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Burn injury claims

Burns are among the most serious types of personal injury a person can suffer. They can be extremely painful and dangerous; they can leave you with permanent scar damage and disfigurement, often requiring plastic surgery.

Some victims suffer long-term medical problems and, in the worst cases, burn injuries can prove fatal. Thankfully, the victims of many such injuries are able to bring burn injury claims for compensation against the person responsible.

According to NHS England data, some 130,000 people with burn injuries visit accident and emergency hospital departments each year, with around 10,000 being admitted. Some recover relatively quickly, while others are reliant on other people for lengthy periods of time while they recover.

It’s even more difficult for people to come to terms with their personal injury when it happened because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness. You can’t undo the physical and emotional damage but you can make burn injury claims for compensation.

Life as you know it may be changing forever – you may no longer be able to enjoy hobbies and interests because of the burn injuries. You may have lost your confidence and ability to enjoy life as you once did. You might also be facing long term medical treatment, surgery and rehabilitation as you recover.

Find out more about making serious injury claims.

It is only fair that you should be able to bring a burn injury compensation claim to help you on the road to recovery. If you have suffered burn injuries through no fault of your own, you have the right to bring a burn injury claim.

Our experienced and sympathetic advisors will guide you through the first steps of making your burn injury claim, which you can do on a no win no fee basis. Contact a legally-trained advisor today to make your no win no fee claim on 0800 234 6438 or use our claims form here.

FACT:Burn accidents costing NHS £20 million per annum, according to statistics released for National Burn Awareness Day
SOURCE: Children’s Burns Trust

Can I make a burn injury claim?

It’s a harsh reality that burn accidents happen in all walks of life. There is a risk of suffering burn injuries in the workplace and in the home; in restaurants and at firework displays; in airports and at leisure centres.

If you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault, you have every right to make an injury claim. Fortunately, making a burn claim is usually straightforward with the support of specialist solicitors who can help you make a no win no fee claim for a burn.

Your solicitor will need to be able to demonstrate that someone else (usually a business or public authority) had a legal duty to protect you from the risk of harm, that they breached this duty and you suffered a burn injury as a direct result.

Bear in mind not every burn injury is the result of someone’s negligence or carelessness. For example, government figures show that out of 26,610 accidental fires at home in 2018 to 2019, more than a third were actually caused by misusing equipment or appliances.

But where you believe someone was at fault for your injuries, it is important to take specialist advice about making a no win no fee claim for compensation. For immediate help and guidance on starting your burn injury compensation claim, get in touch for free on 0800 234 6438 or contact our claims form here.

What are the common causes of a burn injury?

Unfortunately, the risk of injury can arise in many situations and places. Wherever there are hot objects, electricity and hot liquids there’s the risk of burns and scalds.

The two most common places where burns happen are at home and, unsurprisingly, in the workplace. Other causes of burn injury, both in and outside of the home, include:

Road traffic accidents

Vehicle fires are relatively rare following road traffic accidents, but they can happen. Unfortunately, traffic accidents can also cause burns. This is because hot surfaces such as metal, and steam can cause burn and scald injuries.

Vehicle accidents can also cause friction burns and lead to explosions; and fuel can ignite, causing burn injuries. Even faulty airbags can cause burns – sometimes thermal or friction burns, or even a chemical burn if the victim comes into contact with alkali chemicals as a result of the airbag being inflated.

Defective and faulty products

Burn injuries from using defective products are, perhaps, one of the most preventable types of burn injuries. No one expects to buy a product and be injured when they first use it, through no fault of their own. A defective electrical or chemically-based product can cause serious burn injuries to the unsuspecting.

For example, defective or faulty electrical blankets, kitchen appliances, battery-powered products and machine tools can lead to burns through no fault of the user themselves. In these cases, the supplier or manufacturer can be held responsible.

Industrial accidents

Industrial accidents – these major incidents can lead to serious burn injuries, including thermal burns, for example, where an explosion or serious chemical leak occurs. Common settings for industrial accidents include factories and construction site accidents.

Workers, site visitors and members of the public in the surrounding area risk potentially serious injuries and even death, for which someone should be held accountable.

FACT During 2020, 221 fire-related fatalities happened in the UK compared with 248 in 2019
SOURCE: Home Office

Building fires

Sadly, house fires, and office and warehouse fires, take place every week across the UK. Though 18% of all warehouse files are deliberate, electrical and lighting problems are the next most common cause.

