A Guide to Claiming Firefighter Injury Compensation

This guide covers everything you need to know about making a firefighter accident compensation claim.

Introduction

The past decade has seen a general downward trend in the number of injuries sustained by firefighters in work accidents.

Although there were 2,627 injuries sustained during the 12 month period to 31 March 2015, that represents a 16.5% drop from the previous year.

Warehouse fire

Do I have a firefighter injury claim?

You should be able to make a firefighter injury claim if your injury occurred:

  • within the last three years and,
  • another person was to blame.

However, there may be other considerations that mean you have a valid claim - even if the above points do not apply to you.

It only takes a minute to find out - you can speak to a legal expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. You will be under no obligation to start a claim with Quittance.

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

What if the injury was diagnosed years after the event?

Typically, the dates of the injury and accident are the same. However, some injuries manifest themselves months or even years after the accident or exposure.

In this case, the clock starts ticking on the date of discovery (the date of diagnosis) of the injury rather than the date of the accident.

Read more

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How much compensation can I claim for a firefighter injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your firefighter 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 firefighter 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.

See a list of what you can claim for:

Examples of special damages include:

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

Find out what your claim could be worth now

Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated.

If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.

Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.

Calculate my injury claim

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your firefighter injury case 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.

Training and routine activity injuries

Firefighters sustain more injuries when carrying out training and routine activities than they do through attending operational incidents.

Training exercises, which are intended to be as close to real-life situations as possible, were the cause of 32.5% of all injuries sustained. This may have been due to insufficient planning, preparation and risk assessment, leading to the exercises not being carried out safely.

23.6% of the injuries were incurred during routine activities. These workplace injuries may have mainly been caused by slips, trips and falls due to spillages or poorly maintained premises.

48 of those injuries sustained during training or routine operations were classed as 'major injuries' by RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

Claims for operational incidents

In the 12 months up to April 2015, firefighters sustained 1,037 injuries in the line of duty, during operational incidents. 72% were at the scene of a fire, and around 15% while attending road traffic collisions.

Injuries may be caused by chemicals, biohazards, falling buildings, smoke and dust as well as fire itself.

Employers have a duty to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce injury risks; for firefighters this includes helmets to protect the head from falling objects and low beams, masks to prevent injury by sparks and heat, fire and heat resistant gloves to prevent injury from burns and chemicals, and boots to ensure safety in a dangerous environment.

Firefighters should also be issued with suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect them from breathing in harmful substances or for oxygen-deficient atmospheres when other controls are either not possible or insufficient on their own.

Providing inadequate PPE for the task at hand can result in injury. Where a firefighter has been injured under these circumstances, a claim may be possible.

Although heightened awareness and better training has led to a general downward trend in the number of major injuries over the past decade, last year showed a 15% increase over the previous year for injuries while tackling operational incidents.

The Fire and Rescue Authority has a duty to ensure that workers are fully trained and understand the practices and procedures necessary to work as safely as possible. Inadequate training may also be evidence in support of a claim where an injury has occurred.

Incidents involving fire vehicles

There were 2,776 incidents involving fire and rescue service vehicles (fire engines, cars and vans) in 2014-15. Although the majority caused vehicle damage only, the accidents resulted in injury to 104 service personnel and 27 non-service personnel.

Over half the injuries occurred when the vehicles were not responding to an emergency.

Claiming if injured in the course of duty

If a firefighter sustains injury whilst carrying out his work - whether during training, at an incident, or travelling to and from an incident he may be entitled to claim for compensation from his employer.

A firefighter who sustains an injury whilst in attendance at a road accident may be able to bring a claim through the insurers of the driver responsible for the crash, depending on the circumstances.

Where a firefighting vehicle is involved in an accident with another vehicle, the fire vehicle's driver and passengers may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the negligent drivers insurers.

No win, no fee, no risk

'No win, no fee' means that if your firefighter injury claim is not successful, you won't have to pay any legal fees. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a contract between you and a solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a firefighter injury claim - even if you don't win your claim.

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

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, 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 firefighter injury claim?

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

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

How can Quittance help?

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

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:

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Firefighter 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 will my claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.

For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

Personal injury claim type

Estimated claim duration*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s 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 interim compensation payment?

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

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.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert