Certain chemicals can cause burns when exposed to the human body. While chemical burns are often associated with industrial accidents, there are many other scenarios and places where these types of burns can happen. At Walker Morgan, we help individuals and workers get compensation for chemical burn injuries they sustained due to another person’s or company’s negligence.
Definition of Chemical Burns
Chemical burns are injuries that are caused when a strong acid or base comes into direct contact with skin. Chemical burns may be the result of an accident or an assault, and may occur at home, at school, or in the workplace – especially in businesses or manufacturing plants where large amounts of caustic chemicals are used. Mining, medicine, and chemical fabrication are three examples of potentially hazardous industries. Billy Walker and Kirk Morgan have extensive experience with cases involving chemical burns and their effects and are eager to assist you at their Lexington/Columbia, South Carolina practice.
Where do chemical burns happen
The average person is exposed to all kinds of chemicals everyday. Everyday items, like cosmetics and household cleaners, contain chemical compounds of all sorts. Additionally, many manufacturing and food processing factories utilize potentially dangerous chemicals in their processes.
This omnipresence of chemicals means a chemical burn can happen almost anywhere. While some chemicals are safe and pose minimal health threats, others can cause significant injuries.
Here are some potential industries and places where chemical burns can happen:
Daycares A daycare may be negligent in the storage of household cleansers which can cause significant injury to children if they are exposed to cleaners like bleach or toilet bowl cleaner.
Food Processing Plants Workers in food processing factories may need to work with strong chemicals from time to time. If a person is accidentally exposed to these chemicals, the consequences could be serious. For example, slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) is a common cleaning chemical that can cause burns when exposed to moisture.
Defective Products If a company’s cosmetic or hygiene product has not been properly tested for safety, or if a bad batch is sent out, it can result in skin irritation and burns
Agriculture Farm work requires the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and week-killers. Accidental exposure to these chemicals could result in serious injury or death
These are just some examples of where chemical burn can happen. Lab and chemical workers can also be exposed to dangerous chemicals, as can janitorial staff and anyone who works with batteries.
Causes of Chemical Burns
Caustic chemicals are found in cleaning products, battery fluid, pool chemicals, drain cleaners, lime, and fireworks. Many other acids and bases are highly dangerous, and serious injuries are possible. The severity of chemical burns may be deceptive; hydrofluoric acid, for instance, can eat to the bone before the extent of the chemical burn becomes evident.
What are the potential effects of a chemical burn
Chemical burns can result in thermal burns, the complete disintegration of skin and tissue, or even permanent blindness.
This is why it is important to treat chemical burns as quickly as possible. When exposed to a potentially dangerous chemical, you should immediately remove any clothing that was exposed and run large amounts of waters across any affected body parts to flush out the chemical. You should also seek immediate medical attention. Doing so, will reduce risk of permanent disfigurement or blindness.
Liability for Chemical Burns
If your burn was caused due to the negligence or irresponsibility of another person or business, then they may be held liable for medical expenses, lost wages due to being unable to work, and compensation for any significant loss in quality of life or permanent disfigurement. Usually, the person’s or company’s insurance policy will be used to pay these damages.
Negligence can come in many forms. Here are some examples:
If a company does not provide proper safety training or equipment, or encourage safe procedures, then they may be held liable for any chemical burn sustained while at work.
If you used a product as directed and it resulted in burns, then the manufacturer could be held liable for a defective product
If a daycare left out cleaning chemicals that were accessible by children, the daycare could be held liable for any burns sustained.
If you are exposed to an unsafe chemical and there were no visible warnings about it in a person’s house, restaurant, or place of business, then the owner of the premises may be held liable under “premises liability” law.
If you’ve suffered serious injury and financial hardship because of a chemical burn, contact our office today to discuss your specific situation. We’re here to help.