The consequences of chemical burns can be serious. The severity of the injury depends on the danger of the chemical involved, the length of exposure and the body part exposed. Chemical burns in the eyes, for example, can cause permanent damage such as blindness. Chemical burns on the skin may range from mild burns that heal on their own to severe burns requiring skin grafts and other expensive and painful treatment.
If your chemical burn injury occurred as a result of a workplace accident or resulted from someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced New Jersey chemical burn injury lawyer from Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., can help. To schedule a free consultation, call 1-800-LAW-2000 or complete our online form. We do not charge fees for our services unless we recover compensation.
Causes of Chemical Burns
Chemical burns occur when you are exposed to dangerous chemicals such as strong acids or bases. Although you may feel a burning sensation, chemical burns do not involve heat. Instead, they involve the destruction of tissue by strong chemicals.
According to Occupational Safety and Health, both acids and bases can do significant damage. Because they are more persistent in remaining on the skin, bases tend to cause more severe tissue damage. While an acid can be washed off with a brief rinse, bases may need to be washed off for a full 20 minutes to stop their damaging effect on the body. E Medicine Health indicates that the effect of acids and bases differs: Acids coagulate cells, causing nerve damage and cell death; bases liquefy cells.
There are a huge variety of both acids and bases that can lead to chemical burns. Occupational Safety and Health says that some of the acids and bases most likely to cause serious chemical burns include:
- Sulfuric acid – Found in car battery fluid, drain and metal cleaners and used in fertilizer manufacturing
- Hydrochloric acid – Used in swimming pool maintenance or for cleaning concrete and brick
- Hydrofluoric acid – Used in petroleum refining and fertilizer manufacturing as well as in cleaners and rust-removal products
- Phosphoric acid – Found in disinfectants, detergents and metal cleaners and used in fertilizer manufacturing, refining and rust-proofing
- Sodium or potassium hydroxide – Found in oven and drain cleaners
- Sodium and calcium hypochlorite – Used in swimming pools and bleach products
- Ammonia – Used in cleaners and detergents as well as in industrial applications such as manufacturing fertilizer.
According to E Medicine Health, the extent of injury from exposure to these and other chemicals will depend upon:
- How strong the chemical was
- Where the contact occurred on the body
- Whether you swallowed or inhaled the chemical
- Whether the chemical penetrated the skin
- The duration of time you were exposed to the chemical before decontamination.
In jobs and locations where chemical exposure is likely, OSHA may require employers to have washing stations and to take other precautions to minimize the potential dangers of chemical exposure.
Long-term exposure to chemicals on the job can also cause different symptoms to emerge as the levels of the chemicals increase in the body.
Who is at Risk of Chemical Burns?
Chemical burns may occur anywhere and for any number of reasons, including improper use of cleaning or grooming products. However, as E Medicine Health indicates, one of the most common areas where chemical burns occur is in workplaces. The risk is especially high in industrial and manufacturing plants.
Occupational Safety and Health reports that certain workers who face a greater risk of chemical burns than other workers are:
- Individuals working in labs
- Individuals working at processing plants
- People on cleanup and maintenance crews.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of chemical burns, you may not know immediately that you have suffered a burn, and the reaction may not become apparent until later. This exacerbates the dangers of burns. Those in at-risk occupations should get medical help if they have any reason to suspect exposure.
The risk can also be exacerbated if employers fail to follow safety protocols. Workers should be warned of any hazardous chemicals. When they work with dangerous chemicals, wash stations should be made readily available.
Contact a New Jersey Chemical Burn Injury Lawyer for Legal Help
When you have suffered a chemical burn due to a workplace injury, you may be entitled to money damages through a workers’ compensation claim. If a non-employer’s negligence caused the chemical exposure, you may also be able to file a lawsuit.
A New Jersey chemical burn injury lawyer from Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., can assist you in understanding what your legal rights are and how you can recover compensation. We can also help you to take legal action, assisting with every step of your case, from proving your claim to negotiating damages.
To learn more, give us a call today at 1-800-LAW-2000 or complete our online form. Your initial consultation is free. You will pay no legal fees unless we recover money for you.