A Guide to Claiming Firefighter Injury Compensation

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

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

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?

It should be possible to make a firefighter 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.

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.

What can I claim for after a firefighter 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

What is the average injury compensation for a firefighter 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 firefighter injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your firefighter 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.

What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?

If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.

Firefighter injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a firefighter 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 firefighter injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a firefighter injury claim take?

How long it can take to get compensation for a firefighter injury can vary considerably.

If your employer or their insurance company accepts liability, a claim could be settled in several weeks. If the employer denies liability, it could take significantly longer. Usually, a work accident claim should take 6 to 9 months. See more:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a firefighter 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 firefighter 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.

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 line 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

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:

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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 do I have to make a firefighter injury claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a firefighter 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 firefighter injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a firefighter 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