of their injuries. Instead, it simply indicates that they have reached a plateau, where no amount of medical treatment could feasibly lead to their condition improving further.

Once a doctor has determined that MMI has been reached, it’s time for the injured worker’s injury rating to be calculated. The purpose of the injury rating is to indicate, empirically, how much loss of function the individual has sustained in the injured body part(s). This rating will take on the form of a percentage amount.

If they desire, the injured worker has the right to seek out a second opinion, after they have received the initial injury rating. They will be permitted to choose the doctor who provides the second opinion, while their employer will be required to pay for it.

Depending upon the injury rating a worker receives for their burn injury, the amount of money they receive through Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD) can vary significantly.

How Much Does an NC Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost?

One of the primary reasons injured workers hesitate to hire an attorney is simple: Concerns about the cost and whether they can afford these legal fees, especially when they’ve already faced extensive medical bills.

Fortunately for injured workers, workers’ comp attorneys in North Carolina utilize a contingency system. This means that clients won’t be required to provide any amount of payment unless their lawyer earns them compensation. If no compensation is brought in, then the burn injury victim won’t be required to supply any amount in legal fees.

Thus, it is incredibly rare that injured workers in NC will be required to pay any money out of pocket if they’re looking to hire an attorney for their workers’ comp claim.

In North Carolina, the standard contingency for workers’ comp cases (whether it’s related to burns or another type of injury) is 25%. So, the injured worker will be required to pay their lawyer 25% of the total amount of compensation they receive through their case.

Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler Supports Burn Injury Victims in NC

If you or a loved one has sustained burn injuries on the job, then it’s vital that you seek out a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible. Without a lawyer, it can be difficult to receive the settlement that you are rightfully owed. Instead, insurance providers or your employer may offer you a settlement or agreement that is far below what you should be receiving.

In North Carolina, workers can always turn to Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler to ensure that their rights and interests are protected. We charge all of our clients on a contingent basis, so you will only be required to provide payment if we help you earn benefits.

To get in touch with us or schedule a consultation, simply fill out our online contact form today.

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