A burn injury can be excruciating and traumatic and may cause permanent scarring, disfigurement, loss of mobility and nerve damage. Besides the physical pain, a severe burn may also cause a lot of psychological and emotional distress. The permanent effects of a burn could drastically reduce the quality of your life.
After experiencing a severe burn, you may also have to take time off work and require care and assistance during recovery. This can cause a lot of economic strain and concerns and may substantially affect your wellbeing.
If another party was responsible for your injury, you might qualify for burn injury compensation. While no amount of money can make your pain go away, a burn injury claim can give you the financial stability you need so that you can focus on recovery and getting back on your feet.
Burn injuries are not only caused by fire and extreme heat. Chemicals, electricity, cold weather, radiation and friction could also cause severe skin burns and damage to the underlying tissues such as muscles, ligaments, blood vessels and bones.
While first-degree burns only affect the superficial layer of skin and do not usually require medical assistance, third and fourth-degree burns often cause permanent scarring and disability and may even be fatal.
If you believe your burn injury was due to another party’s negligence, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. If your solicitor believes you have a valid burn injury claim, they will offer you a no win no fee service. This enables you to pursue the compensation you deserve without worrying about any upfront fees or legal costs. As the name suggests, if you don’t win your claim, you won’t pay a penny.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details to receive a call back. They can let you know if your claim is valid and answer any questions you may have about the claims process.
Am I eligible to make a burn injury claim?
The easiest and quickest way to find out if you could claim burn injury compensation is by seeking legal advice. A free consultation over the phone is usually enough for a solicitor to understand the circumstances of your accident and who might be liable for your injury.
You will usually qualify for burn compensation if:
- You suffered a burn injury in the last three years.
- Another party was responsible for your accident.
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
There are several legislations such as The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and the Road Traffic Act 1988, which solicitors use to establish a duty of care. If your legal adviser believes another party is liable for your injury, they will take care of proving negligence by gathering evidence to support your claim.
Based on the circumstances of your accident, the responsible party could be another road user, your employer, landlord, or a business owner. Your solicitor will help you gather all the evidence you need to prove negligence and secure the burn injury compensation you deserve.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. If you decide to make a burn injury claim, they will offer advice and support at every step of the claiming process. Your solicitor will also contact the defendant and negotiate the best settlement on your behalf.
What are the most common causes of burn injuries?
A burn injury could happen almost anywhere, such as in a road traffic accident, at school, at the workplace, in hospitals or in any other public place. As long as you were not entirely responsible for your accident, you might be eligible for burn injury compensation.
Common causes leading to a burn injury claim include:
Fire is most commonly associated with burns and can cause severe damage to the skin and the underlying tissues. There are many ways in which the negligence of another individual could cause you a fire burn injury, including:
- Explosions and fireworks
- House fires caused by faulty appliances or electrical systems
- Open flames due to a traffic collision
- Accidents at the workplace caused by faulty equipment, combustibles or other hazards
Employers, landlords and local councils must take all reasonable measures to prevent fires and fire hazards. Failing to do so might make them liable for your burn injury.
Hot liquids or steam
According to data from the international Burn Injury Database for England and Wales, 81,181 patients attended a specialised burn service between 2003 and 2011. The most common type (38%) of burn injuries were scalds caused by hot water or steam.
While most scalds are mild, they could also cause severe injuries, especially to more sensitive organs such as the eyes. There are many workplaces where employees are exposed to scald injuries, including:
- Working with commercial machinery used to heat liquids
- Maintenance of steam pipes
- Transportation of hot liquids
- Working in the kitchen
- Hairdressing salons
Employers must carry out regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards and maintain a safe workplace. When necessary, employees should receive adequate training and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, clothing and footwear.
Scald injuries may also occur outside the workplace, in hospitals, businesses that serve hot drinks and food, or in care homes. If you can prove that another party caused your injury by acting negligently, you might be eligible for burn injury compensation.
You could suffer a chemical burn either in an accident at the workplace, due to faulty products, or from an acid attack. Chemical burns can be excruciating and cause disfigurement, long-term discomfort and psychological trauma.
Common chemicals that may cause a severe burn injury include sodium hydroxide, ammonia, sulfuric acid and even household bleach. Chemical spillages, unsafe storage or transport of irritants and inadequate pool chlorination are some of the most common accidents leading to a chemical burn injury.
If you were the victim of an acid attack, you could claim burn injury compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) within two years of the assault.
Among other injuries, an electric shock can also lead to severe burns, which often damage the tissues deep under the skin. An electric burn can also damage the cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. Severe burns can cause injury to the brain and internal organs and may even be fatal.
An electrical accident can happen at the workplace or at home, due to faulty appliances, power tools and other electrical devices. Electric burns at work are often due to a lack of training, inadequate PPE or poorly maintained equipment.
Employers must take all reasonable steps to keep employees safe by assessing the risks and removing dangers whenever possible. If your employer neglected their duty of care towards you, you could make a burn injury compensation claim against them.
