Individuals exposed to chemicals at work, home, in an accident or from an attack have an increased risk of serious injury, or death. A chemical burn accident can happen nearly anywhere including a processing plant, construction site, janitorial (housekeeping) environment, manufacturing facility, research firm, agricultural site or farm. Exposure to hazardous chemicals causing accidents can also happen at universities and colleges in biology, chemistry and research laboratories.
Injuries suffered due to hazardous chemical exposure can be severe and immediate. However, many victims of chemical exposure show no signs, symptoms or injury for many years after exposure. Immediate exposure to chemical hazards can cause disfigurement or the inability to breathe due to chemical vapors. Long-term medical problems including diseases such as emphysema and/or cancer often cause wrongful death to occur from air pollution or vapors.
A chemical burn accident can be the result of product misuse of everyday household chemicals. Often times, improper training when following safety instructions can cause significant problems and a chemical burn accident around the home or in the workplace.
Symptoms of Chemical Exposure
Industrial products and household cleaning items are usually manufactured with chemicals that can cause severe burns when used improperly. Many of these products are made with sulfuric acid (drain cleanser, toilet cleaner, fertilizer or car battery fluid), hydrofluoric acid (refrigerant, rust remover or tile cleaner) or hydrochloric acid (dyes, metal refining products or pool cleaner) along with potassium or sodium hydroxide (denture cleaner, oven cleaner or drain cleaner).
Chemicals inhaled or touching the skin can produce serious internal injuries and damage. Sometimes common symptoms and signs of burn or exposure may appear right away. Chemical exposure symptoms can include:
- Uncontrollable pain
- Difficult or shallow breathing
- Burns, blisters or red rash on the skin
- Bright blue or red skin and/or lips
- Signs of shock
- Allergic reaction
Treating a Chemical Burn
Removing the cause of a minor to severe burn is essential to minimize damage. If the chemical is not removed from the area were contact was made, it can continue to eat away tissue and burn additional skin and muscle. Generally, dangerous chemicals should be flushed away from the skin surface using cool, clean running water for at least 15 minutes. However, if the chemical burning skin is powder-like, such as lime, it is usually better to brush it away and then flush the area with water.
The hazardous chemical can also contaminate clothing and jewelry, and should be removed to minimize any additional burning. Medical treatment often requires a covering with a clean cloth or sterile dressing. Moderate to severe burns require immediate medical attention to minimize pain, damage and the amount of time to heal.
Victims of chemical burns can show signs of shock including shallow breathing, pale complexion and/or fainting. Second-degree burns often require immediate and extensive emergency medical treatment because the burn penetrates deeper than the first layer of skin, increasing the potential of serious infection. Chemical burns can also cause severe medical problems when they occur on the eye, feet, hands, face, buttocks, groin or joint.
What to Do after Treatment
In addition to the emotional, physical and mental pain, victims of chemical burns along with their families often face increasing financial stress after the accident. Often times, a chemical burn mishap will generate legal questions in regards to obtaining compensation from a responsible party. Depending on all circumstances concerning the accident, chemical burn victims might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and possibly a lawsuit filed against a third party product manufacturer, contractor, employee, or homeowner.
Whether the chemical accident caused a minor burn injury, or long-term damage, an experienced burn injury attorney can assist the victim in recovering compensation for injury caused by negligence of another. A Chicago personal injury lawyer specializing in chemical burn cases can obtain financial recompense for the victim to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages from missed work, lost earning capacity, disfigurement, damages, pain, mental distress and suffering.
If you, or your loved one, are suffering injuries caused by a chemical burn, the burn accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers offer a free initial consultation to determine the best approach for a claim or case to receive financial recompense. Call the law firm at (888) 424-5757.