In July 2021, a collision between three robots in an Ocado warehouse caused the warehouse to go up in flames. It’s not unusual to hear of a serious fire at a warehouse storing fireworks in the Autumn in the run up to Bonfire Night. Usually, this would be the result of an unsafe method of storage for which someone must be held accountable.

Chemical burns

Unfortunately, chemical burns are not uncommon and can happen in surprising ways. Most people know that chemicals are found in batteries, mobile phones and similar products. But it’s not so well-known that chemicals can also found in phone accessories, hair dyes and skin products, magic erasers, and many other consumer products.

Chemical burns can lead to serious skin problems and scarring and it’s only right that if you or a family member has suffered chemical burns from a product, they should be able to make a burn injury compensation claim.

Medical negligence

A burn injury can be caused as a result of medical negligence. Surgeons sometimes use a diathermy, for instance, to seal a blood vessel during a surgical procedure. It uses heat via an electrical current, which can cause second degree burns if done without due care and attention.

While some accidents and incidents are not preventable, the fact is that the vast majority of them are. So if you have suffered burn injuries, whatever the cause, find out if you can bring an injury claim to ensure someone is held responsible for what has happened.

Even if you think you were partly to blame, don’t assume you can’t make a burn injury claim. To make a medical negligence claim, get in touch with us for free and our advisers can talk you through the incident and your injuries. Specialist solicitors will provide clear advice on your legal right to bring an injury claim and the no win no fee claims process.

DID YOU KNOW: Before anyone has any beauty treatment which involves dye or other harmful chemicals, the law requires that the customer has a patch test at least 48 hours beforehand.

Burn injuries at work

If you suffer burns following an accident at work, then you should be able to claim compensation against your employer.

There is a significant risk of a burn injury in the workplace, particularly if you work in a factory or warehouse setting. Even in other work environments, where there is electricity and/or chemicals, such as labs, there is a risk of burn injuries.

Fortunately, the law provides robust protection for UK workers from the risk of personal injury: employers have strict legal responsibilities and obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure the workplace is safe, including minimising the risk of fire and burn injuries.

They must, for example, carry out regular ‘risk assessments’ and act on risks identified, whether that’s issuing adequate protective equipment or ensuring the safe use of equipment. In the case of employer negligence which results in burns, you can bring a claim for burn injury compensation against the employer.

Examples of burn injuries in an accident at work for which people have received burn compensation include:

  • Restaurant kitchen injuries from deep fat fryers; commercial ovens and other appliances
  • Scald injuries in hospital and health settings
  • Burn injuries caused by hot pipes, radiators and other hot surfaces
  • Electrical burns – Electrical injuries can cause serious thermal burns, as well as electric shocks and burns from exposed wires or poorly insulated electrical equipment
  • Burns from hot surfaces and liquids, hot grease and fat
  • Handling or inhaling dangerous chemicals

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) takes burns injuries in the workplace seriously. The law states that an employer must inform the HSE of any burn or scald which:

  • covers more than 10% of the whole body’s total surface area
  • causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs

So, where you or a loved one have suffered burns at work it is wise to check if your employer has reported it formally. This will help you in your burn injury compensation claim.

If you’ve suffered from a burn injury at work and it was your employer’s fault, you can claim for burn injury compensation. Your injury claim will actually be against your employer’s insurer under its liability insurance rather than against the employer itself, so you need not worry that it will have a negative financial impact on your employer.

Find out more about making a work accident claim

FACT:Between 2013 and 2018, 1,745 workers were reported to have suffered non-fatal burn injuries in the workplace. Five people were reported to have suffered fatal burn injuries

What types of burn are there?

A burn is, to be put it simply, a heat (or extreme cold) injury to the skin. If it is a serious burn, the injury can go deeper beyond the top layer of skin. Anyone suffering burns caused by someone else can claim for compensation for a burn injury.

Burns are usually caused by dry heat, whether that’s a hot iron or metal, burning plastic or even friction burns. More serious cases – such as third degree burns – may result in white or charred skin and may be surprisingly painless.

Perhaps surprisingly, frostbite is one of the causes of burn injuries. Anyone working in refrigerated or freezing conditions is at risk of a frostbite injury or burn injuries from handling freezing objects or liquids.

Scalds are a type of burn injury but they are caused by hot liquid or steam rather than a dry heat. The surface damage of a scald injury is typically red, painful skin penetrating the layer of skin that quickly blisters and eventually peels.

Chemical burns are caused by acids, alkalis or other chemicals and can cause a severe burn without immediate medical help. It would not be unusual to need specialist care, such as skin grafts and physiotherapy if you have suffered a chemical burn.