Friction burn injuries are usually seen in road traffic accidents involving motorbike riders, cyclists or pedestrians. However, they can also be caused by sports accidents or fast-moving belts used in factories and agriculture. Poorly applied tourniquets can also cause friction burns and may entitle you to claim burn injury compensation.
A friction burn is both an abrasion and a heat burn, and usually, it does not cause substantial damage. However, the sliding friction suffered in a road accident may lead to severe third-degree burns that usually need surgical intervention.
It may seem surprising, but prolonged exposure to below freezing temperatures can damage your skin, causing an ice burn. This looks like any other type of burn and may cause pain, numbness, blisters and firm or waxy skin.
Employers have a duty to provide proper training and equipment to employees who work in cold environments. If you suffered a burn injury while working in cold weather, you could be entitled to compensation.
The most common type of radiation burn is caused by exposure to solar UV radiation. Working under the hot sun for long periods without proper protection can cause severe sunburn and other dangerous health issues. Despite being totally preventable, sunburn is the leading cause of many skin cancers.
Radiation burns may also be caused by exposure to X-rays during radiotherapy or diagnostic medical imaging. If you sustained an avoidable injury due to substandard medical treatment, you might be able to make a burn compensation claim.
Regardless of how you suffered a burn injury, if it was due to another party’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. To find out if you have a valid burn injury claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
How is a burn injury classified?
The characteristics of a burn depend upon its depth. While superficial burns are very painful, they usually heal well, typically without scarring and in a matter of weeks.
On the other hand, deep burns can be painless because the nerve endings are damaged. They usually do not heal completely and, in severe cases, may lead to amputations and even death.
Based on the severity of the burn injury, they are medically classified as either:
First degree burns
First degree burns only damage the top layer of the skin, called the epidermis. They may be caused by UV radiation, hot liquids and objects or steam. A first-degree burn is a superficial and painful injury that may appear red but does not blister. It usually heals within 5-10 days without medical intervention. However, repeated sunburn does increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
Second-degree burns extend into the dermis, the second layer of skin, and may cause severe pain, redness and blisters. A deeper second-degree burn may cause discomfort, or a feeling of pressure instead of pain and may appear yellow or white.
Depending on the severity, a second-degree burn may take between two weeks and two months to heal and could cause local infections, scarring and contractures. Very hot liquids, open flames, chemicals and electricity are common causes of second-degree burns.
Third-degree burns or full-thickness burns are deep and severe injuries that completely damage the skin. They are usually painless because the burn may damage the nerve endings in the skin. The burn site may appear dry, stiff, waxy or leathery. It also causes skin discolouration, which may become white, brown, grey, black or yellow.
Victims of a third-degree burn always require hospitalisation and skin grafts. The healing time takes many months and is always incomplete, causing scarring and contractions. In severe cases, amputation of the affected area may be necessary. Common causes of third-degree burns include flames, explosive blasts, chemicals, electricity and scalding liquids.
These are the most severe type of burn injuries and extend through the skin and into the underlying fat, muscle and bone. The affected area appears dry, black and charred, and it is always painless due to damage to the nerve endings. A fourth-degree burn does not heal and requires excision.
Fourth-degree burns are mostly caused by open flames and chemicals. They will always require surgery, grafting and, in many cases, amputation of the affected area. The complications of such a severe burn are often life-changing and may cause significant functional impairment and even death.
The degree of your burn injury is an important factor in the outcome of your claim. The compensation settlement will depend on the severity of your injury, scarring, and any long-term disability you may suffer as a result.
How do I make a burn injury claim?
If you believe you suffered a burn injury due to the negligence of another person, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you have a valid claim for burn injury compensation, your solicitor will help you gather relevant evidence to build a strong winning case. Such evidence includes:
- Medical records stating the degree of the burn you suffered, the treatments received and your recovery prospects.
- Photographs of the accident scene, capturing the exact cause of your burn injury.
- Photographs of your injuries and taken regularly during the recovery process.
- Footage of any CCTV covering the area or from a dash cam if you suffered a burn in a road traffic accident.
- Contact details of other individuals involved in the accident and any witnesses.
- Your notes about how the accident happened and how it affected your life.
- Police reports, if you were the victim of an acid attack or were involved in a hit and run accident.
- An accident report if you were injured at work or in a public place. Most businesses must keep an accident log book, and you are entitled to ask for a copy of the report.
- Evidence of any economic losses you incurred because of your burn injury.
After building your burn injury claim, your solicitor will reach the defendant, informing them of your allegations of negligence. If they admit liability for your injury, your solicitor will begin to negotiate a suitable settlement for your damages.
If the other side denies responsibility or cannot agree on a compensation award, you may have to issue court proceedings. Personal injury claims rarely go to trial, and more than 95% of cases settle out of court. If you have to argue your case before a judge, you have nothing to worry about. Your solicitor will support and guide you through the entire process.
