If a burn or scald injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Burns and scalds are particularly painful injuries that can happen at home, work, or in a public place, and they can lead to potential scarring, and psychological trauma.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a burn or scald injury we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
Burns and scalds are one of the most common types of injury. They can be extremely painful and can have a lasting psychological impact.
- around 250,000 people suffer burn or scald injuries (Sce: According to the British Burns Association)
- approximately 130,000 people visit A&E suffering from a burn or scald
- around 10% of A&E patients require inpatient treatment in a specialist burns unit
- around half of patients are children.
Some burn injuries are so severe that they lead to permanent nerve damage, tendon or ligament damage, scarring or mobility problems.
Third-degree burns may require skin graft and scar therapy treatment and serious burns can have a psychological impact on the patient.
If you have been burned or scalded as a result of an act or negligence of another party, you may be eligible to make an injury compensation claim.
If you decide to make a claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
If you are looking for information on burn symptoms and treatment, visit: burn injuries (nhs.uk).
How are burn injuries classified?
The amount of compensation you will receive will depend on the severity of the burn or scald. The severity of burn injuries are classified as follows:
First degree burns
First degree burns damage the top layer of skin only. The affected area may appear red and blotchy but should not blister. Pain, which may be considerable at first, should soon subside.
Second degree burns damage the deep layers of the epidermis and may damage the dermis. The skin will turn red and blister. If the burn covers more than 10% of the , the patient may go into shock due to fluid loss.
Third-degree burns are the most serious. All three layers of skin are destroyed, including the subcutaneous layer of fat and tissue beneath the dermis.
The acute skin loss caused by third-degree burns may require skin grafts. Invariably, these injuries take a long time to heal and cause permanent scarring.
When making a compensation claim, your solicitor will arrange a medical consultation at a location near you to asses your injuries.
The panel of solicitors have assisted people who have suffered burn injuries from fire, fireworks, steam, sun, electricity, chemicals and friction.
Burn claims are also common following exposure to very cold substances, such as ice and CO2 fire extinguishers.
Deciding who is legally accountable (liable) for your injury will depend on the circumstances of the accident.
Accidents at work
Employers, for example, have a legal duty of care to keep their employees safe at work. As part of their wide-reaching health and safety obligations, employers must take reasonable steps to eliminate any unnecessary risks.
For example, machinery and tools must be kept in good working order and the use of dangerous chemicals must be tightly controlled.
For burns and scalds that occur in health and social care settings, liability would lie with the relevant authority or owner/manager. As with employers, these parties have a legal duty of care to their patients, employees and service users.
Workers who use machinery which heats liquids and chemicals to high temperatures are at high risk, as are those involved in transporting hot liquids. Industrial accidents producing superheated steam from burst or failing pipes can also result in severe scalds.
According to the HSE, health and social care settings also present high risks of scalding amongst their vulnerable users. This includes hospitals, care homes, social services premises and special schools.
Many of these settings have higher water temperatures (above 44 degrees Celsius) to satisfy hot water demand, for efficient running of the boiler and for controlling the risk from Legionella bacteria. Numerous accidents have occurred as the result of bathing and showering in circumstances where appropriate health and safety precautions are not observed.
Another high risk industry is commercial kitchens. This is due to the regular exposure of workers to hot cooking oil, boiling water and steam. Even in seemingly low risk industries, such as schools, offices and hairdressers, there is a risk of scalding from kettle steam, hot drinks, and water heated to above the recommend safe temperature (44 degrees Celsius).
Road traffic accidents are another cause of burn injuries.
While a rare occurrence, vehicles do sometimes catch fire after a collision. Where the burn injury was sustained in a car or a motorcycle accident, the Highway Code and other driving regulations must be referred to as these establish the respective duties of drivers and other road users.
Am I eligible for burn injury compensation?
You will be able to claim compensation if you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Determining who is to blame for an accident is not always black and white.
In our recent 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, 13.99% of respondents believed they may have been partly (or wholly) responsible for their injuries.
Claiming compensation is still an option even if you were partly at fault. These contributory negligence cases are typically resolved with a split-liability agreement.
How long after a burn injury do I have to start a claim?
In most cases, you have up to 3 years from the date of your accident or injury to start a claim.
For an injured child, the three-year limitation period begins on their 18th birthday, giving them until they are 21 to start a claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a burn injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your 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 injury has affected your life to calculate the correct level of compensation.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
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.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your burn injury such as cleaning the wound, pain relief, antibiotic ointment and dressing the wound.
Average burn injury general damages compensation
The following burn injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Facial scars||Minor||£3,590 to £12,490|
|Facial scars||Moderate||£8,280 to £27,350|
|Facial scars||Severe||£16,330 to £88,480|
|Non-facial scarring||Minor||A single, noticeable scar||£2,150 to £7,120|
|Non-facial scarring||Moderate||Laparotomy scars||Around £7,850|
|Non-facial scarring||Serious||Multiple scars||£7,120 to £20,660|
|Non-facial scarring||Severe||Serious burns with ongoing pain||Over £95,300|
Can I claim compensation for a psychological injury?
Psychiatric harm is less obvious than physical injury, but the consequences can be just as difficult to deal with.
According to our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey shows that 29.03% of potential claimants sustained a psychological injury, 70.97% of which related to a physical injury.
Your solicitor will help ensure that any psychological harm you have suffered as the result of another party's negligence is recognised and included in the calculation of your compensation award or settlement. In addition, you can also claim for mental health treatment costs that may not be readily available on the NHS.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Claiming compensation for a burn injury is dependent on how your injury occurred. Click the icons below for more detail:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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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.