Experienced welders only rarely experience an injury. In fact, the prospect of being hurt badly by welding equipment almost doesn’t bear thinking about. Welding equipment must be well maintained and used correctly to ensure safety. If you are a welder who was injured while on the job and you work for an employer, you should be able to claim workers’ compensation which is obtained by filing a claim through your employer’s insurer.
Note that this only applies if you have an employer. If you are self-employed or work as a contractor, then you may need to obtain compensation through your own health insurance policy and not through workers’ comp.
Injuries that a Welder Might Have on the Job
There are different types of welding technique and equipment, but basically all involve heating up a tool to a very high temperature before using a tool to weld one piece of metal to another. Whether the welding tool is a high intensity flame or an electric arc, this is a potentially dangerous job. All it takes is the misuse or lack of safety equipment or clothing or a slip when handling a tool and the welder or someone nearby could be badly burned.
Burn injuries vary depending on what caused the burn. Oxy acetylene burns are different from MIG welding burns. The severity of the burn depends on how deep the burn extends into the skin. The further it extends, the more likely that permanent damage will have been done and that other internal organs might be damaged in addition to the skin.
What a Claim Might be Worth
Workers’ compensation claims are limited to the cost of medical treatment and the replacement of lost earnings. Workers’ comp. payments are typically less, in many cases, a lot less, than personal injury payments. Employed welders cannot sue their employer unless there has been definite negligence by the employer.
The wage component is typically two thirds of what might have been earned if the welder had been able to stay working. This is relatively easy to calculate and is also easily documented.
The medical cost component will vary depending on the extent of the burn and how much surgery might be necessary. While a personal injury claim for a second or third degree burn from welding equipment could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the equivalent workers’ comp. payment may only be worth up to $50,000.
Hiring a WC Attorney May be Advisable
Considering the fact that welding injuries can be very severe it is important that the injured welder gets advice and help with a claim. There are time limits involved and many claims fail because the right documentation is not included or the insurer does not believe that the injury happened at work. This is when an attorney is most useful as you may be forced to appeal the decision to have any chance of securing compensation. You will need an attorney to provide legal help.