To start your claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
How long do I have to make a burn injury compensation claim?
If you suffered an accident due to the negligence of another party, you can usually bring a compensation claim within three years. The last date on which you could make a burn injury claim is known as the claim limitation date.
If you do not start legal proceedings within the time limit, your claim becomes time-barred, and you can no longer claim for compensation. In extraordinary circumstances, the court may allow an extension, depending on the length and reason of the delay.
Nonetheless, the sooner you seek legal advice, the easier it is to collect evidence, talk to witnesses and build a strong case. This is a lengthy process which can take many months. For this reason, most solicitors do not accept a claim with less than six months left to the limitation date.
There are some exceptions to the three-year limitation date, which include:
- If the victim of a burn injury is a child, a litigation friend, which is usually one of the parents, can claim compensation on their behalf at any point before they turn 18. Afterwards, they will have another three years, until their 21st birthday, to start a burn injury claim by themselves.
- There is no time limit to claim compensation on behalf of an adult who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings. According to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a litigation friend can represent anyone who suffers from:
- High levels of stress
- Severe sleep deprivation
- An intellectual disability such as autism
- A severe mental disorder like schizophrenia
- A neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease
- A litigation friend could also make a claim on behalf of a victim who is in a critical condition due to a burn injury.
- If you suffered a burn injury following an acid attack or other criminal activity, you could make a CICA claim within two years after the assault. Before starting the claim, you must report the attack to the police as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours.
- If the accident leading to your burn injury was due to a faulty product, you could make a claim within three years after the defect was discovered.
- You could also make a burn injury claim for an accident that happened abroad. The claim limitation date can vary significantly between countries and may be as short as six months, so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
- If a loved one passed away due to a severe burn injury, a close family member could claim compensation within three years from the date of their death.
How much compensation can I claim for a burn injury?
The value of your burn injury claim depends on several factors, such as:
- The accident circumstances and whether you were partially responsible
- The burn degree and the severity of the injuries you suffered
- The psychological impact of the accident
- Any out of pocket expenses you incurred
At the beginning of your claim, your solicitor will consider how the burn injury affected you and calculate a suitable compensation award for your damages. In any personal injury claim, the compensation will cover:
Special damages or financial expenses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Travel costs and accommodation
- Lost wages, including future losses if you cannot return to work
- Costs of care and assistance
- The cost of physical therapy and counselling
General damages, awarded for personal losses, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Loss of a unique career
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- The impact the injury had on your social life and hobbies
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical and mental disability
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
The Judicial College is part of the Ministry of Justice and publishes compensation guidelines that solicitors and courts use when awarding compensation for general damages. According to them, you could get:
- £3,710 – £12,900 for minor facial scarring
- £8,550 – £28,240 for burn injuries leaving moderate facial scars
- £16,860 – £45,440 for a burn injury causing severe facial scarring and disfigurement
- £27,940 – £91,350 for very severe facial scarring and disfigurement leading to severe psychological trauma
- £1,890 – £6,240 for minor non-facial scarring
- £7,830 – £22,730 for burns leaving moderate scarring to the legs, hands, chest, back or arms
- £6,680 – £19,390 for a burn injury causing severe non-facial scarring
- £1,540 – £5,860 for minor psychiatric damage
- £19,070 – £54,830 for severe psychiatric damage that interferes significantly with daily activities
- Over £104,830 for burns that cover more than 40% of the body
To learn more about your burn injury compensation prospects, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Alternatively, you can fill out our online claim form to receive a call back.
Can burn injury claims be made using no win no fee?
A burn injury can cause severe pain and suffering and may require an extensive recovery period. If you were severely hurt, this could have devastating consequences, such as disfigurement, mobility issues and even amputation of the affected area and may also cause major psychological trauma.
While recovering, a burn injury claim may not be at the forefront of your mind. Claiming may seem like an exhausting process, and you might worry about the upfront fees and legal costs. However, if your claim has a fair chance of success, your solicitor will likely offer you a no win no fee service.
A no win no fee service (also called a conditional fee agreement) is the preferred way of claiming compensation for a personal injury. It involves no upfront solicitor fees, and if you lose the case, you do not have to pay a single penny.
This is made possible by an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy that your solicitor will take out on your behalf, usually at the beginning of the claim. This insurance offers full financial coverage if you lose the case, meaning you will not have to pay:
- The legal charges involved in the claiming process
- The defendant’s solicitor fees and legal costs
- The barrister and expert witness fees, if your case goes to court
As part of your claim, your solicitor will also arrange a free medical visit with an independent doctor to assess the full extent of your injury and what future treatments might benefit you. Their medical report will serve as an essential piece of evidence in your burn injury claim.
By making a no win no fee claim, you only have to pay anything if you receive compensation. This is called a success fee, which compensates for the risk your solicitor took by offering you a conditional fee agreement. The success fee cannot exceed 25% of your compensation award, and it will be thoroughly discussed and agreed to at the beginning of the claim.