Burns can be extremely painful and potentially debilitating. The skin is almost always affected. However, some burns can be internal, leaving the skin relatively unscathed but causing serious health issues.
As a federal employee, suffering a burn injury or other type of disability may impact your job and your future. However, you may be eligible to receive federal disability retirement benefits.
Contact Harris Federal to learn more about your rights. We can provide a free consultation and get started on the process of applying for disability retirement benefits through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). We serve federal workers throughout the country. Simply call or contact us online today.
Types of Burn Injuries
Burns are typically described as falling within one of four categories:
- First-degree – Mildly painful and may produce some redness or swelling. It is superficial, meaning it does not go deeper than the outer layer of the skin.
- Second-degree – Goes a little deeper into the layer of skin just below the outer layer. These burns, also known as partial thickness burns, cause pain, swelling, redness and blistering.
- Third-degree – Reaches deeper below the skin. Also called thickness burns, they are identified by skin that is burned and looks white or black. The person may not be able to feel the burned area.
- Fourth-degree – A burn so intense that it damages muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and bones.
Treatment for minor burns can be as simple as running cool water over the burn, applying a sterile bandage (if needed) and a lotion or cream to keep the area moisturized.
More serious burns, however, will require immediate medical treatment. They pose a threat of infection. Hospital treatment will consist of cleaning the burned areas and may include debridement, which is the process of removing dead tissue. Skin grafting may also be necessary. Many people undergo cosmetic surgery to help with disfigurement issues.
Physical therapy is often needed, and psychological counseling may be necessary to help with emotional issues connected with the injury. Very serious burns can mean weeks, even months, in the hospital.
Why Do Burn Injuries Occur?
Common causes of burn injuries include the following:
- Chemicals – Liquid, solid or gas forms of chemicals such as household cleaners or industrial components can burn the skin and also cause throat and lung damage.
- Electrical sources – These occur when a person makes contact with an electrical source such as a frayed cord, power line or outlet. These burns potentially can cause disturbances in the heart’s electrical activity, resulting in irregular heartbeat.
- Thermal sources – These are burns from a heated source such as flames, hot liquids and hot appliances.
- Radiation – These burns can occur when a person is receiving radiation therapy or X-rays or when a person is exposed to too much sun, tanning booths or sun lamps.
- Friction – When the skin makes hard contact with a hard surface such as a road, floor or carpet, friction burns may result.
Does Your Burn Injury Keep You From Doing Your Job?
Scar tissue forms over previously burned skin as it heals. The greater the burn, the more scar tissue. This tissue can restrict movement when it covers a joint.
According to the National Institutes of Health, severe burn victims continue to have pain issues even years after the injury. Many find the pain to be responsible for difficulties with everyday activities, including work.
Some people are disfigured by burns and even lose limbs as a result, or they may suffer damaged lungs, reducing their ability to breathe normally. You may not be able to work at your present federal job as a result of your disabilities resulting from a burn incident if it was serious.
We Help Federal Employees Who Have Suffered Burn Injuries
Harris Federal focuses on working with federal employees to help them understand their benefits when they suffer from disabling medical conditions such as burn injuries. Keep in mind: To qualify for federal disability retirement benefits, your burn injury does not have to be work-related.
Contact our firm today and let us help you to understand your benefits and explain how we can assist you in the process of obtaining those benefits you have earned through your service as a federal employee.
Sources / More Information