Burns are one of the work accident injuries that are least talked about. We all hear about cases of accidents at work in which an employee falls from a certain height, is run over by a machine, a wheelbarrow, etc.
However, burns are much more frequent than we imagine and, depending on their seriousness, can have very important consequences for who suffer them, both physical and psychological.
On the one hand, there are obvious examples of those at risk, such as firefighting personnel dedicated to the extinction of fires, laboratory personnel, personnel in chemical companies, and those working with pyrotechnics, etc.
Burns are also frequent in the field of hospitality: kitchen staff, waiters, etc., on countless occasions, suffer burns, sometimes of a severe nature.
And not only fire can cause burns; people who work in rescue tasks in the mountains, ski resorts, etc., can suffer severe freeze burns.
Who can claim compensation for burns if they have been burned at work?
As in any work accident, it is important to determine the cause of the burn and to know if the injury could have been avoided. That is, we must prove total or partial culpability on the part of the company or employer, either because they do not comply with the regulations required to protect against occupational risks, or because they do not provide adequate training for workers or do not provide the protective equipment appropriate to the performance of their functions in the company.
- A worker in a laboratory who is not provided with glasses or a protective mask and suffers a burn from the vapours of an acid they were handling.
- Personnel that fight against fires and have not received the corresponding fireproof boots or the appropriate suits to fight the flames.
- A waitress doing a cook’s jobs, on a regular or occasional basis.
How are burns compensated in work accidents?
In the first place, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the main thing is to be able to show that it is an accident at work. In that case, the worker can claim compensation for the injury.
There are three types of compensation included in this scale:
- Due to death
- Due to sequels
- For temporary injuries
This scale is inspired and respects the basic principle of compensation for bodily harm, trying to return the injured to their situation prior to the accident or compensate them financially for the damages suffered and consequences that they have to deal with.
In the case of burns, the sequels of aesthetics come into play. The most serious burns could leave permanent aesthetic damage. This is quantified by means of a compensatory scale that establishes a minimum and a maximum amount of compensation payable.
In addition, we must obviously add many other concepts such as days of healing, psychological sequelae, physical sequelae (in many cases the burns themselves cause the injured limitations in the mobility of certain joints and other damages that are considered as functional sequelae). And of course, we must also add the factors corresponding to work incapacity that can increase compensation even further.
In occupational accidents in which there are major burns, it is very common for the worker involved to develop post-traumatic stress and fear, which usually makes them incapable of practicing their profession (e.g., for a law enforcement officer who suffers an episode of this type, it is difficult for them to be able to face a similar situation again).
We always recommend seeking legal advice from expert lawyers in relation to occupational accidents and burn compensation cases, accompanied by a medical team specialised in bodily injury that will know how to assess and specify the extent of your injuries to obtain the best compensation possible.