Whatever the type of burn, it is vital that immediate medical attention is sought to minimise the long term damage done to the area of the burn.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body and its natural ability to heal itself is remarkable. But if you have suffered severe third degree burn injuries, your recovery may not be as quick as you would hope for. You may, for instance, suffer internal damage or deep tissue as a direct result and you may suffer long term nerve damage.

Amputation, while rare, can also be a consequence of a serious burn injury. Some victims can be so severely injured with third degree burns that the best medical support is to amputate a limb, or, eg a finger or foot because circulation to the area of injury cannot be restored.

CASE STUDYA railway employee suffered third degree and mixed depth burns in a fire at Godalming substation. An electrical arc and a fire happened in December 2018 while railway workers were working on a circuit breaker, but there had been a long-running water leak and conditions were unsafe. Network Rail pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches and was fined £696,000

If you or a loved one has had to have a body part amputated following a serious burn incident, there will be extensive rehabilitation to go through – not to mention the additional psychological trauma.

Our advisors understand how difficult it can be to come to terms with burn injuries and what it means for individuals considering making injury claims. We will help you deal with the no win no fee claims process of seeking injury compensation to help get back on your feet.

We can put you in touch with specialist personal injury solicitors who are experienced in claiming maximum compensation for a burn injury – even in the most mild of cases. Call us as soon as possible and we can guide you through the process of claiming injury compensation for a burn.

You can claim your compensation under a no win no fee conditional fee agreement with solicitors who are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Contact us today using our online claim form or call us for free on 0800 234 6438 and we can arrange for you to have an initial consultation and initial legal advice about making a claim on a no win no fee basis.

CASE STUDY:A handyman suffered extremely serious cement burns after he spent 3.5 hours kneeling in cement while helping to lay a floor. When he removed his trousers, he found the burns had reached the bone. His right leg had to be amputated.
SOURCE: Construction News

What are the three types of burn injuries?

Burn injuries are divided into four classifications to determine their seriousness. This is useful because it reflects the nature of our skin and its different layers – and the implications of a burn for our bodies.

The different types of burns are:

  • First degree burns

    These are the least serious. They are superficial and affect only the first skin layer (the epidermis), causing redness but do not result in skin blistering.

  • Second degree burns

    These cause burn injuries to both the first and second layers of the skin (the epidermis and dermis). They result in blistering, potential swelling and thickening of the skin.

  • Third degree burns

    These are severe burns, causing damage to the epidermis, dermis and underlying tissue. Sometimes, the deeper tissue can be destroyed. Skin grafts are likely to become necessary.

  • Fourth degree burns

    These are the most severe type of burn. They damage all the skin layers, the underlying deeper tissue, fat and sometimes the muscle and bone. Fourth degree burns can cause life changing injuries and may prove fatal.

The potential impact of a serious burn injury cannot be underestimated. The more serious the burn, the greater the risk of secondary infections and time needed to heal.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious life-changing burns, you need to speak with sympathetic lawyers who understand exactly what you are going through and the extent of the medical treatment you may need. You may be looking at the prospect of skin grafts and other treatment to help you recover.

Thankfully, first degree burns can usually be treated using first aid measures, but you should still be able to make a claim for compensation if it was someone’s else’s fault. Contact us to discuss your injuries and how we can guide you with your claim for a burn injury.

Can you sue for first degree burns?

Yes, you may be able to but it could be more difficult to prove. The fact that a first degree burn is minor does not mean it’s any less distressing. Superficial injuries are injuries nonetheless, and it’s only right and fair that whoever caused it should pay a fair level of compensation in recognition of this.

However, your solicitor would have to demonstrate that the other party (eg your employer, if it happened at work) breached their duty of care and that the burn happened as a direct result. You would also be expected to produce medical evidence that you had medical treatment of the burn, otherwise proving it could be difficult.

So, if your injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence, you can make a claim for a burn injury – however mild the injury. But evidence will be needed. Your specialist solicitor will be able to talk these issues through with you.

Call us free today on 0800 234 6438 and we can talk you through the process of claiming compensation. You can also contact us using our online claim form or ask for a call back. We can arrange a free consultation with specialist personal injury solicitors who will give legal advice as to whether you can make a no win no fee claim for first degree burns.

How do you make burn injury claims?

If you’ve suffered burns and the incident wasn’t your fault, you’ve every right to make a claim for a burn injury. Whether it happened at work or in restaurant, at home from using a defective product or in a supermarket, it’s important anyone bringing burn injury claims recovers the compensation they deserve.

