Recently, according to the West Virginia Record, a woman filed a lawsuit against a hair stylist after she allegedly sustained burn injuries from professional-grade hair dye remover. The woman had her hair dyed but during the session some dye splashed on her face. She later returned to the salon to have the dye removed from her face and was given dye remover. However, she claims that the hair dye remover actually caused her skin to slough off. A medical professional diagnosed her with a chemical burn.
Although chemical burns can occur in the home, they also frequently happen in the workplace. They can result from contact with acids, industrial chemicals, alkaloids, drain openers and other caustic agents. Chemical burns can be very painful and are classed on the same scale as other burn injuries—first, second, or third degree burns. While chemical burns are less frequent than some other burn injuries, they are often more serious burns that affect deeper tissues. They also frequently affect the victim's eyes and may result in permanent vision loss.
Symptoms of chemical burns include skin irritation or discoloration, pain or numbness, blistering, blurred vision or shortness of breath. Some very strong chemicals cause almost instant reactions, where the skin begins to dissolve on contact. In other cases, a chemical burn may progress slowly and it may take hours for the victim to realize he or she has a chemical burn injury.
In case you think a chemical burn injury will not happen at home, remember that it only takes a drop or two of chemical to cause serious problems. Something as simply as dropping a container of drain cleaner and having it splash back up into your face could cause life-long scarring and permanent vision problems.
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If the chemical burn injury happens while at work, the victim may be entitled to workers' compensation. There are rules that govern the handling of dangerous chemicals, including warning labels indicating the risk of chemical burns. Furthermore, protective equipment must be provided for workers dealing with potentially unsafe chemicals.
If your chemical burn injury is the result of negligence by another party, you may be eligible for damages. This can include compensation for medical bills (which can be expensive), loss of earnings or capacity to earn, and punitive damages.