A Guide to Claiming Burn Injury Compensation
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a burn injury we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a burn injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
Approximately 130,000 people visit Accident and Emergency departments each year suffering from burns. Of these, some 10% require inpatient treatment in a specialist burns unit.
Approximately half of all patients are children under 16 years of age.
The majority of burns injuries are categorised as less severe. In rare cases, however, the burn injury is so severe that it causes permanent nerve damage, tendon or ligament damage, scarring or mobility problems.
Third-degree burns may require skin grafting and scar therapy treatments which can go on for many years. Almost all burns injuries have a psychological impact on the patient.
If you have been burned due to the act or negligence of another party, you may be eligible to make a burn injury compensation claim.
Do I have a burn injury claim?
As a basic rule, you can make a burn injury claim if your injury happened:
- in the last three years and,
- someone else was at fault.
Even if these two points don't apply to you, a compensation claim may still be a possibility.
To confirm whether you are eligible to claim speak to a legal expert on 0800 612 7456.
A short call will confirm whether you have a claim. 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 a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a burn injury claim on their own behalf.
What if I want to make a multi-party or group claim?
A multi-party claim (sometimes referred to as a 'group claim' or a 'class action') brought by a group of people who have sustained the same or similar injuries due to the negligence of the same defendant. How you start a multi-party claim will depend on the circumstances and we recommend you speak to a solicitor for more information.
Can I still claim if I didn't report the burn injury?
If you did not report the accident it can make it more difficult to pursue a burn injury claim, but a claim may still be possible. This will depend on the circumstances of your case and on the other evidence available.
How are burn injuries classified?
Identifying the category of burn injury is critical to the outcome of a compensation claim. The settlement award will depend on the severity of the injury and how much long-term disability the claimant suffers as a result of the accident.
Burns are medically classified as:
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 body, 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.
The first step in making a claim will be to arrange a medical consultation to asses injury. This will be arranged at no charge to the claimant.
Typical causes of burn injuries?
Quittance's panel of solicitors have assisted people who have suffered burn injuries from fire, steam, sun, electricity, chemicals and friction.
Claims have also been made following exposure to very cold substances, such as ice and CO2 fire extinguishers.
We have assisted 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 that is awarded.
However, for the purposes of making a successful claim, the cause of the injury is significant. It must be shown that the accident was caused by another party's act or negligence and that the accident in question was the cause of the injury.
Who can make a claim?
Anyone who has suffered 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.
Where the accident involves a minor, the child's parent, guardian or relative may take on the role of a 'litigation friend.'
The litigation friend will be responsible for instructing solicitors to act on the child's behalf.
Claims can be brought on behalf of a child at any time up to their 18th birthday. Once reaching the age of 18, an injured child has a further three years (up until their 21st birthday) to bring a claim for compensation.
Establishing liability for a burn injury
Deciding who is legally accountable for an accident will depend on the circumstances of the accident.
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.
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.
It may not be clear who is responsible for the accident. If it is not certain who caused the accident, a claim may still be made.
The amount of money you could claim for your burn 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 burn 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 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a burn injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Burn Injury compensation amounts
The following burn injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.
|Facial scars||Minor||Minor Facial scars||£3,150 to £10,960|
|Facial scars||Moderate||Moderate Facial scars||£7,270 to £23,980|
|Facial scars||Severe||Severe Facial scars||£14,320 to £77,580|
|Non-facial scarring||Minor||Minor Non-facial scarring||A single, noticeable scar||£1,890 to £6,240|
|Non-facial scarring||Moderate||Moderate Non-facial scarring||Laparotomy scars||Around £6,890|
|Non-facial scarring||Serious||Serious Non-facial scarring||Multiple scars||£6,240 to £18,120|
|Non-facial scarring||Severe||Severe Non-facial scarring||Serious burns with ongoing pain||Over £83,550|
What is the average injury compensation for a burn 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 burn injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your burn 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.
Find out what your burn injury claim could be worth now
Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.
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.
How long do I have to make a burn injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the burn injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your burn injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a burn injury after 3 years?
For adults, the general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after a burn injury.
However, if you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a burn injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I still be able to claim for a burn 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 burn 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.
Will I get financial advice?
Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether to accept a financial settlement for your burn injury claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
If you are thinking of making a work accident or injury claim, there are some key points to be aware of:
In a road accident
If you are thinking of making a road accident claim, there are some key points to be aware of:
In a public place (e.g. supermarket, pavement)
If you have been injured in a public place, there are some key points you need to be aware of:
According to the latest figures published in 2019, there were over 17,000 clinical negligence claims in the year 2016-17. This increase is largely down to an overstretched NHS.
If you are thinking of making a medical negligence claim, there are some key points to be aware of:
Other claim types
Find details on another type of claim:
No win, no fee
'No win, no fee' means that if your burn injury claim is not successful, you will not have to pay any legal fees. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is an agreement entered into between you and the solicitor.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a burn injury claim, even if you don't win your claim.
What do I pay if I win my burn injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my burn injury claim?
If your burn injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all.
Please note, under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.
How can Quittance help?
Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury 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:Call me back
if you can claim
to start a claim
Burn 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.
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.
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*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
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.
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.
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.
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