For the typical employee, experiencing an explosion or fire at work is not something they expect to happen. But unfortunately, these accidents do occur – and for those workers who do suffer from such an accident, the consequences can be catastrophic – resulting in severe injuries, and in some cases, death. According to OSHA, an average of 5,000 injuries occur each year as a result of workplace explosions and fires. If you or a loved one have been the victim of this type of event at work, it’s important to understand that you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Accidents that result in fires or explosions in the workplace can occur in several ways. For instance, a construction worker could be burned by molten metal. A welder could start a fire that quickly spreads out of control, or a chemical plant worker could be involved in an explosion caused by a tank of chemicals that suddenly ignite. Fires or explosions can happen in any work environment, but are most common in chemical and manufacturing plants, construction sites, and oil and gas refineries.
One of the most common types of injuries caused by an explosion or fire is a burn injury. Burns can range in severity from first-degree (minor) to fourth-degree (severe). First-degree burns are the most minor, and usually only result in redness and swelling of the skin. Second-degree burns are more serious and can cause blistering and pain. Third-degree burns are more severe, and often require skin grafts. Fourth-degree burns damage not only the skin, but also the muscles, tendons, and bones. Severe burn injuries can have several devastating consequences, including:
When a fire or explosion occurs, the resulting smoke and fumes can cause a number of respiratory problems. For example, someone who inhales too much smoke may experience carbon monoxide poisoning, which can result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even death. Other inhalation injuries include chemical burns to the lungs, and damage to the airway and respiratory system.
Explosions and fires can also cause bone fractures. For instance, if someone is thrown by the force of an explosion, they could suffer a broken bone. Or, if they are pinned under debris after a fire, they could suffer from crush injuries.
Whether it’s an electrical fire, a chemical explosion, or some other type of accident, if you’ve been injured in a workplace fire or explosion, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In that case, it is important that you take the following steps:
If you’ve been injured in a fire or explosion, it is important to get medical attention right away. This will not only ensure that you receive the treatment you need, but it will also create documentation of your injuries.
Once you have received medical treatment, you need to report the accident to your employer. This needs to be done as soon as possible, and you should make sure that the report is in writing.
After you have reported the accident, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. This can be done by filling out the necessary paperwork and submitting it to your employer.
Workers’ compensation benefits can help you cover the cost of your medical expenses, as well as provide income replacement if you are unable to work. However, the process of obtaining these benefits can be complex – and oftentimes, insurance companies will try to deny claims or minimize the amount they must pay out. That’s where a Columbia workers’ compensation attorney can help.
A workers’ compensation attorney will be able to assist you in several ways, including:
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you file your claim, ensure all necessary paperwork is submitted, and will also help you gather any evidence needed to support your claim.
If an insurance company attempts to lowball you or deny your benefits, a workers’ compensation attorney will negotiate on your behalf to get you the full amount of benefits you are entitled to.
If your claim is denied, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you file an appeal. They will collect evidence and build a strong case for why you should receive benefits and represent you throughout the appeals process.
Don’t try to navigate the workers’ compensation system alone – get help from an experienced Columbia workers’ compensation attorney.
At The Law Office of Chris Miller, we have extensive experience handling all types of workers’ compensation claims, including those involving fire and explosion injuries. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers work tirelessly to get our clients the benefits they’re entitled to. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, where we’ll review the details of your case and explain all your legal options.