The Fire Department in Philadelphia is now investigating the cause of an underground fire which injured two SEPTA workers in mid-December, 2016.

A Sudden Explosion

Earlier in the morning, residents in the 900 block of 49th Street in Philadelphia had called Philadelphia Gas Works to report that they smelled gas. A crew was sent out to determine the source, manhole under which a gas leak is occuringbelieving that perhaps there was a natural gas leak. They first went door to door but then decided to look underground after they heard an unusual noise.

The crew removed a manhole cover and a test showed that there were high levels of carbon monoxide present. That’s when the workers decided to attempt to ventilate the area in order to make it safe for the crew to go below and figure out what the problem was.

The ventilation sent oxygen into an unstable environment and flames suddenly erupted from the manhole. Two of the workers were injured and emergency responders took them both to a nearby hospital. One of them was able to be treated and released the same day, however, the second worker was admitted to the burn unit in critical condition.

Officials from PGW plan to look further into the matter and investigate the accident. In the meantime, the workers who were injured will need continued medical care which is likely to be very expensive.

Treatments For Burn Victims

These two Pennsylvania workers, particularly the one who was taken to the burn unit, will likely need weeks or months of ongoing care. This might include:

  • skin grafts
  • medicinal plasters
  • fluids
  • surgery
  • physical therapy

In addition to this, a high percentage of burn victims end up with complications. Common complications can be:

  • infection
  • shock
  • sepsis
  • nerve damage
  • hypothermia
  • hypovolemia
  • graft rejection

The treatments needed to save the limbs and lives of burn victims can cost anywhere from $20,000 – $ 10,000,000. Thankfully, workers’ compensation exists.

How Can Workers’ Compensation Help?

When someone files a workers’ comp claim, the insurance company should provide them with full coverage of their medical bills, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, becausehot flames that could cause a burn all insurance companies are also businesses whose main goal is to make money, adjusters are typically trained to find ways that a claim can be denied or the amount paid out reduced, leaving an injured person in debt they shouldn’t have.

The Best Way To Avoid A Denial

As soon as you have received the medical treatment that you need, the best way to protect yourself from financial devastation is to call a workers’ compensation attorney before you fill out the appropriate forms.

One small mistake on a claim form can result in a denial. Often, once a claim has been denied, the only way to get what is deserved is to file an appeal. During this appeal there is likely to be a hearing during which a lawyer can represent you.

What About Social Security Disability?

Burns and the common complications can mean that a patient suffers from permanent nerve damage, a reduction in fine motor skills, or that they need to have a limb amputated, meaning that they are unable to return to the work that they previously enjoyed. It’s not often that someone who has just suffered a tremendous loss has the skill set needed to easily transfer into a new profession which leaves them not only physically suffering but without regular wages.

Social Security Disability isn’t just for Americans over a certain age – the benefits provided by this program can provide disabled workers with insurance and financial assistance to help meet the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.

These claims can be filed in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. However, in order to be eligible, certain requirements must not only be met but also proven. An attorney can help their client obtain both the evidence and the coverage that is needed.