With many types of injuries, the recovery period is all consuming. There may be surgeries, specialist appointments, therapy and ongoing medications. During that time, the injured person’s life may feel on hold, like everything else takes a backseat to getting better. But eventually, whether it’s a few weeks, months or even a couple of years, life starts to return to normal—to return to a state where the injury isn’t always top-of-mind.
For those who have been scarred or disfigured, however, it’s much harder to reach that point. Nerve pain from burns may continue for years. Loss of function may be permanent. The emotional trauma of scarring, especially if it’s on the face, neck or hands, may make it hard to reenter life, spend time with family or even continue to work.
Unfortunately, Georgia’s workers’ comp system doesn’t provide direct compensation for pain and suffering. So what are the options for workers who are scarred or disfigured by a workplace accident?
How Georgia compensates for pain and suffering
A workplace burn can be devastating. Whether it’s caused by chemicals, an explosion, flames or steam, severe burns typically require care in a specialized burn center. The medical treatment alone can be staggering: IV fluids, procedures to keep swollen airways clear, ultrasound therapy, dressings, antibiotics and topical creams, skin grafts and plastic surgery. Physical therapy helps strengthen muscles and train the skin to stretch again. Occupational therapy allows the injured person to relearn how to do everyday tasks. Pain management can be challenging.
But burns aren’t just physical injuries, and treatment typically requires counseling and group support to manage the emotional trauma. Workers’ compensation covers physical treatment for burns—the surgeries, therapies and medicines. It may also cover treatment for directly related mental health issues, like anxiety connected to the accident.
Workers’ comp in Georgia does not, however, provide direct compensation for pain and suffering due to scarring and disfigurement. Many other states do accept that scarring and disfigurement may lead to permanent partial disability, but Georgia does not.
Because of this, it’s all the more important for a worker suffering from burns, scarring or disfigurement to contact an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney will work to ensure that all of the direct medical expenses of your injury are taken into account, including counseling and therapy costs. In some cases, injured workers may have other avenues for recovery as well.
Third-party lawsuits after burn injuries
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, meaning an injured Georgia worker can’t also sue his or her employer after an accident. However, if a third party was involved, it’s sometimes possible to pursue a workers’ comp claim with the employer and a personal injury suit with the other party.
With burn injuries, this may include:
- The other driver if you were hurt in a crash while driving for work
- A manufacturer or designer of a faulty product
- A property manager who didn’t follow proper fire safety protocols
Third-party lawsuits in conjunction with workers’ comp cases can be complex. It’s important to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who understands how the process works.
Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer today
If you have scars or other disfigurements from a workplace accident, it’s important to speak with an attorney to discuss your options. At the Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera, we’re dedicated to workers’ comp cases, and we understand the legal options when it comes to third-party lawsuits. Contact the Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera today for a free consultation, or give us a call at 404-991-5097.