Most of these burn injuries are categorized as less severe. There are certain cases where the burn injury is so severe that it causes permanent nerve damage, tendon or ligament damage, scarring or mobility problems. Usually, third-degree burns require skin grafting and scar therapy treatments which can go on for many years. All of these burn injuries have a psychological impact on the patient.
When you have been burned due to the act or negligence of another party, you might be eligible to make a burn injury compensation claim.
One needs to identify the category of burn injury that has been sustained. In fact, it is critical to the outcome of a burn injury compensation claim. The settlement award usually depends on the nature of the injury and how much long-term disability the Claimant suffers due to the accident.
In medical terms, burns are classified as first, second or third-degree. It depends on how deeply they penetrate the skin’s surface. First degree burns usually damage only the top layer of skin. The affected area might appear red and blotchy but should not blister. Pain that may be prominent at first should soon vanish little by little. As far as Second degree burns are concerned, they damage the deep layers of the epidermis and might damage the dermis. The skin usually turns red and blister. In case the burn covers more than 10% of the body, the patient might go into shock due to fluid loss. In case of Third degree burns, these can be the most serious of their kind. All three layers of skin are vitiated, including the subcutaneous layer of fat and tissue beneath the dermis. The acute skin loss attributed by third degree burns might require skin grafts. These injuries usually take a long time to heal and cause permanent scarring.
The first step in making a claim is to arrange a medical consultation to assess injury. This will be arranged at zero charge to the Claimant.
As far as the causes of burn injuries are concerned, Quittance’s solicitors have assisted people who have suffered burn injuries from fire, steam, sun, electricity, chemicals and friction. There are claims that have also been made following exposure to very cold substances like ice and CO2 fire extinguishers.
The panel of solicitors usually assists clients who have sustained burns injuries:
- Due to an accident at work
- In a road traffic accident
- In a school or nursery
- From a defective product
- As a result of the purchase or consumption of hot food from a cafe or restaurant
- As a result of medical negligence
The cause of a burns injury has no bearing on the amount of compensation. But, in order to make a successful claim, the cause of the injury is vital. It must be proved that the accident was caused by another party’s act or negligence. Also, it needs to be shown that the concerned accident was the cause of the injury.
Anyone who has been a victim and undergone a burn injury in the last three years as a result of an accident that was not their fault may be eligible to claim compensation. If a minor is involved in such an accident, the child’s parent, guardian or relative might take on the role of a litigation friend. The litigation friend will be responsible for instructing solicitors to conduct Court proceedings on the child’s behalf. It is also required for acting in the child’s best interest throughout the claim.
Claims can be brought on behalf of a child at any point of time till they turn 18 years old. When they reach the age of 18, an injured child has a further three years that is till their 21st birthday to bring a claim for compensation if they opt for it.
As far as establishing liability for a burn injury is concerned, deciding who is legally accountable for an accident will depend on the law that surrounds accidents of the type the Claimant has suffered. For instance, employers have a legal duty to keep their employees safe and avoid accidents at work.
Employers must take reasonable steps to eliminate any unwanted risks as part of their health and safety obligations. For instance, machinery and tools must be kept in good working order and the use of dangerous chemicals must be controlled strictly.
Road traffic accidents are yet a prominent cause of burn injuries. Though rare to happen, vehicles do catch fire after a collision certain times. If the burn injury was sustained in a car or a motorcycle accident, the Highway Code and other driving regulations must be referred to. These facts are important to establish the respective duties of drivers and other road users.
It might be unclear as to who is responsible for the accident. A claim may still be made if it is not certain who caused the accident.
The amount that a Claimant could actually receive as compensation for a burns injury is highly dependent on the classification of the burn injury and the effect it has on the Claimant’s life. Every case is different with its particular facts and appropriate medical evidence.
In general, any compensation award comprises of two elements: general and special damages.
Burn injuries involve pain and suffering that is classified as general damages. For usual damages, awards are published by the Judicial College in their guidelines for personal injury compensation. The guidelines specify the type of injury and indicate the upper and lower amount of compensation a burn injury with that description should receive. As per the guidelines, psychological trauma associated with the burn injury may attract an additional award.
There are some special damages that are associated with the financial expenses related to an injury like:
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity (future wages)
- Expected future medical care costs and any which have been incurred
- Travel costs and other expenses arising from the injury
- Replacement and repair of damaged property
- The purchase of specialist or adaptive equipment, such as a mobility aids