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.

The statistics

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.

Read about making a scar injury 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, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker:

Check my claim

Are there any exceptions?

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.

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.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

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.

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

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

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?

The 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:

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.

Read more about when there is uncertainty as to who is to blame

How much compensation can I claim for a burn injury?

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

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 burn 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

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.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Facial scars
£3,150 to £10,960
£7,270 to £23,980
£14,320 to £77,580
Non-facial scarring
A single, noticeable scar £1,890 to £6,240
Laparotomy scars Around £6,890
Multiple scars £6,240 to £18,120
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.

Burn injury compensation calculator

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

Calculate compensation

How long does a burns injury claim take?

The length of time needed to get compensation for a burn injury claim can vary considerably.

For example, a simple liability accepted injury claim might be concluded in a month or two. However, if liability is denied it could take considerably longer. On average an injury claim should take 4 to 9 months. See more:

How long will my claim take?

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 advice on treatment options?

As part of the burn injury claims process, your solicitor can arrange a thorough and independent needs assessment. The assessment may offer advice on treatment, access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS and co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists etc

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

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. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. burn injury claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. In some cases our solicitors can work on a reduced success fee. Call us for more information.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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 injury 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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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.

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 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?

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.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

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 burn injury compensation.

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