If a chemical burn injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Chemical burns sustained from a workplace accident or product defect can justify a compensation claim to cover medical treatment, ongoing care, scarring and any pain, suffering and loss of amenity..
If you have been affected by a chemical burn, 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
With over 10,000 NHS admissions for burns every year, you are not alone
10,717 patients were admitted to NHS hospitals with burns and corrosion injuries in 2021-22 (digital.nhs.uk).
Chemical burns are not only extremely painful but can also lead to long-term disability or disfigurement in severe cases. Industries such as manufacturing, laboratories, mining, construction, agriculture, and cleaning regularly use large quantities of corrosive chemicals. Proper health and safety regulations are crucial in these sectors to minimise risks to anyone who might be exposed.
If you have suffered a chemical burn due to exposure at work, you might be eligible to claim compensation for your injury.
For information on chemical burn symptoms and treatment, see: chemical burn (nhs.uk).
What is a chemical burn?
Chemical burns occur when irritants, such as acids or bases (alkaline), come into contact with the skin or eyes.
Common irritants include sodium hydroxide, ammonia, sulphuric acid, nitric acid and phosphoric acid, which are found in many products and industrial processes.
Products containing harmful chemicals can be found in bleach, industrial cleaners and detergents, concrete, rust proofing, car battery fluid, fertiliser, metal refining compounds and materials used in dentistry.
Common symptoms of chemical burns include:
- Blackened or dead skin
- Irritation, redness and burning
- Numbness or pain in the affected area
- Loss or changes in vision if they come in contact with the eyes
Chemical burns can also affect the internal organs if swallowed, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and seizures.
Unfortunately, chemical burns are not always immediately obvious, and a delay in treatment can make symptoms worse.
Do I have a chemical burn injury claim?
If you've been injured in an accident that was caused another person or organisation in the last 3 years, you will be entitled to make a claim for financial compensation.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
What if I was partly to blame?
Liability for an accident often involves fault on both sides.
In our recent 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, 13.99% of respondents thought they could be partially to blame for their accident.
Even if you partly caused the accident or your injuries (refered to as 'contributory negligence'), you may still be entitled to make a claim. These claims can often be settled on the basis of a split liability agreement.
How long do I have to make a chemical burn injury claim?
In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of your accident or injury.
If you were injured when you were under 18, a parent, guardian or adult 'litigation friend' can make a claim on your behalf. Once you turn 18, you have until your 21st birthday to start an injury claim.
Liability for chemical burns depends on where the incident took place, and the circumstances involved. If you suffer a chemical burn in the workplace, your employer could be held liable if the adequate safety measures and procedures were not in place.
There are a number of legal guidelines and requirements that employers and companies must follow with regard to potentially dangerous substances which can cause chemical burns. These include:
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 - this outlines the general duties of an employer to ensure the health and safety of their employees, including carrying out adequate risk assessments and putting safety controls in place.
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 - this provides specific advice on managing dangerous substances in the workplace. Every employer has a responsibility to prevent workers from, or reasonably control, their exposure to them.
- Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) - this applies when any substance is manufactured or imported into the EU in amounts greater than one tonne.
Within The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, employers have a duty to:
- carry out risk assessments
- provide protective equipment
- store and maintain substances safely
- clean up regularly
- train staff in its dangers
- use and provide sufficient emergency first aid facilities.
If any of the above is not done, and an employee suffers a chemical burn as a result, your employer could be deemed negligent.
For example, if a building site labourer was made to work knee-deep in concrete for hours without being told of the risks and suffered chemical burns as a result, the employer would be liable.
Likewise, if a factory worker suffered burns from industrial cleaning products but the employer had not provided suitable protective equipment or did not act fast enough in treatment, liability would again rest with them.
How much compensation can I claim for a chemical burn injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Chemical burn injury
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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 because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of earnings, including potential lost commission, bonuses or promotions, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as rinse affected area, pain medication, antibiotic ointment and dressing the wound.
Average chemical burn injury general damages compensation
The following chemical 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|
How did your injury happen?
The compensation claims process will depend on where and how your chemical burn injury occurred. Click the icons below for more information:
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.