The money you receive in successful personal injury claims won’t wind the clock back, but it will go a long way to help with your recovery as you get back to normal.

You can contact a trained and sympathetic legal adviser free on 0800 234 6438 with the details of your case, or fill out the online form if you prefer.  You can also request a call back if you wish. There’s no obligation to carry on with a claim, but the sooner you think about making your burn injury claim the better, while details are fresh in your mind.

Bear in mind those making personal injury claims have three years from the date of the accident to start a no win no fee claim, otherwise it may be time barred.

Your personal injury lawyer takes burn injury claims on a on a no win no fee basis, meaning that if you don’t win, you won’t have to pay out any money. When you speak to them, they may well ask for information to help with your case, such as where the accident happened, what medical attention you received, the suffering caused to you and any witnesses to what happened.

If possible, keep a photographic record of your burn injuries and a diary of your recovery. Your specialist solicitor will use all this information to help you claim the maximum amount you deserve.

DID YOU KNOW: With no win, no fee burn injury compensation claims, you do not pay any legal fees up front.

What do burn injury claims for compensation include?

Like many injuries, burns vary hugely in severity, which means that how much compensation you receive will depend on the nature and extent of your burns and your pain and suffering. There are a number of types of compensation you can claim:

General damagesThis covers compensation for your actual injuries and pain and suffering. Claims will include an amount of compensation for, eg permanent scarring and disfigurement and their on your life; and other physical side effects of serious burns, such as the impact on limb movement.

Psychological harm – Severe burns can cause psychological suffering as well as physical suffering, particularly if the injury is visible. Facial scarring, for example, can completely change your self-confidence and zest for life. Once outgoing, you may have become very self-conscious – making you worried about going out and unable to enjoy an active social life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also a risk where a serious incident has resulted in significant burn injuries. Flashbacks and nightmares, distressing memories, stress and irritability can be a very real problem for burns victims, requiring counselling and other forms of therapeutic help to come to terms with what has happened.

Fortunately, the law recognises the reality of psychological harm as a direct result of personal injury. Burn injury compensation claims may even be able to include the cost of private therapy to help the individual come to terms with what happened. If necessary, your solicitor will arrange for a specialist report from a psychologist or psychiatrist as evidence of your PTSD.

How much compensation you receive for psychological harm following a burn injury depends on to what extent your omental and emotional health has been and continues to be affected. You can be sure your personal injury solicitor will work hard to win maximum compensation on your behalf.

Special damages

In addition to general damages, your solicitor will claim for your actual financial losses – past and future. These are called ‘special damages’ and claims cover items such as:

  • Loss of earnings, bonuses and overtime
  • Prescription costs and other medical expenses, e.g. the cost of further surgery
  • Rehabilitation costs including the cost of long term physiotherapy
  • The costs of further surgery, such as skin grafts, if you need to pay privately

It is important to keep all receipts, invoices and pay slips of losses to pass onto your solicitor in due course. These will be used to build your claim for compensation.

How much could my burn claim be worth?

There are many factors at play when deciding how much burn claims are worth in the UK. This makes it challenging to say early on what compensation amounts you’re likely to receive when you claim compensation. Your solicitor will be able to discuss the claims values with you in more detail once they have more information about your own injuries.

Skin burn compensation amounts

As a rough guide, these are some useful estimates of how much compensation has been secured for burn injuries:

  • Burns that cause minor scarring (including the face): £1,710 – £3,530
  • Burns causing moderate facial scarring: £3,950 – £13,750
  • Burns that cause significant facial scarring: £9,110 – £30,090
  • Severe facial scarring: £29,780 – £97,330
  • Burns that scar the arms, hands, chest, back and legs: £7,830 – £22,730
  • Severe non-facial burns: Over £98,000
  • Burns that cover at least 40% of the body: Over £104,830
FACT:£17,000 – the amount paid out to a woman whose scalp was burned by peroxide at her hairdressers. The hairdresser was found to have not carried out the service with reasonable skill and care, causing the injury
SOURCE: Mirror.co.uk

Chemical burn compensation amounts

Chemical burns can cause long-term pain and suffering, depending on their severity. While some people might recover from their injuries, others will deal with ongoing complications

Your compensation amount will depend on the severity of your chemical burns:

  • Superficial epidermal burns: These burns can be painful, but they impact the outer layers of your skin and rarely blister.
  • Superficial dermal burns: Dermal burns impact the epidermis and dermis, often causing blisters.
  • Deep dermal burns: Also known as partial-thickness burns, these injuries cause ongoing pain, blotchy skin and blisters.
  • Full-thickness: Severe damage to the dermis, epidermis and subcutis with blackened tissue.

