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Chemical Burns: Legal Options for Work Injuries

By Michael Shelton on January 22, 2018

Treating a burned armChemical burns are caused by the exposure of the skin to a caustic substance. In many cases, the chemical in question is a very potent acid or base. When the skin is exposed to chemicals, it can lead to severe damage to the tissue. Worse injuries are possible depending on the nature and duration of the exposure to the chemical.

Whether the burn injury is a result of refinery explosions or other kinds of industrial work, a lawyer at our Houston, TX law firm can help. Let’s consider the dangers of chemical burns and what legal options may be available to you.

Potential Causes of Chemical Burns

Chemical burns can be caused by a wide variety of substances. In industrial workplaces, factories, and construction sites, some common causes of chemical burns include:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Solvents
  • Chemical waste
  • Noxious fumes and gases

These substances can wind up on a person’s skin as a result of carelessness at a workplace, lack of safety equipment such as gloves and goggles, and poor storage of dangerous substances.

Chemical Burns Can Affect More Than the Skin

As one might expect, chemicals can harm more than just a worker’s exposed skin. Gases and liquids might be swallowed, splashed, or inhaled. Chemical burns that affect the eye or eye area can result in vision loss. The burns can also affect the throat and digestive tract if ingested, or the lungs if a chemical agent is inhaled.

Common Symptoms of Chemical Burns

Some common symptoms of chemical burns include:

  • Irritation, pain, and redness of the affected tissue
  • Blisters at the point of contact
  • Skin turning black after contact with chemical
  • Blurry vision or loss of vision
  • Coughing and choking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

Severity of Chemical Burns

Like other kinds of burns, the severity of chemical burns can often be determined based the extent of the tissue damage.

  • First-Degree Burns - Damage done to the epidermis, the topmost layer of skin.
  • Second-Degree Burns - Damage done to the epidermis and underlying dermis, the next layer of skin.
  • Third-Degree Burns - Damage done to the subcutaneous tissue beneath the dermis.
  • Fourth-Degree Burns - Damage extends to the muscle, nerves, and bones.

Workers’ Compensation for Chemical Burns

Following a chemical burn injury at your workplace, it’s possible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. This will help cover the cost-of-living expenses as you recover from your burn injuries.

Potential Legal Action Against Your Employer

You might want to consider a legal action against your employer if the employer acted negligently. For instance, your employer may have put you and others at the job in danger while working around harmful chemical. Safety gear may not have been present, or perhaps you did not receive sufficient training and information with regard to the substances or materials being used.

How an Attorney Can Help

Whether you are denied workers’ compensation benefits or want to consider a lawsuit against your employer, a work injury attorney is crucial. A lawyer can look at the evidence in your case, consider state and federal laws, and provide you with the answers you need to seek compensation and justice.

Going it alone can be a major mistake given the complexity of work injury litigation. An attorney will allow you to focus on recuperation after a chemical burn injury. This peace of mind can prove invaluable.

Learn More About Your Legal Options

For more information about your legal rights and options following a serious on-the-job injury, be sure to contact an experienced work injury attorney. The team at the Shelton Law Firm are here to provide answers an expert legal counsel.

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