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What to Do About Severe Burn Injuries as a Firefighter

 Posted on January 03,2024 in Workers' Compensation

San Benito County workers' compensation lawyerAs a firefighter, you put your life on the line daily to protect people and property. However, this brave service comes with serious risks, including sustaining major burn injuries. Severe burns can be excruciating and result in disfigurement, disability, or even death. If you suffer a serious burn as a firefighter, you must take immediate action to mitigate damage and get the help you need. A California workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine the next step for your specific situation.

Report the Incident

After seeking initial treatment, report the burn incident to your supervisor. Provide details like where and how it occurred, injuries sustained, and medical actions taken. Thorough incident reporting creates a record in case you need to file workers’ compensation or liability claims later. For severe burns that require extended hospitalization or time off work, reporting is a must. Make sure the incident is documented correctly according to department protocols.

Get Specialized Burn Care

Severe burns require specialized medical care, usually in a hospital burn unit. More serious burns may require skin grafts, reconstructive surgery, or amputation of damaged limbs. Expect to stay at the hospital for some time when dealing with significant burns or burns over large portions of the body. You will work with burn specialists like surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, and psychologists throughout your treatment and recovery. This multi-disciplinary approach gives you the best chance at physical and mental healing.

File Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims

After sustaining a severe on-duty burn, connect with your HR department about filing for workers’ compensation as soon as possible. Workers’ comp provides medical care coverage, lost wage reimbursement, and disability benefits to firefighters hurt while working. You likely have a strong claim because you got injured on the hazardous job. However, strict rules dictate timelines and processes for filing, so do not delay this step. Consider consulting a workers’ comp attorney to ensure you take the necessary steps.

You should also talk to your department about whether the incident warrants filing liability claims against negligent parties like property owners. If another party’s negligence or unsafe property led to your burn injury, you may have grounds for legal action to recover damages. Discuss options with your chief and city attorney.

Prioritize Recovery and Self-Care

After a severe burn, it is normal to feel depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, and struggling with self-identity. You may try jumping back into work before properly healing physically and mentally. It is best to avoid that temptation. Make acceptance, recovery, and self-care your top priorities instead. Attend all doctor appointments, take medications as directed, and follow treatment plans. Lean on loved ones for support and communicate openly with your treatment team.

Returning to full health and capability will enable you to return to your vital service in protecting your community. Keep sight of that goal during the difficult journey of coping with and recovering from a severe burn injury. With grit, patience, help from others, and time, you can work on recovery and reclaim your life.

Contact a San Benito County, CA Workers’ Compensation Attorney

You do not need to go through the process of trying to get workers’ compensation on your own, especially when dealing with a burn injury. Working with a Morgan Hill, CA workers’ compensation lawyer can help make sure you are going through the proper steps. Call Cramer + Martinez at 408-848-1113 for a free consultation.

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