While chemical burns pay similar awards to traditional burns, there are some differences to be aware of. They include:

  • Moderate to severe facial scarring: £17,960 – £97,330
  • Hair damage: £3,950 to £11,020

As chemical burns result in significant pain and other complications, the amount you receive might be more based on how the injuries impact your life.

Workers compensation for second degree burns

Second degree burns can cause significant damage and long-term complications, making it hard for individuals to work. If your accident occurred at work, you’re entitled to claim worker’s compensation.

The government’s Workplace Compensation Legislation ensures employees can take action against their employers. All employers must have insurance in place, and you’ll receive money from their provider in the event of an accident.

The amount of second degree burns compensation depends on how the injuries impact your life and the degree of negligence.

You can get an initial rough estimate of the amount of compensation you could claim, by using our online compensation calculator.

CASE STUDY:A company was fined £50,000 in October 2020 after a 42-year-old  suffered serious burns to almost half his total skin area while using a pneumatic impact mole. He struck an 11,000 volt electric cable that was underground. Site rules were not being enforced at the time, despite the high risk work being done

Can I claim compensation for my child?

We understand how heart-breaking it can be to see a child injured. Burns involving children can be particularly distressing, but fortunately – making burn injury claims on their behalf are possible.

If your child has suffered a burn injury, you can claim compensation for them, so if you’re considering making a claim, get in touch with us early to start a no win no fee personal injury claim.

If your child has been injured while at nursery or school, or in the care of another person or organisation, personal injury claims will be made against their insurance company under their liability insurance policy.

DID YOU KNOW: 714 children suffered burns or scalds in January 2020, 317 of whom were aged under 2 years old. 208 were aged 2 to 4 and 170 were aged 5 to 14.
SOURCE: Children’s Burns Trust

While there is plenty of time to start personal injury claims for children (they have until the age of 21 to start a burn claim), it is important to take initial steps to claim the compensation straight away while events – and medical information – are fresh in your mind.

It can be reassuring to know that personal injury compensation amounts for a child who has suffered a burn injury could be much greater than that of an older adult because of, for instance, of the impact of scarring.

Find out more about making a no win no fee claim on behalf of a child

FACT:A nine-year-old boy in New York suffered severe burn injuries after his Skechers light-up sneakers malfunctioned. He was taking part in a water day at school but the water caused his trainers to leak batter acid, resulting in second degree burns to his feet.

Can I claim for fireworks burns at a public display?

Burns sustained at public and private firework displays happen all too often and compensation claims can follow. While public firework and bonfire events are great Autumn events as the nights draw in, the risks of injury are clear.

Sadly, children will often be the victims. In fact, more than 550 children under the age of 16 are taken to accident and emergency departments in the four weeks around bonfire night alone, according to the Children’s Burns Trust.

Not only that, but most of the injuries caused by fireworks are to the eyes, head or hands – the exposed parts of the body – with the risk that the victim will be scarred for life. A handheld sparkler, for example, can reach temperatures of 20 times the boiling point of water.

However, the law does not permit public firework displays to be a ‘free for all’ precisely because of the injury risk. Organisers of firework displays and public bonfires are required to follow firm rules laid out in health and safety legislation. The HSE advises that:

  • Stewards should be provided to control the crowd and they should be dressed in easily identifiable clothing
  • Organisers should ensure the stewards are constantly on the look-out for emergencies
  • People must be kept away from areas such as the firing and fallout zones
  • Crown numbers must be controlled to avoid overcrowding
  • Spectators must not be permitted to bring their own fireworks
  • Fireworks are not to be sold at the site

If the organisers of a firework display fail to follow the health and safety legislation and/or the advice given, and accident and injury results – compensation claims can be made.

There are also strict laws surrounding the provision, storage and use of fireworks. These include the fact that fireworks (including sparklers) can only be bought for private use on specific dates. Outside of those dates, fireworks can only be bought from licensed shops:

If you or your child or other loved one has been burned due to negligence involving fireworks or a public bonfire event, you may be able to claim compensation .

DID YOU KNOW: Nearly 2,000 people visited hospital A&E because of injuries linked to fireworks in 2018 to 19; and during the bonfire night and Diwali period, more than 35,000 people requested advice from the NHS.uk website on how to treat burns
HSENHS Digital figures obtained by the JPIMedia Data Unit show at least 3,591 people attended A&E in England with a firework-related burn injury over the Halloween and Bonfire months between 2015 and 2019.
SOURCE: Wakefield Express

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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