Philadelphia Workplace Burn Injury Lawyer
Construction sites can be very dangerous places where accidents routinely occur. A burn injury is a common construction accident. The attorneys at the Philadelphia, PA law firm of The Levin Firm understand that severe burns can require serious and life-altering surgical procedures, such as skin grafts and amputation. Fifth- and sixth-degree burns can be fatal. Our lawyers understand that the severity of a construction burn accident also depends on its surface area; the larger the area affected by the burn, regardless of its degree, the more serious the injury. Most construction site burn accident injuries could be prevented by the imposition of safety measures and practices. You have a right to recover for all your injuries against the parties that did not take appropriate measures to ensure your safety.
Types Of Burns
There are different types of injuries which can result in burns. Those most commonly occurring on construction sites include:
- Electrical burns: When electric current passes through the body, a burn on the surface of the skin may result. The size of the burn does not always give an indication of how severe the electrical injury actually is. Electrical burns are merely a symptom of what might be very serious internal injuries to the organs and tissue.
- Contact burns: When the surface of the skin comes into contact with a hot surface, such as a running motor or radiator, a burn or blister will appear on the skin. These burns are usually superficial and are rarely fatal.
- Chemical burns: These are caused when the skin comes in contact with industrial chemicals in liquid, solid, or gas form. Job sites often have many different chemicals.
A Difficult Healing Process
Burns can range from superficial to much more life-threatening. Regardless of the severity of the burn, victims must be diligent to get their injuries treated as soon as possible. If you don’t, you’ll suffer needless pain—and possibly impede your ability to get financial compensation for your injuries. Typically, burns are categorized based on the damage they cause:
- First-degree burns.
These burns are superficial in nature, meaning that they damage only the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis. They generally heal well within 2 weeks.
- Second-degree burns (with partial thickness).
These burns damage not only the epidermis but also extend into the papillary dermis. You might experience redness with blisters. These second-degree burns can heal in 2-3 weeks but may leave scars.
- Second-degree burns (with deep partial thickness).
These burns extend down to the deep dermis and can take a couple months to heal. You will probably be left with scarring and may need skin grafts to recover.
- Third-degree burns.
These burns extend through the entire dermis and may look white or brown. It can take several months to heal, if healing is possible. You may need amputation of damaged of affected body parts.
- Fourth-degree burns.
These burns reach through the entire skin and into the muscle, bone, fat, and nerves underneath. The burn may appear black or charred and will require amputation. Death may result.
Burns that extend over a larger area of the body are also more likely to result in death than if a burn is localized. A third-degree burn might be easy to treat if it covers a small area, but you could suffer severe complications if the burn covers a third of your body.
Who Can You Hold Responsible?
Who you sue will depend on several factors, including how you were injured. For example, you might have been injured because a product or equipment didn’t operate as you expected it to. Or you might have been injured because electrical wires were improperly exposed and you accidentally were electrocuted. In Pennsylvania, you can’t sue your employer if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but you still might be able to hold a third party responsible:
- Product Manufacturer
When a dangerous product injures you, you might be able to sue the manufacturer or others along the chain of distribution. For example, you might have been burned by chemicals that lacked a proper warning label or safety instructions. Or a piece of electric equipment might have exploded, electrocuting you in the process. In situations like these, you can sue the parties responsible for putting the product in the stream of commerce and receive compensation for your injuries.
- Worksite Managers
You might get burned on the worksite because of a hazard that was created by someone else’s negligence. Many different parties manage a construction worksite, include the following:
- The site owner
- Property managers
- Construction companies
- Equipment managers
Any of these parties might be responsible for ensuring a safe work environment. If they fail through their negligence, then you might be able to hold them legally responsible for your burns.
What You Must Prove
To bring a successful lawsuit, you’ll need to prove that someone else is responsible for your injuries. The evidence you need to present will depend on who the third party is. For example, consider the following:
- Products liability – If you’re injured by a product, you’ll need to show that you were injured because of a defect. Defects can take many forms:
- Defective design – The product might have been designed in such a way that it is dangerous to the consumer.
- Defective manufacture – If a product isn’t put together properly, it could be dangerous and burn you.
- Failure to warn or instruct – Some products are so dangerous they can’t be made 100% safe. In these situations, you must be given sufficient warnings or instructions that allow you to reduce the risk to yourself. If warnings or instructions are insufficient or absent, the product could be defective.
A product is defective when it doesn’t work as you would expect it to, or if its risk of harm outweighs the costs of making the product safer.
Ideally, the defective product (or what’s left of it) will be available for your lawyers to inspect. Your lawyer may need to hire an expert witness who can explain to a judge and jury what is defective about the product and whether the manufacturer could have made it safer.
You can sue property owners, managers, and the like for negligence if you can establish the following elements. Each element is required, and you won’t have a valid legal claim if any one is missing:
- The defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care
- The defendant breached (broke) that duty by not being reasonably careful
- You suffered injuries
- Those injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of their duty of care.
Proof that the defendant violated federal, state, or local safety regulations is some proof of negligence; but you aren’t limited to legal violations like these. You will also need to rely on your own testimony and other eyewitnesses to testify about security lapses on the job site. For example, witnesses can testify that hazardous chemicals were left lying around without proper labeling. If so, the carelessness might be sufficient to hold the job site manager responsible for causing your burns.
It is important to contact an attorney right away if you have suffered a burn injury at a construction site. The nature of a construction site is that it is constantly changing, and it is important that the site is investigated, observed and photographed in the same condition that it was in when you were injured. Property owners may try to fix the dangerous condition or cover it up, or it may be eliminated on its own as part of the original construction plans. That’s why you need an attorney who will work quickly and efficiently to ensure that you have the strongest case possible so that you can fully recover for your injuries.
Remember to sit down as soon as possible and write down your own memories of what happened. Also note any witnesses to the accident so that you can share their identity with your lawyer, who will need to talk to them to get a fuller picture of the job site hazards. Since you can be reimbursed for medical expenses, make sure to preserve all medical bills and receipts for any money spent out-of-pocket.Representing clients who were burned in construction site accidents requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers all devoting their maximum effort to their clients. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania, and New Jersey personal injury attorneys work together with a team of investigators and support staff to investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.
Contact A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer Today
When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has been burned in a construction site accident, contact The Levin Firm, who represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case. We can identify who is responsible for your injuries and tailor a compelling case based on the facts presented. Call us today at 215-825-5183 or fill out our online contact form. Initial consultation and case evaluation are free.