Did you get burned at work? The most common types of burns related to work are thermal and chemical. Thermal burns are typically caused by contact with something really hot like fire, a stove, a hot cooking pan, steam, etc. Chemical burns are caused by exposure to irritants like acids or alkaline. If you have been burned at work, no matter what type of burn you have, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney.
As we have discussed in earlier posts, under the Arizona workers' compensation scheme, injuries to certain body parts such as arms and legs are compensated according to a specific schedule which limits payments to a percentage of your average monthly income to a set number of months. The percentage and number of months vary according to the injury. However, injuries affecting body parts not listed in the schedule allow for possible life-time compensation. Burns should fall into the unscheduled category.
Bottom line: having an unscheduled injury allows for the possibility of lifetime benefits whereas scheduled injuries do not. This is why it can be very important if your case can be converted to an unscheduled impairment.
Determining whether an injury is scheduled or unscheduled is especially complicated when your injury is a burn injury. The Arizona workers' compensation statutes do not specifically address burns. That means that there isn't a hard and fast rule as to which section (scheduled or unscheduled) burns fall into. Additionally, impairment ratings are done by doctors according to the AMA Guidelines and within those guidelines, there is some room for interpretation as to whether or not a burn will result in a whole person impairment or not. And to make matters even more confusing, even if you can figure out which section of the Guides is most appropriate to use, the Guides are not binding as to whether or not the injury is scheduled or unscheduled under the Workers' Compensation Statutes. So even if your doctor thinks you have a whole person, unscheduled impairment, the judge may disagree. Sufficiently confused?
The moral of the story is that burn cases can be very complicated and if you aren't careful you can miss out on benefits that you are entitled to. Please give Fendon Law Firm a call for a free consultation.