Burn Injury Care Improving in Workers Compensation Cases
About one hundred years ago, in response to public outcry about work-related disabilities and deaths among rail, mine and manufacturing workers, the workers compensation system was born. Not only has it been successful in providing treatment for workers injured on the job, its mere existence has initiated safety precautions amongst employers, resulting in a significant decrease in catastrophic work-related injuries since its inception.
In fact, attorneys at Cantrell Green, a preeminent workers compensation law firm, observed that recent statistics indicate about one-tenth of catastrophic injuries (including, among others, injuries to the brain, spinal cord, burns and multiple trauma) occur at work. Cantrell Green attorneys carefully monitor injury statistics in order to better prevent and treat them under the workers compensation system.
Statistics Regarding Workplace Burn Injuries
Reported incidents of burn cases has dropped by approximately fifty percent over the last 30 years. The major reason for the decrease is a decline in home fires. However, there is an average of 15,000 job-related burn cases each year. Of those cases, an average of 150 per year result in the loss of life, and roughly 3,000 of the cases result in hospitalizations. Cooking accidents are responsible for the largest percentage of on-the-job burn injuries, with chemical burns coming in a close second.
Recent Improvements in Workers Compensation Burn Injury Care
In the last decades of the 20th century, major improvements in treatment methodology have resulted in markedly improved outcomes for burn victims. And recent technology offers hope for continued improvement in care, even in the most severe cases.
A major improvement in burn care arrived with the development of national networks of dedicated treatment centers and burn care specialists. While these centers have been around since the 1970s, they were few in number and there was little or no coordination between them. Now, there are at least 138 burn centers, featuring not only physicians, but nurses, therapists, psychologists, and others who are specifically trained in the unique challenges presented by burn patients.
Another improvement is the training protocols for first responders and trauma centers. In contrast to what was seen only a few decades ago, now there are few if any emergency physicians and paramedics who have not been through advanced training courses regarding emergency care and treatment for burn victims.
And finally, with the availability of better medical treatment, more burn patients survive beyond the first hours and days after their injuries. This has resulted in more attention being given to rehabilitation, which in turn leads to a better quality of survival, and has become a major focus of burn treatment protocols.
What Workers Compensation Burn Care will Look Like in the Future
According to the experts, there are three improvements that promise to be “game changers” in caring for burn victims that either are or will shortly be available within the workers comp system.
- First, burn victims with more acute cases will be cared for in specialized burn centers. These centers will coordinate treatment plans with rehabilitation centers.
- Second, telemedicine will enable experienced burn doctors who are not on site to still provide immediate and comprehensive visual assessment of burn injuries. Treatment and transfer decisions can be made more quickly and accurately.
- Third, over the last decades, the burn care community has worked diligently to develop an effective skin substitute. While there is yet much work to be done, enormous strides have already been achieved. Estimates indicate that within the next decade a 60% total body surface area burn might result in a three week hospitalization rather than what now would take months. And a shorter hospitalization would enable the patient to enter rehab more quickly, resulting in a better outcome in terms of quality of life.
Burn Injury Workers Compensation Attorney
If you receive a burn in a workplace accident, it is important to file a claim for workers’ compensation immediately and then get treatment, even if you don’t think the burn is significant. Failing to file in a timely manner could result in denial of benefits and compensation. Even more important, quick medical treatment increases your chances of full recovery.
If your burn was caused even in part by a defective product or a toxic substance, or a failure on your employer’s part to provide a safe working environment, or if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, it may be possible for you to file a personal injury claim outside of the workers’ compensation.
The experienced and knowledgeable workers compensation attorneys at Cantrell Green don’t just focus on the legal aspects of your case – the trauma associated with burn injuries can be far reaching. We see ourselves as advocates for injured workers and their families whose lives have been impacted by work-related burn injuries, and understand how such injuries can result in financial and emotional burdens.
Our workers compensation attorneys know how to help you. If you or a loved one sustained a burn injury on the job, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation. We will review your case and suggest the best possible course of action to ensure you receive the maximum benefits and compensation to which you are entitled.