A Guide to Claiming Catering Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a catering accident we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a catering accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

Working in the catering industry comes with inherent risks. Kitchens, restaurants, cafeterias, bars and canteens are fast-paced environments. People handle hot food and drinks, sharp objects like knives, and operate ovens, hobs and other potentially dangerous equipment every day.

It is easy to see how, if health and safety is not managed properly, accidents can happen in the catering industry.

Do I have a catering injury claim?

It should be possible to make a catering injury claim if you were injured:

  • in the last three years and;
  • someone else was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To find out for sure, speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

Who can make a catering accident claim?

Any person who works in the catering industry and has suffered an injury as a result of someone else's negligence may be able to make a claim. Chefs, cooks, waiters, bartenders, assistants, and any other staff members can make a claim for an injury that happened at work in the catering industry.

Common kitchen hazards

  • Hot surfaces
  • Hot food and drinks
  • Boiling water, oil and other liquids
  • Trip and slip hazards like wet floors and poor storage
  • Potentially hazardous machinery like slicers, blenders and naked flame hobs

Common injuries suffered by catering staff

  • Burns and scalds
  • Lacerations
  • Back injuries
  • Bruising and fractures from slipping and tripping

Who can make a claim?

If you have suffered an injury while working in the catering industry, you may have a case for a compensation claim if you can prove that the accident was a result of someone else's negligence.

While it is difficult to completely eliminate risks in the catering industry, the employer has a duty of care to ensure that all risks are minimised as far as possible. The employer can do this in a number of ways:

  1. Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons and heat-proof gloves.
  2. Training employees on the correct and safe usage of dangerous tools such as slicers.
  3. Ensuring that all floor surfaces are kept clean and clear, and that all spillages are cleared as soon as they are spotted.
  4. Training staff on the correct way to lift and carry heavy objects to avoid back injuries.

If you believe that your employer has failed to ensure any of the above, which resulted in an injury, you may have negligence case against them. Your claim will be examined to assess how much compensation you are entitled to.

The amount of compensation awarded will be determined by taking into account factors such as: the pain caused at the time of the injury; the time taken for the injury to heal; the impact the injury has on quality of life; and any financial losses incurred as a result of being incapacitated.

How much compensation can I claim for a catering injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your catering injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your catering injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a catering injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple catering injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a severe scald injury can be £20,000

For a minor burns injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £3,500.

However, if you have a severe scald injury and a minor burns injury, you would typically receive £20,000 + a reduced percentage of £3,500.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

What is the average injury compensation for a catering injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a catering injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your catering injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Catering injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a catering injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your catering injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a catering injury claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for a catering accident can vary significantly.

If your employer does not contest the claim, it can settle in a matter of weeks. If the employer denies liability, a compensation claim can take substantially longer. Normally a work accident claim will take 6 to 9 months. For more information, see:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a catering injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your catering injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

No win, no fee, no risk

No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a catering injury claim with:

  • no upfront legal fees
  • no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
  • a success fee payable only if your claim is successful

No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.

Our no win, no fee promise

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a catering injury compensation claim.

What do I pay if I win my catering injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my catering injury claim?

If your catering injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees .

Read more about how no win, no fee works

What is Legal Aid available for?

In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in personal injury law cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

Call me back

  • Tick icon FREE
    consultation
  • Tick icon Find out
    if you can claim
  • Tick icon No obligation
    to start a claim

Catering injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a catering injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the catering injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your catering injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a catering injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim catering injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a catering injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert